We’ve recently been sharing news about policies for nonprofits, why they are important, how to develop or revise them and content. This week we offer tips for your gift acceptance policy.

Your gift acceptance policy needs information over and above, “We take gifts!”. An effective gift acceptance policy provides a safety net for everyone—your donors, you and your staff, your organization’s board of directors and the community you serve.

There are certain types gifts that may be difficult for a nonprofit to use (think houses, horses, property, etc.). If a gift creates substantial processing work, it may not be in the best interests of your organization to accept that gift.

A good gift acceptance policy should explain the rationale behind the nonacceptance of certain gifts. For example, are you ready and able to deal with a large parcel of land or other real estate, should a donor want to give it? What new expenses will you incur for accepting such a gift (property taxes, maintenance, etc.)? Your gift acceptance policy should explain the answers to these questions.

Philanthropy Journal News, in an article on gift acceptance policies, recommends the policy be in writing and formalized (approved by your board). This policy should cover three major areas: types of gifts (real estate, art work, vehicles, etc.); form of the gift (charitable remainder trust, annuity, etc.); and how your nonprofit will administer or manage the gift.

Another reason to have a gift acceptance policy relates to filing your 990. If your nonprofit received more than $25,000 in noncash gifts or received contributions of art, historical items or similar assets, you are required to include Schedule M (noncash contributions) when you file. You will have to answer the question about having a gift acceptance policy. It’s good to be able to say, “Yes,” to this question!

If you do not have a gifts acceptance policy or if your policy is ready for review and revision (if it’s older than two years, the answer is yes, it is time to review and revise), you don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve listed several resources and links to sample policies below. Read more at: