Gift Acceptance and Disposition Policy

[Adopted April 17, 2014]

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri (UUCC), a Missouri non-profit religious corporation, encourages the solicitation and acceptance of gifts to further and fulfill its mission.


Section 1 – Purpose of Policy

Section 2 – Minister’s Responsibilities

Section 3 – Responsibility to Donors

Section 4 – Legal Considerations

Section 5 – Gift Acceptance Guidelines

Section 6 – Donor Recognition

Section 7 – Periodic Review

Section 1 – Purpose of Policy

This purpose of this policy is to articulate the policies of the UUCC Board of Trustees (“the board”) concerning the acceptance of charitable gifts other than 1) payments on pledges for the annual operating budget and 2) pledges to a capital campaign.

This policy also is intended to provide guidance to prospective donors and their advisors when making gifts to UUCC.

Section 2 – Minister’s Responsibilities

Except as otherwise provided below, the board delegates to the minister the responsibilities of solicitation and acceptance of gifts, adoption of related administrative policies and procedures, and formation of ministry teams to assist in carrying out this policy; gift-related decisions reserved to the board are italicized. If the minister is uncertain how to apply this policy in a particular situation, or if the situation is not covered by this policy, the minister may submit the issue to the board for decision; in such instances, the board also shall consider amending this policy to address the issue.

Section 3 – Responsibility to Donors

a. Commitment to a Donor-Centered, Philanthropic Approach: UUCC, its staff and volunteer representatives shall endeavor to assist donors in accomplishing their philanthropic objectives in a donor-centered way. In many circumstances, this may involve the donor’s professional advisors, as charitable support is often integrated with a donor’s overall tax, estate and financial planning.

b. Confidentiality and Anonymity: Information concerning all transactions between a donor and UUCC shall be made available only to church personnel with a need to know in the performance of their official functions; otherwise, such information shall be held by UUCC in strict confidence and may be disclosed only with the permission of the donor or the donor’s designee. UUCC shall respect the wishes of any donor offering anonymous support and will implement reasonable procedures to safeguard such donor’s identity.

c. Ethical Standards: UUCC is committed to the highest ethical standards. UUCC, its staff and volunteer representatives shall adhere to both the Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner, as adopted by the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (“PPP”), and the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards as adopted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (“AFP”). UUCC will not participate in gift discussions if there is a question as to the title/ownership of the asset or the donor’s legal competency to transfer an asset.

Section 4 – Legal Considerations

a. Legal Compliance: UUCC shall comply with all local, state and federal laws and regulations concerning all charitable gifts it encourages, solicits or accepts. All required disclosures, registrations and procedures shall be made and/or followed in a thorough and timely manner.

b. No Legal, Tax and Financial Advice: UUCC shall inform prospective donors that it does not provide, legal, tax or financial advice, and shall encourage prospective donors to discuss all charitable gift planning decisions with their own advisors before entering into any commitments to make gifts to UUCC.

c. No Endorsement of Providers: UUCC shall not endorse legal, tax or financial advisors to prospective donors.

d. Payment of Fees: It will be the responsibility of the donor to secure an appraisal (where required) and to pay for the advice of independent legal, financial or other professional advisers as needed for all gifts made to UUCC.

e. No Preparation of Legal Documents: UUCC shall not prepare legal documents for execution by donors. UUCC may provide model language, such as sample bequest language, gift agreements or charitable remainder trusts, but shall strongly encourage prospective donors to have this language reviewed by their own counsel.

f. No Finder’s Fees or Commissions: UUCC shall not pay fees to any person as consideration for directing a gift by a donor to UUCC.

g. Service as Executor or Living Trust Trustee: UUCC will not agree to serve as executor of a decedent’s estate or as trustee of a living trust or other trust intended to serve as a person’s primary estate planning document.

h. Use of Consultants: When appropriate UUCC shall seek the advice of legal and other consultants in matters relating to the acceptance of gifts.

Section 5 – Gift Acceptance Guidelines

a. Implementation: Except as otherwise provided below, gift acceptance, as outlined in these policies, is the responsibility of the minister. UUCC will accept assets of all types, including gifts of cash, marketable securities, closely-held securities and limited partnership interests, interests in real estate, and tangible and intangible property. In considering whether to accept gifts, the minister shall follow the additional guidelines below. In the case of restricted gifts, there should be a written agreement between the donor and UUCC regarding the intended use of the gift unless the gift is made by testamentary bequest or trust distribution and is accepted after the death of the donor.

b. Gifts Outside the Scope of this Policy: Acceptance of gifts outside the scope of this policy requires the approval of the board, which shall thereupon consider amending this policy to include provisions dealing with such gifts.

c. Gift Agreements: UUCC generally will use non-binding statements of intent (i.e., gift pledge forms) to document gift commitments. The minister shall create and maintain samples for use by staff and volunteer leadership.

1) All statements of intent shall be in writing and shall include the donor’s commitment and timeframe for payments and UUCC’s intended use of the funds.

2) Except for testamentary bequests and trust gifts, UUCC requires an executed agreement between the UUCC and the donor for all commitments subject to restrictions including restricted endowment gifts.

3) Donors may intend to make gifts by testamentary bequest or trust provisions. In such cases, UUCC will appreciate receiving notice of the donor’s intended bequest, but it is recognized that an agreement to make a bequest or trust gift may not be legally binding on the donor.

d. Unrestricted and Restricted Gifts: UUCC welcomes outright gifts, in which UUCC’s full ownership of the asset is immediate once the asset is given and where neither the donor nor any other party retains an interest.

1) Securing outright gifts without restriction is UUCC’s highest priority, permitting the board and minister to best direct the use of resources to accomplish UUCC’s mission and ends.

2) Restricted gifts:

a) Outright gifts with restrictions which are directed to programs included in the church’s general operating budget, to the church’s endowment funds, or to an existing restricted reserve fund will be accepted.

b) Other outright gifts with restrictions may be accepted on a case-by-case basis if they further UUCC’s mission and ends. If necessary, new reserve funds may be established for such gifts.

c) The board must approve acceptance of all other restricted gifts.

d) UUCC reserves the right to decline gifts which are too restrictive in purpose, too difficult or costly to administer, or for purposes outside of its mission and ends.

3) Donors may notify UUCC of future intended gifts, such as testamentary bequests, trust provisions, and retirement plan and life insurance beneficiary designations. If such a gift is unrestricted, the board will determine when the gift is received how the gift will be used.

e. Memorial Gifts: Monetary gifts given in memory of deceased persons will be placed in a reserved fund identified by the name of the deceased until such time as a specific use for the money is decided by the family of the deceased. So long as the family’s desired use of the money is not too restrictive, not too difficult or costly to administer, and consistent with UUCC’s mission and ends, the money shall be used as decided by the family; otherwise, the board shall determine the use of the money and shall endeavor to do so in a manner generally in keeping with the family’s wishes. If the family has no preference, the use of the money shall be determined by the minister unless the amount exceeds $2,000, in which case the use of the money shall be determined by the board.

f. Assets Accepted as Gifts: UUCC will consider accepting all asset types as gifts, including cash; marketable securities; closely-held or restricted securities or limited partnership interests; interests in real estate; tangible personal property; and intangible personal property (such as copyright interests or life insurance).

1) Cash: As a general rule, UUCC will accept unrestricted outright gifts of cash.

2) Marketable Securities: As a general rule, UUCC will accept unrestricted gifts of securities once it has determined that the securities are readily marketable (publicly-traded or otherwise marketable without substantial restriction).

3) Closely-Held or Restricted Securities or Limited Partnership Interests: As a general rule, gifts of closely-held or restricted securities or limited partnership interest will be accepted only if they meet UUCC’s guidelines as stated in this policy (particularly as to the value of the asset vis-à-vis the expected cost of administering or maintaining the asset). UUCC will evaluate each such proposed gift on a case-by-case basis using criteria relevant to the proposed gift.

4) Interests in Real Estate: Gifts of interests in real estate may be accepted only with the approval of the board. As a general rule, real estate or other interests in real property (leaseholds, life estates, easements, etc.) will be accepted only if:

a) The property has no significant environmental concerns as determined by an outside consultant agreeable to both the donor and UUCC, or the cost of cleaning up any environmental concerns has been determined and found acceptable by the board;

b) The property has been physically inspected and evaluated by appropriate qualified experts of UUCC’s choosing;

c) The property has no mortgage or other encumbrance, such as leasehold or life estate interests or easements benefiting other parties, that would significantly diminish the asset’s value or cause ownership or management to be costly or an administrative burden;

d) UUCC has evaluated and approved the property based on other relevant criteria, including but not limited to: present market value based on an appraisal as determined by an appraiser agreeable to both the donor and UUCC within the last 12 months; marketability; cost of acquisition; income potential while the property is held; zoning; appreciation/depreciation potential; maintenance and repair expense; loan expense; property taxes, unrelated business income tax and other possible tax implications; marketing, commission and closing costs for a future sale; improvement, renovation or retrofitting costs; safety, other liabilities and appropriate insurance costs;

e) The title and transfer documents are satisfactory to UUCC; and

f) For gifts subject to a retained life estate, the donor or primary life beneficiary shall be responsible for all expenses other than capital expenditures during the life tenancy, including but not limited to maintenance, real estate taxes, assessments and insurance.

5) Tangible Personal Property: As a general rule, UUCC will accept gifts of tangible personal property (jewelry, books, works of art, collections, equipment and other tangible property). In determining whether a gift should be accepted, the minister shall consider whether the asset would be useful to UUCC without substantial additional cost or administrative burden or that the cost is justified under the circumstances, or whether the asset can be disposed of in a timely and cost-effective manner. If the tangible item offered as a gift is intended for display or other use in the church facilities, the minister may consult with the relevant ministry teams to determine the acceptability of the gift.

6) Intangible Personal Property: As a general rule, UUCC will accept gifts of intangible personal property (e.g., copyrights, trademarks, patents). In determining whether a gift should be accepted, the minister shall consider criteria relevant to the proposed gift (particularly as to the value of the asset vis-à-vis the expected cost of administering or maintaining the asset).

7) Life Insurance: An outright gift of a paid-up life insurance policy with current cash value may be accepted and submitted by UUCC for redemption by the insurer; however, cash-value policies with outstanding loans may result in adverse tax consequences to the donor and will not be accepted unless the donor has acknowledged in writing that there may be possible adverse consequences and that he or she has had an opportunity to consult with his or her own advisors. UUCC also will accept a gift of term life insurance or not-fully-paid-up cash value insurance when UUCC is designated both as owner and beneficiary and the donor pledges to contribute all future premiums.

8) IRA Charitable Rollover: UUCC may accept all gifts directly transferred from an IRA, as permitted under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and subsequent extensions.

9) Assets Not Readily Marketable: Assets that are not readily marketable may be accepted only with the approval of the board. Such assets will be accepted only after the board, in consultation with the minister, has determined that:

a) The asset is of a type that will be in furtherance of UUCC’s mission and is not difficult or costly to administer or maintain; or

b) The value of the asset is such that the cost of administering or maintaining the asset would be justified, taking into consideration both the time during which the gift would likely be held, and competing UUCC needs and priorities during the holding period.

10) Other Types of Assets: Other types of assets not mentioned in this policy may be accepted by UUCC with the approval of the board on a case-by-case basis and may require consultation with legal and other consultants.

g. Planned Giving (Split-interest Gifts, Charitable Lead Gifts; Charitable Remainder Gifts; Charitable Gift Annuity; Other): UUCC welcomes planned gifts in which UUCC’s ownership of an asset is not outright. Such gifts will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and acceptance must be approved by the board. Examples:

1) Split interest gift: A gift in which UUCC is granted an irrevocable right, while at the same time the donor retains rights or grants rights to other parties.

2) Charitable lead gift: A gift that begins with an interest that is retained or directed by the donor or other party and then passes to UUCC upon completion of the non-charitable phase.

3) Charitable gift annuity: A contract between UUCC and a donor in which UUCC agrees to pay the donor a lifetime annuity in return for a gift of cash, securities or other property.

4) Charitable remainder gift: A gift that benefits UUCC first, following which a remainder interest passes to the donor or beneficiaries.

h. Sources of Gifts: UUCC is authorized to receive gifts made legally from any source. However, the minister or board may decline to accept a gift, for example, if there are concerns about the legal competency of the donor, or if inappropriate or undesirable social consequences may result from acceptance of the gift.

i. Not All Gifts Accepted: Not all proposed gifts will be accepted. Some proposed gifts, while deeply appreciated, will not meet UUCC’s policy guidelines and will be declined, with regret.

j. Disposition of Gifts: UUCC’s general policy is to sell or otherwise monetize the value of a gift so as to convert a gift to cash as soon as practicable. Assets that are or can be made readily marketable and that can be promptly sold or otherwise monetized are preferred.

k. Costs: Donors are expected to pay costs associated with UUCC’s decisions concerning acceptance of gifts, such as costs of documenting essential information regarding a gift, costs of environmental assessments, and costs of appraisals and other means of establishing the value of a gift. However, after UUCC has accepted a gift, UUCC will pay costs associated with monetizing or administering the gift unless otherwise agreed with the donor.

l. Valuations: The tax-deductible value of an asset acknowledged to the donor will be established in accordance with regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service, or in the absence of such regulations, in accordance with guidance provided by UUCC’s legal and accounting advisors. For outright gifts, UUCC shall follow the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (“CASE”) Reporting Standards and Management Guidelines for Educational Institutions, Fourth Edition, 2009. For future gifts, UUCC shall follow the PPP Guidelines for Reporting and Counting Charitable Gifts, Second Edition, 2009. UUCC shall follow the PPP Valuation Standards for Charitable Planned Gifts. All exceptions to these standards must be approved by the board.

Section 6 – Donor Recognition

a. General: The minister shall establish guidelines for the recognition, honoring and stewarding of donors.

b. Buildings: Except in the case of naming opportunities that appear on a schedule approved by the board, UUCC shall make no commitments to donors concerning the naming of buildings or facilities without the approval of the board.

Section 7 – Periodic Review

The board shall review this gift acceptance and disposition policy at least once every five years to ensure that it continues to accurately and adequately describe the policies of UUCC with respect to acceptance and disposition of charitable gifts.