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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team


Accepting a donation at a nonprofit can be very rewarding but once in a while it can be pretty funny though. We can all remember stories of a donation that was accepted in which you basically got a pile of junk. How many of you have ever accepted a set of encyclopedias because the donor says that are "still in great shape and useful". So USEFUL that they did not even want them of course.

Since most of the time donations are something we are thankful for . . . it's easy to forget the need for creating a gift acceptance policy. If you do not have one, we suggest that you do. Why?

- Your staff don't know what to accept and not accept, so they take in a three legged desk. Now YOU are stuck wondering what to do with a three legged desk, perhaps now even costing YOU money to take care of it. What if someone wants to give you encyclopedias, an old broken down car, or a house with a lien?

- What if someone wants to sell you their life insurance plan?

- What if the naming rights sponsor for your building goes to jail for something major?

- What do you do if someone even gives you a property (house, boat, car, etc.) that is in good shape? Do you keep it? Sell it?

- How do you handle stock or bond donations?

These are just a few examples of things you might not be prepared for. Having a policy in place is not for the 90% of the time when you do not need it. It's for the 10% of the time for when you do, and making sure you, your staff, your board, and people 30 years from now, will know what to do in particular situations.

So if you do not have a policy in place, consider taking the time to create one.


To learn more about strategic and fundraising plans, feasibility studies, planned giving studies, need assessment studies, and capital campaigns, visit us at

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