Giving Basics – Church Donation Policy

Giving Basics – Church Donation Policy.

Donation Policy

What Pastor wants to be in the position of telling a member “no” when it comes to accepting a gift of an old gas station property because he knows the liability attached might be too costly. What Church Treasurer wants to be in the position of turning down a gift that they know may have unintended consequences and/or is not in line with the interests of the church. A Donation Policy is an important tool to protect the church and to steer members to when they are considering gifts other than monetary gifts. It could save a relationship, hurt feelings and trouble!

When considering a Giving Policy consider:

  • Is the gift consistent with the ministry’s tax-exempt purpose?
  • Is the gift earmarked?
  • What will it cost the ministry to own the asset?
  • How much time or effort will it take to manage the asset?
  • Will owning or selling this asset expose the ministry to liability?

And outline for the reader the purpose of the guidelines such as:

  • To protect the interests of the giver and the ministry
  • To ensure the gifts do not have liabilities that would effect the giver or the ministry
  • To encourage giving that will not compromise or endanger the mission of the church
  • What else?

And then detail your guidelines. Consider including items such as:

  • No gifts will be accepted that cannot be used or expended consistent wit the purpose of the church.
  • No gift will be received that is not in the best interest of the giver.
  • Etc.

And delineate the types of gifts that are appropriate or inappropriate:

  1. Gifts of real estate which meet the following criteria: (and list these)
  2. Gifts of annuity contracts….
  3. Gifts of oil and gas rights ….

And finally, discuss “Donor-Restricted” gifts, and how they will be handled:

  • Restricted funds shall not be received without prior board approval.
  • Fundraising appeals will clearly communicate whether the gift is restricted or unrestricted.
  • Gifts received without giver restrictions will be recorded in the unrestricted fund balance.
  • Gifts received and approved with restrictions will be placed in correlating restricted fund balance.

Examples of Donor Policies are available by doing an internet search. Look at several and determine what is best for your organization. This policy should become a formal document in the church’s policy manual.

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