Acceptable Gift Policy


Introduction

This policy governs the solicitation, acceptance, receipt, management, reporting, and use of charitable gifts to The Night Ministry (TNM).

The Night Ministry compassionately provides housing, health care, outreach, spiritual care, and social services to adults and youth who struggle with homelessness, poverty, and loneliness. TNM accepts individuals as they are and offers support as they seek to improve their lives, while inviting others to join this hope-filled work.

Purpose

The purpose of this gift acceptance policy is to provide general guidance on acceptance of gifts of cash, securities and property, and the restrictions on gifts that TNM can accept.

The gift acceptance policy seeks to make it as simple as possible to make a gift to The Night Ministry while maintaining the integrity of the organization’s programs, services, core values and fiscal position. The Board of Directors of TNM and its staff solicit current and deferred gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations to fund the operational costs of providing housing, health care, and human connection to members of the Chicago community struggling with poverty or homelessness.

These policies and guidelines govern the acceptance of gifts and shall apply to all gifts received by TNM for any of its programs, services, or other operations. The Night Ministry strongly urges and advises all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate planning consequences.

The Night Ministry Ways of Giving

The Night Ministry seeks outright gifts and future gift commitments from its donor prospects. All gifts will be credited to the campaign, initiative, or fund for which the money was raised as well as for the constituency source from which the gifts were given (e.g., individual, foundation, corporate, etc.). The Night Ministry’s priority is unrestricted gifts, but it will endeavor to accommodate the particular wishes of each donor.

Named or commemorative gift opportunities are sometimes available to donors. Such opportunities represent a tangible means of demonstrating an individual donor's concern for the programs of The Night Ministry.  Any time specific or other special terms relevant to gift recognition will be presented and agreed upon in advance between the donor and The Night Ministry.

While an outright gift is always best for The Night Ministry, many donors find that they can support the organization at a more substantial level with a planned gift.  Bequests and gifts of insurance policies often provide the donor with significant tax advantages while at the same time providing for The Night Ministry’s future. 

The easiest gift to make:  Cash

The easiest gift to make is that of cash; all such gifts qualify as an IRS charitable contribution deduction. A donor may make a pledge over a period of years if such an arrangement is desired. Many companies match charitable gifts made by their employees or Board members. Such matching gifts can often double or even triple a donor's initial gifts. The donor simply needs to inform The Night Ministry or his/her personnel office.

Securities

The Night Ministry will accept publicly traded securities which will be sold upon receipt less brokerage fees or commissions. For gift crediting or accounting purposes, the value of the securities will be the average of the high and low value on the day on which the gift was received.

Real Estate

All gifts of real estate will be subject to the review and approval of the President & CEO of The Night Ministry, the Board Chair, and The Night Ministry’s Asset Management Organization (AMO).

 Corporate Gifts

The Night Ministry is pleased to accept gifts from corporations that support The Night Ministry’s program goals and organization’s mission. This includes gifts of cash, sponsorships for events, company matching gifts, and donation(s) of in-kind items. The Night Ministry will not accept contributions from corporations and their respective corporate foundations whose activities limit – in any way – The Night Ministry’s ability to pursue or promote its programs and mission.

Gifts In-Kind

With the exception of real estate, the President & CEO and designated Board Committee will decide upon and accept or reject Gifts In-Kind.  Valuing a Gift-In-Kind is the responsibility of each donor.  As needed, an appropriate Board committee will consider all gifts of tangible personal property after it has made two determinations:  The asset is readily marketable, or it is needed for a use related to the mission of The Night Ministry.  

If the in-kind gift is valued at $5,000 or above, The Night Ministry will determine whether to accept or reject the proposed gift, or to defer a decision pending receipt of more information. In the case of an unusual or highly significant in-kind gift, a written summary of the proposed gift shall be submitted by the Development Department with at least the following information: Description of asset; purpose of gift; the donor’s estimate/appraisal of fair market value and marketability of gift; potential use by The Night Ministry and written review by the department to benefit from the asset; and special considerations concerning disposition.

If the in-kind gift is valued at below $5,000, The Night Ministry may accept the gift(s), and it may be acknowledged without consultation with The Night Ministry Board. Receipts will emphasize the donor’s responsibility to obtain tax advice.

Endowment Fund

The Night Ministry’s endowment was established in 2010 to provide long-term sustainability for The Night Ministry’s programs. It is Board policy that all unrestricted revenue derived from bequests or estates be placed in The Night Ministry’s endowment fund. Gifts to the endowment can include:  cash, stocks and mutual funds, life insurance policies, and IRA’s and 401k’s.

 Retirement Plan Assets

The Night Ministry will accept funds it receives as the beneficiary of a retirement plan (IRA, 401 (k) or 403 (b)). The Night Ministry will encourage gifts that qualify as IRA Rollover Distributions when this giving vehicle is made possible by current legislation.

Bequests

Gifts made through a donor’s will or trust are encouraged by The Night Ministry. Attempts are made, whenever possible, to identify bequest expectancies in order to allow The Night Ministry to recognize the donor for the gift during their lifetime.

Life Insurance Policies

Donors are encouraged to name The Night Ministry as a primary or contingent beneficiary of their life insurance policies. Donors are also encouraged to name The Night Ministry as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary of the policy. To be recorded as a gift, The Night Ministry must be named as both a beneficiary and owner of the life insurance policy. The Night Ministry will accept tax-deductible, cash or credit card gifts in order to pay premiums on the policy. Payments from a donor advised fund are also acceptable but not tax deductible.

Gift Acceptance Policies

1. Donor Rights

Gift plan agreements will fully reflect each donor’s wishes and financial needs.  The Donor Bill of Rights (included in this document) shall set the minimum standards for interacting with donors and shall guide fundraising activities.

2. Confidentiality

All information obtained from or about donors or prospects will be held in strictest confidence by The Night Ministry and its leaders. The donor’s name and amount shall not be published if anonymity has been requested by the donor and/or the beneficiary. The conditions related to specified gifts will be treated as confidential.

3. Gift Credit

All pledges and gifts will be recorded according to general accounting principles and practices and to the standards of the Federal Accounting Standards Bureau (FASB). For federal income tax purposes, donors of deferred gifts will be credited for the charitable remainder values. 

4. Gift Designation

The Night Ministry will outline priorities for charitable giving and from time to time set specific goals. All gifts can be designated to one of TNM’s primary areas: a specific campaign, unrestricted, or endowment. If a gift is received with no donor specified designation, it will be considered unrestricted.

5. Gift Restriction

The Night Ministry may accept gifts that are subject to acceptable restrictions.

6. Donor and Prospect Relations

Relationships with all donors and prospects for major gifts shall be the responsibility of the President & CEO, Vice President of Development & External Relations, and Development staff. Staff will urge donors to review, before a gift is made, the information on the benefits, recognition, limitations, and tax implications of his/her agreement. 

7. Gifts Not Meeting Standard Criteria

The Night Ministry will review, and accept or reject in advance of execution, any gift that does not conform to standard criteria for acceptance.

8. Gifts In-Kind

The Night Ministry will decide upon and accept or reject Gifts In-Kind. The valuation of Gifts In-Kind is the responsibility of each donor as set forth by IRS regulations.

9. Gifts of Securities

Gifts of securities will be liquidated as soon as reasonably practicable.  The value of the gift for purposes of The Night Ministry’s accounting shall be the average of the highest and lowest price of the day on which the gift was received.

10. Recognition

  • Only donors will be eligible for Gift Recognition Opportunities.
  • The donor’s name and amount shall not be published if anonymity has been requested by the donor and/or the beneficiary.
  • Individuals indicating that The Night Ministry has been included in their estate plans may be recognized in separate categories from direct gift donors. Such gifts will be eligible for recognition opportunities when TNM receives the actual gift.
  • Gifts may be recognized in the annual report or other publications. Recognition levels will be determined by The Night Ministry.
  • All recognition opportunities must be in concert with a financial commitment.
  • The donor will receive recognition for the intention of a planned gift in the annual report or other publications.

11. Pledges

The Night Ministry will expect that all pledges in support of TNM are made in good faith and will be honorably fulfilled by each donor. A unified policy regarding pledge payment will be applied to all campaign literature and articulated to donors at the time of their gift. In return, The Night Ministry will expend effort and underwriting to fulfill its obligations to provide appropriate recognition and to honor TNM commitments to its donors. The Night Ministry’s policy is not to pursue any unfulfilled pledge commitments through legal means unless the Board votes that special situations or circumstances involving any particular pledge would warrant such action.

12. Minimum Gift Amounts

To assure appropriate use of resources, the following gift minimums will be established:

  • Cash: Any amount can be given, and may be designated to a fund (established by The Night Ministry) of the donor’s choosing. Cash gifts may be restricted to a particular purpose at the discretion of TNM.
  • Gifts of securities and/or real estate: Same as cash.
  • Corporate Gifts: Same as cash.
  • Personal Property: Shall be determined on a case by case basis.
  • Bequest: Same as cash.

13. Investment Decisions

When new planned gifts are received by The Night Ministry, investment decisions shall be made in accordance with The Night Ministry’s Investment Policy.

14. Designation of Planned Gifts

To encourage prospective donors to consider long-term underwriting support of the organization, and to engender a sense of “giving in perpetuity” for donors, The Night Ministry recommends that unrestricted planned gifts, including bequests, be allocated to The Night Ministry’s endowment fund by the donor.

15. Gift Management

The Night Ministry staff does not provide legal or tax advice to donors. Prospective planned giving donors are encouraged to seek legal and financial counsel to review the gift to be donated and the advisability of the gift in light of the donor’s overall estate planning.

16. Real Estate and Certain Other Gifts

The prior approval of The Night Ministry’s President & CEO, Board Chair, and The Night Ministry’s Asset Management Organization (AMO, which holds title to and manages TNM’s owned properties) needs to be obtained before we will accept real estate or any interest in real estate or other non-liquid property. 

17. Trustee Management

Should TNM determine that it will accept charitable gift annuities and/or income trusts, the costs of managing gift annuities and income trusts may be borne by the individual gift annuity accounts and income trusts. Any exception to this guideline is in the discretion of The Night Ministry’s Board of Directors or designated representatives.

Gift Processing Policies

  • The Donor Bill of Rights shall be adopted and established as a minimum standard for interaction with donors and processing of gifts.
  • All gifts and pledges of cash or other property made to The Night Ministry as a result of special campaign solicitations will be counted toward that campaign initiative goal unless otherwise designated or restricted.
  • The Night Ministry’s Board reserves the right to approve acceptance of gifts. Gifts must be in keeping with TNM’s mission and the purposes of the fundraising effort.
  • Pledges may be paid on a schedule with a payment period of no more than five years, unless a longer payment period is approved by the CEO and Board or Executive Committee.
  • Contributions eligible for Gift Recognition Opportunities are those that can be liquidated to cash. The Night Ministry will accept the following types of gifts:
    • Cash
    • Marketable Securities
    • Other types of property will be considered on a case-by-case basis
    • A combination of cash and a planned gift.
    • Irrevocable planned gifts.
  • Deferred gift intentions will be recognized (but not credited until they are realized).

Donor Bill of Rights

To assure that our donors and prospective donors have full confidence in The Night Ministry, we declare that all donors have these rights:

1. To be informed of our mission, of the way we intend to use donated resources, and of our capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purpose.

2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the Board of Directors, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.

3. To have access to our most recent financial statements.

4. To be assured that gifts will be used for the purpose(s) for which they were given.

5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.

6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and confidentiality.

7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing The Night Ministry will be professional in nature.

8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of The Night Ministry, or hired solicitors.

9. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful, and forthright answers.

The Donor Bill of Rights was created by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits. Copyright AFP, AHP, CASE, Giving Institute 2015.

4711 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60640 | Phone: 773-784-9000