Donation Policy

Donation And Gift Acceptance Policy

1. Policy and Purposes

This Policy represents the policy of BirdWatch Zambia (the “Organization”) governing the solicitation and acceptance of gifts and donations by the Organization. The purpose of this Policy is to provide guidance for the Organization’s board, officers, and staff concerning their responsibilities concerning gifts and donations to the Organization.The provisions of this Policy shall apply to all gifts received by the Organization. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Organization reserves the right to revise or revoke this Policy at any time, and to make exceptions to the Policy. 

The mission of BWZ is to promote the study, conservation and general interest in birds and their habitats in Zambia.

2. General Policy

The primary consideration of gift acceptance or solicitation will be the impact of the gift on the Organization. When considering whether to solicit or accept gifts, the Organization will evaluate the following factors:

i. Values – whether the acceptance of the gift compromises any of the core values of the Organization

ii. Compatibility – whether there is compatibility between the intent of the donor and the Organization’s use of the gift

iii. Public Relationships – whether acceptance of the gift damages the reputation of the Organization

iv. Primary Benefit – whether the primary benefit is to the Organization, versus the donor. Consistency – whether acceptance of the gift is consistent with prior practice

vi. Form of Gift – whether the gift is offered in a form that the Organization can use without incurring substantial expense or difficulty

vii. Effect on Future Giving – whether the gift will encourage or discourage future gifts.

The Organization shall not accept gifts that:

i. Violate the terms of the Organization’s organizational documents; or

ii. Would jeopardize the Organization’s status as a tax-exempt organization under federal and state law.

3. Use of Legal Counsel 

The Organization shall seek the advice of legal counsel in matters relating to the acceptance of gifts when appropriate. Review by legal counsel is recommended for:

i. Closely held stock transfers that are subject to restrictions or buy-sell agreements;

 ii. Documents naming the Organization as trustee; 

iii. Gifts involving contracts such as bargain sales, partnership agreements, or other documents requiring the Organization to assume an obligation; 

iv. Transactions with a potential conflict of interest;

v. Gifts of real estate; 

vi. Oil, gas, and mineral interests; and

vii. Gifts of any amount with unusual restrictions (e.g., gifts requiring the Organization to do work it is not already doing) The Organization cannot serve as both the donor’s adviser and the recipient of the donor’s gift.  Therefore, the Organization will urge all prospective donors to retain appropriate independent tax and legal counsel.

4. Gift Definition

A gift is defined as a voluntary transfer of assets from a person or an organization to the Organization. A gift is an irrevocable transfer of assets, motivated by charitable intent. Gifts are not generally subject to an exchange of consideration or other contractual duties between the Organization and the donor, except for certain split-interest gifts as set out in this Policy, although objectives may be stated and funds may be restricted to a specific purpose. A gift is not completed until it has been accepted by the Organization.

5. Approval of Gifts

Subject to Section 6 below, all final decisions on the acceptance or refusal of a gift shall be made by the Board of Directors (“Governing Body”).

6. Types of Gifts

A. Outright Gifts: An outright gift involves the donor’s voluntary and intentional transfer of money or assets to the Organization without the expectation of receiving a benefit related to the value of the transfer. Although the donor may place restrictions on the use of the gift, the donor may not retain control over the money or property transferred to the charity. The following criteria govern the acceptance of each form of outright gift:

    1. Unrestricted Gifts of Cash: The Organization will accept unrestricted gifts or donations of cash without prior review by the Governing Body, provided that, the identity of the donor has been vetted by the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer concerning potential conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest. Unrestricted gifts of cash are acceptable in any form. Checks shall be made payable to the Organization.

    1. Tangible Personal Property Retained for Use by Organization: Tangible personal property for use by clients (e.g., [field equipment or vehicles]) may be accepted if approved by the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer. The National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer may refer the decision of whether to accept a gift of tangible personal property for use by clients to the Governing Body. All other tangible personal property for use by the Organization may only be accepted if approved by National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer.In determining whether to accept gifts of tangible personal property for use by the Organization, supervisors, the National Coordinator, and Governing Body shall consider whether the property furthers the mission of the Organization, whether the donor has requested any restrictions on the use or display of the property, and whether the donor is willing and able to finance the packing, shipping, insurance, and other costs associated with transferring the gift to the Organization.

    1. Tangible Personal Property Accepted with Intent to Sell: The Organization may accept gifts of tangible personal property with the intent to sell only upon approval of the Governing Body. The donor must provide proof of ownership and a qualified appraisal performed within sixty days of the gift proposal date. Gifts of tangible personal property shall only be accepted if they are readily marketable and are free and clear of encumbrances. Prior to accepting the gift, the Organization should inform the donor that it intends to sell the property and channel the funds to other conservation efforts being undertaken by the organization.

    1. Intellectual Property/Other Intangible Interests: The Organization will consider gifts of intellectual property such as royalties, copyrights, patents, contract rights, and similar intangible interests only upon approval by the Governing Body. The Governing Body shall consider the appraised value of the intangible property, the administrative costs involved in accepting such a gift, and whether the donor agrees to assign all rights related to the intangible property. Prior to acceptance of the gift, the donor must provide proof or a statement of ownership of the intangible property. 

    1. In-Kind Gifts of Services: The Organization will accept an in-kind gift of services if approved by a supervisor.

    1. Closely Held Securities or Business Interests: Closely held securities or business interests, including debts and equity positions in non-publicly traded companies, interests in LLPs and LLCs, or other ownership forms, may be accepted subject to the approval of the Governing Body. The Organization will not accept an interest in a general partnership.The following documentation must be provided to the Organization before a gift of closely held securities will be considered for acceptance:

                    – A qualified independent appraisal

                   – Copies of any shareholder buy/sell agreements

                   – Copies of restrictions on the transfer contained in the bylaws and/or reflected on the stock certificates

In deciding whether to accept a gift of closely held securities or business interests, the Governing Body        should  consider and evaluate any restrictions on the security or business interest that would prevent the Organization from ultimately converting the securities to cash, the marketability of the security, and whether the security or business interest would generate any undesirable tax consequences.

    1. Real Estate: Gifts of real estate may include developed property, undeveloped property, or gifts subject to a prior life interest. Upon approval of the Governing Body, the Organization may accept ownership of outright gifts of real estate. Gifts of real estate may be used for sale, to generate cash flow, or for exempt purposes. The Organization should consider applying for property tax welfare exemption if used for exempt purposes.

Environmental Review. Prior to acceptance of real estate, the Organization shall require an initial environmental review of the property to ensure that the property has no environmental problems. If the initial inspection reveals a potential problem, the Organization shall retain a qualified inspection firm to conduct an environmental audit. The cost of the environmental audit shall be an expense of the donor. 

Title Binder. A title binder shall be obtained by the Organization prior to the acceptance of the real property gift when appropriate. The cost of this title binder shall be an expense of the donor. 

Appraisal. The Organization shall obtain an independent appraisal before accepting the real property gift.

Factors for Acceptance. The Governing Body and legal counsel shall 

review and decide whether to accept real property based on the following factors:

    1. Whether the property is useful for the Organization;
    2. The marketability of the property;
    3. Any tax consequences that may result from the sale or lease of the property;
    4. Any encumbrances, leases, restrictions, reservations, easements, or other limitations associated with the property; 
    5. Any carrying costs associated with the property, including insurance, property taxes, mortgages, notes or other costs; 
    6. Any concerns that the environmental audit revealed.

Acceptance with Intent to Sell. If the Organization plans to accept a gift of real estate with the intent to sell, it should inform the donor of its intent to sell prior to accepting the gift.

    1.  Restricted Gifts:The Organization will accept gifts for specific programs and purposes, provided that such gifts are not inconsistent with the Organization’s stated mission and purposes. The Governing Body reserves the right to review, accept, or reject any conditions or obligations proposed by a donor before the Organization accepted a gift. The Governing Body may determine that the proposed conditions or limitations of a gift are too restrictive and reject such gift for any lawful reason, including, but not limited to, if such gift violates the charitable trust of the Organization, if the gift is accompanied by an improper economic benefit to the donor, if the gift provides too much control to the donor, or if the gift requires the Organization to take any action deemed inappropriate by the Governing Body.

    1. Named Funds: A donor, or group of donors, may contribute and name a fund and restrict the use of the income or principal of the fund. Named funds are subject to Governing Body’s approval.

B. Life Income Gifts

i. General:The Organization accepts donations of life income gifts subject to the terms. If a donor desires to make a life income gift, the organisation’s directors, officers, and senior staff shall not offer advice on any income tax consequences of such a gift. The Organization should advise the donor to seek independent counsel on any tax consequences. 

ii. Charitable Remainder Trusts:The Organization may accept designations as remainder beneficiaries of a charitable remainder trust subject to approval by the Governing Body. The Organization may accept fiduciary responsibility for the management of investments of the trust assets prior to the distribution of the remainder interest.

iii. Charitable Lead Trusts:The Organization may accept designations as income beneficiaries to a charitable lead trust subject to approval by the Governing Body. The Organization shall not accept fiduciary responsibility for the management of investments of the trust assets.   

C. Other Gifts: All other types of gifts or assets will only be accepted upon approval of the Governing Body.

7. Additional Provisions

A. Gift Agreements: Where appropriate, the Organization shall enter into a written gift agreement with the donor, specifying the terms of any restricted gift, which may include provisions regarding donor recognition. 

B. Pledge Agreements: Acceptance by the Organization of pledges by donors of future support of the Organization (including by way of matching gift commitments) shall be contingent upon the execution and fulfilment of a written charitable pledge agreement specifying the terms of the pledge. If the Organization intends for the pledge agreement to be legally binding, there must be consideration either in the form of the donor receiving something in return (such as recognition) or reliance by third parties of the Organization.All pledge agreements require prior approval of the Governing Body.

C. Fees: The Organization will not accept a gift unless the donor is responsible for (1) the fees of independent legal counsel retained by the donor for completing the gift; (2) appraisal fees; (3) environmental audits and title binders (in the case of real property); and (4) all other third-party fees associated with the transfer of the gift to the Organization. 

D. Valuation of Gifts: The Organization shall record gifts received at their valuation on the date of gift, except that, when a gift is irrevocable, but is not due until a future date, the gift may be recorded at the time the gift becomes irrevocable by Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) by the Organization’s Finance Department. 

E. Appraisal and Legal Fees. It will be the responsibility of the donor to secure a qualified appraisal (where required) and independent legal counsel for all gifts made to the Organization. The Finance Manager shall promptly after a request from the donor, complete and sign, Donee Acknowledgment. 

F. Written Acknowledgement: The Organization shall provide contemporaneous written acknowledgement of all gifts made to the Organization and comply with the requirements on acknowledgement of the gifts. 

G. Changes to or Deviations from the Policy: This Policy has been reviewed and accepted by the Organization’s Governing Body, which has the sole power to change this Policy. In addition, the Governing Body must approve in writing any deviations from this Policy.