Gift Acceptance Policy

INTENT
 
The Wilderness Committee (legal name “Western Canada Wilderness Committee”) Gift Acceptance Policy serves to provide clarity to donors and staff members on gifts that will help us achieve our organizational mission and goals. The organization receives more than 90 per cent of its funds from individual donors so in general this policy applies to those donations. The Wilderness Committee also receives a small number of gifts from granting foundations and local businesses. In general, the organization does not accept donations from corporations or government.
 
In addition to this policy, potential donors can refer to other, related policies which guide our approach to working with donors and supporters: Local Business Donor Policy, the Corporate Donor Policy, our Privacy Policy and the Donor Bill of Rights.
 
TYPES OF GIFTS

The Wilderness Committee welcomes and encourages outright gifts and deferred future gifts, consistent with this policy, in the areas of:

  • Cash (i.e. gifts received in cash, cheques, credit cards, electronic fund transfers and payroll deductions)
  • Securities (i.e. shares, bonds, mutual funds) 
  • Gifts in Kind (i.e. tangible assets or goods)
  • Bequests (gifts made via estate plan or will)

Other Planned Gifts valued at $10,000 or more:

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts (interest on investment to the donor, capital upon which trust established to charity upon death), 
  • Retirement Plan beneficiary designations
  • Charitable Gift Annuities (donated assets in exchange for fixed annuity payments) valued at $20,000 or more
  • Gifts of Real Estate (both ecological and non-ecological land, office space and other gifts would be considered, provided it meets the criteria for acceptance) 
  • Gifts of Residual Interest (gifts of real estate or personal property where a donor retains the right to use the property for a term or during their lifetime)

CRITERIA FOR GIFT ACCEPTANCE

In general, a gift from an individual donor will be acceptable if:

  • The Wilderness Committee has a use or need for the gift or, when there is no immediate need, the gift goes to the area of greatest need; 
  • The gift and its accompanying terms are legal;
  • The purpose of the gift is compatible with the work and priorities of the Wilderness Committee and with the principles within the Donor Bill of Rights
  • The size and benefit of the gift are deemed by the Wilderness Committee as proportionate to the work and cost required to support or sustain the gift; 
  • There does not appear to be a physical hazard, legal or liability concern associated with the gift; 
  • There are no restrictions on the gift, except those deemed acceptable by both the donor and the Wilderness Committee.

The Wilderness Committee will endeavour to ensure: 

  • The Donor Bill of Rights is applied and followed in all cases and that ethical practices with regard to privacy and the donor’s wishes are consistent; 
  • The proposed gift is consistent with the organization's and with the Canada Revenue Agency’s regulations and guidelines; 
  • The donor's intent and direction are consistent with the Wilderness Committee's objectives and priorities; 
  • The donor's intent and direction are clearly understood and documented in the organization's database. When a donor remains anonymous or is unknown, we will do our best to honour the donor’s written wishes.

CRITERIA FOR DECLINING A GIFT

The Wilderness Committee may decline a gift that is not consistent with its mission or those which:

  • Violate any federal, provincial or municipal law or human rights; 
  • Contain conditions, restrictions, or require action(s) on the part of Wilderness Committee deemed by its Executive Director or Board of Directors to violate the organization's policies, regulations, financial and reputational integrity, or expose the organization to potential liability, burden or embarrassment; 
  • Rely on an appraisal or evaluation provided to the donor by third parties that is perceived to be inaccurate or unreliable;
  • Commit the Wilderness Committee to name an endowment fund, without prior approval of the Executive Director;
  • Require or stipulate the future employment or business relationship at the Wilderness Committee of any specified person, business or company;
  • Are gifts of partial interest in property (i.e., timeshares), unless the Wilderness Committee agrees otherwise;
  • Involve financial or administrative commitments in excess of budgeted items or other obligations disproportionate to the use and value of the gift.

If a gift includes conditions that the Wilderness Committee deems not to be in the organization's best interest, the Executive Director may request that the terms of the gift be revised or may decline the gift. 
 
ADMINISTRATION 
 
Gifts of Cash
In the case of all cash gifts greater than $20 and up to $5,000, donors will receive a tax receipt for their donation provided the Wilderness Committee receives the donor’s full and accurate contact information and address, and that no other stipulations or arrangements impede the timely financial processing of this gift. 
 
Other Types of Gifts

  • In the case of cash gifts over $5,000 and those types of gifts outlined below, the Wilderness Committee will establish any terms and conditions necessary to the acceptance of a gift on behalf of the Executive Director and the donor and/or donor’s agent. 
  • The final decision to accept or decline a gift rests with the Executive Director, who may defer to the Board of Directors on certain occasions. 
  • Tax receipts are provided for all gifts below according to guidelines set out by the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Gifts may be designated where the need is greatest (unrestricted) or for specific programs, purposes or projects (restricted). Upon completion of a project or program for which gifts had been received, what remains of those gifts will be returned or re-allocated, where permitted. 

Procedures for specific types of gifts are as follows: 

Individual Donors - Cash gifts over $5,000
The Wilderness Committee invites donors to outline if they have specific wishes regarding their donation prior to accepting these gifts. The Donor Relations Manager will review, document and manage any specific arrangements associated with these gifts. These may be reviewed by the Executive Director before the gift is accepted and receipted.

Grants, Donor Advised Funds and Named Funds over $5,000
The Wilderness Committee welcomes foundation grants, donor directed funds and named funds that support its strategic program goals and activities. These donations include 15% of the funds be allocated to cover overhead costs (not including direct salary costs), unless otherwise agreed upon by the Wilderness Committee and the donor.

Local Business Donors
The Wilderness Committee accepts gifts from local businesses and local representatives of companies where the gift meets criteria outlined in the Local Business Policy. The organization recognizes that many kinds of relationships develop at a local level between staff at some businesses and the Wilderness Committee’s employees and programs. The Local Business Policy ensures gifts are accepted when charitable decision-making on the part of local business has grown out of locally-based relationships. Before accepting gifts from businesses, the Executive Director will review and approve gifts and any associated requirements, responsibilities, liabilities, or other implications. Overhead costs will be set at the time the gift is made.

Corporate Donors 
The Wilderness Committee does not accept corporate donations. Only donations that meet the criteria of the Local Business Policy will be accepted by the organization.  

Gifts of Securities and Gifts In Kind
Before deciding to accept a gift, the Wilderness Committee will determine relevant information about the gift, which may include: 

  • Description of the asset 
  • Purpose of the gift 
  • Estimated fair market value 
  • Income, expenses, encumbrances and carrying costs 
  • Environmental risks or other potential problems 
  • Special arrangements for disposition requested by the donor 
  • Acceptable use of the Wilderness Committee logo 

In the case of gifts of tangible assets such as real estate, or gifts of publicly traded stock, the Wilderness Committee will review an appraisal the donor has obtained, inspect any physical property, and then liquidate the security immediately.

In the case of gifts of real estate with residual interests, the Wilderness Committee and its Executive Director will review an appraisal the donor has obtained, inspect the physical property and prepare an agreement with the donor which ensures the donor provides for any additional costs related to maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc. of the property throughout the donor’s lifetime.
 
Bequests and Other Planned Gifts
The Wilderness Committee seeks to work with donors in the planning and preparation of planned gifts. In this way, we can determine and ensure that the express wishes of the donor are known, documented, and implemented faithfully. Additionally, this allows the Wilderness Committee to build public or private acknowledgement of their gift and engagement opportunities, according to this policy, the donor's wishes and staff capacity. 
 
Bequest donors are asked to consider a “Power to Vary” clause they plan to make a restricted or contingent gift by will. This makes it possible for the Wilderness Committee to meet the wishes and intent of a donor as closely as possible, in the event that the intended purpose no longer applies and without resort to a court to resolve the matter.

Please ensure the beneficiary designations are made to the organization's full legal name:Western Canada Wilderness Committee.”

Future gifts the Wilderness Committee receives and encourages:

Charitable Remainder Trusts: The Wilderness Committee encourages donors to name the organization as a remainder beneficiary of a trust. The Wilderness Committee will not serve as trustee of a revocable trust agreement and will instead encourage the donor to use a professional fiduciary
Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations: Donors of the Wilderness Committee are encouraged to name the organization as the beneficiary of their retirement plans. These designations will not be recorded as a gift to the Wilderness Committee until such time as the gift is irrevocable.
Life Insurance: The Wilderness Committee, in accordance with the BCFSA (BC Financial Services Authority) under the Insurance Act, may no longer solicit gifts of insurance. If the organization is named as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy, the organization will not get involved with the gift until the policy is paid out to the organization. The tax receipt amount of a life insurance policy will be determined according to CRA guidelines.
Charitable Gift Annuities: Wilderness Committee offers both current and deferred charitable gift annuities to its donors. The minimum funding amount is $20,000. The minimum age for current life income beneficiaries of a gift annuity is 65, and the minimum age for a deferred charitable gift annuity is age 55. Up to two life income beneficiaries are permitted for any gift annuity. Annuity payments may be made on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual schedule. The Wilderness Committee accepts only cash or marketable securities for current annuities and will consider real estate or closely held stock for deferred gift annuities with a deferral period of five years or more, with the approval of the Executive Director. 
 
All other gifts
Will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Executive Director and if necessary, approved by the Board of Directors prior to being accepted by the organization.
 
RECOGNITION OF DONATION

The Wilderness Committee respects the privacy of donors and does not share or publicize donors’ names without their prior consent. In the case where donors wish to be acknowledged, the Wilderness Committee works with donors to develop a donor recognition plan. Certain donations such as a named fund or a gift restricted for specific purposes require a specific acknowledgement plan be outlined, developed, reviewed and approved by both the donor and by the organization as part of the gift acceptance process.
 
TAX RECEIPTING
 
The Wilderness Committee complies with regulations of the Canada Revenue Agency for issuing tax receipts. Eligible donors who provide the Wilderness Committee with their correct address receive tax receipts for all donations $15 or greater. 

The Wilderness Committee will not issue a charitable tax receipt when:

  • The donor receives any direct personal benefit under the arrangement; 
  • The donor has signing authority over the use of the funds; 
  • Proprietary rights entitlement accrues to the donor through the use of the funds. 

Note: Donors must understand that if the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deems a donor to have received a direct benefit, an individual’s charitable tax credit will be denied.
 
MISCELLANEOUS

Securing appraisals and legal fees for gifts to the Wilderness Committee: If it is necessary, it will be the responsibility of the donor to secure an appraisal (where required) and the advice of independent legal, financial or other professional advisers as needed for gifts made to Wilderness Committee.

Valuation of gifts for development purposes: Wilderness Committee will record a gift received by the organization at its valuation for gift purposes on the date of gift.

Disclaimer: This policy is meant solely to guide Wilderness Committee donors and staff in the acceptance or rejection of gifts and in their overall administration. It is not meant as any kind of formal or official advice. Donors are encouraged to seek independent legal, tax and accounting advice.