INTENT
 
The 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 from 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., stocks, bonds, shares, mutual funds) 
  • Gifts in Kind (i.e., tangible assets or goods)
  • Bequests (gifts made via estate plan or will)
  • 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)

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), 
  • Life Insurance Policies (irrevocable ownership transferred to charity), 
  • Life Insurance Proceeds (ie, gifted upon death of donor), 
  • Retirement Plan beneficiary designations and 
  • 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, provided the Wilderness Committee is a sole beneficiary) 

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 that 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 the Donor Relations Manager and as appropriate the Wilderness Committee Executive Team.

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 is consistent with our objectives and priorities; 
  • The donor's intent and direction is clearly understood and documented in our database.

CRITERIA FOR DECLINING A GIFT

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

  • Violate any international, 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 Team or Board of Directors to violate our 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 Team;
  • 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, etc.), 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 judges not to be in the its best interest, the Executive Team 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 donor 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’s Donor Relations Manager will establish any terms and conditions necessary to the acceptance of a gift on behalf of the Executive Team and the donor and/or donor’s agent. Some of the considerations applied to a potential gift are outlined below. 
  • The final decision to accept or decline a gift rests with the Executive Team, who may defer to the Board on certain occasions. 
  • Tax receipts are provided for all gifts below according to guidelines set out by the Canada Revenue Agency on tax-receiptable donations.
  • Gifts may be given to be used where the need is greatest (undesignated) or for specific programs, purposes or projects (designated). Upon completion of a project or program for which gifts had been received, what remains of those gifts will be disposed of or re-allocated. 

Procedures for specific types of gifts are as follows: 

Individual donors - Cash gifts over $5,000
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 that are associated with these gifts. These may be reviewed by the Executive Team for before the gift is accepted and receipted.

Corporate donors 
While the Wilderness Committee does not accept corporate donations per se, there exist many relationships at a local level between businesses with larger corporate brands and the Wilderness Committee and its employees and programs. The Wilderness Committee accepts gifts from businesses and local representatives of corporate companies where the gift meets criteria outlined in its Local Business Donor Policy. This is to ensure that gifts can be accepted which grow out of locally-based relationships and charitable decision-making and which come from businesses whose corporate values are in alignment with those of the Wilderness Committee. Before accepting gifts from businesses with corporate interests, the Wilderness Committee Executive Team will review and approve gifts and associated requirements, liabilities, or other implications of the gift. 

Local business donors
As above, the Wilderness Committee accepts gifts from businesses and local representatives of some corporate companies where the gift meets criteria outlined in its Local Business Policy. The Wilderness Committee does not accept corporate donations, but recognizes that many kinds of relationships develop at a local level between staff at corporate locations of some businesses and the Wilderness Committee’s employees and programs. The Local BusinessPolicy ensures that 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 with corporate interests, the Wilderness Committee Executive Team will review and approve gifts and any associated requirements, responsibilities, liabilities, or other implications related to the gift.  

Gifts of Securities and Gifts In Kind (tangible assets such as real estate, computers, vehicle)
Before deciding to accept a gift, the Donor Relations Manager 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 our 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, then liquidate the security immediately.

In the case of gifts of real estate with residual interests, the Wilderness Committee and its Executive Team 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
As outlined above, 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 Donor Relations Manager to build acknowledgement and engagement opportunities, if it is the donor’s wish, in an ongoing relationship with the Wilderness Committee.
 
Bequests and other planned gifts may require that the Donor Relations Manager review and develop the necessary structures to ensure the administration of the gift is clear to both the organization and the donor or donor’s representatives. Procedures for planned gifts the Wilderness Committee encourages:

Charitable Remainder Trusts: Wilderness Committee encourages donors to name the organization as a remainder beneficiary of the trust. 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 and supporters of the Wilderness Committee are encouraged to name the organization as the beneficiary of their retirement plans. These designations will not be recorded as gift to the Wilderness Committee until such time as the gift is irrevocable.
Life Insurance: Wilderness Committee will accept a life insurance policy as a gift if the organization is named as a beneficiary or as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of an insurance policy. Any premiums due are the responsibility of the donor. If the insurance policy lapses for non-payment prior to maturity because a donor fails to provide for premium payments, the Wilderness Committee may: 

  • continue to pay the premiums, 
  • convert the policy to paid up insurance, or 
  • surrender the policy for its current cash value, or
  • change the underlying investment structure.

The tax receiptable amount of a life insurance policy will be determined according to CRA guidelines.
Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations: Donors and supporters of the Wilderness Committee are encouraged to name the Wilderness Committee as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of their life insurance policies. Such designations shall not be recorded as gifts to the Wilderness Committee until such time as the gift is irrevocable. 
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 Team. 
Charitable Remainder Trust:  Because these are irrevocable gifts, donors who qualify can receive a charitable donation tax receipt at the same time a trust is established for the value of the residual interest which will belong to the charity. The Wilderness Committee’s Donor Relations Manager will work with donors to create an acknowledgement plan associated with this gift. 
Bequests and Endowments: The Wilderness Committee prefers to work with donors as wills and estates are planned, to ensure donor’s intentions, acknowledgements and administrative requirements are in place. Naming opportunities and named funds are available to donors, but these must be pre-arranged and approved by Wilderness Committee Executive Team, and if necessary the Board, in order to ensure gifts can be designated as donors wish, and that the organization is able to provide any necessary administration support.
 
All other gifts
Will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Executive Team of the Wilderness Committee and if necessary, approved by the Board 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 Manager of Donor Relations 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 Wilderness Committee Executive Team 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, unless they specifically ask for a receipt, or if they donate online. 

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.