Gift Acceptance

Policy Statement: Guilford welcomes commitments of financial support in the form of both outright and planned gifts. Except as noted in this policy, the Vice President for Advancement shall determine the conditions under which gifts may be accepted on behalf of Guilford College. 

Purpose/Reason for Policy: To govern the acceptance of gifts and to provide guidance to donors and their professional advisors in determining the best way to complete gifts to Guilford College. Specifically, the policy helps to:

  • Define the assets and gift forms that are acceptable to Guilford;
  • Define Guilford’s role in gift administration;
  • Maintain integrity in gift acceptance and administration to ensure that gifts to the College help fulfill its mission and are accepted in a consistent, efficient and cost-effective manner;
  • Promote coordination among departments, faculty and staff in soliciting and administering gifts;
  • Ensure understanding between donors and Guilford, as well as among volunteers, and should serve to ensure the optimal use of gifts by the College;
  • Educate staff and board about critical and practical considerations associated with certain gifts;
  • Enable the board to make decisions about policy independent of potential gifts.

Scope/Covered Persons: All members of the Guilford College community.

Definitions:  Gifts of a transformational magnitude: Major gifts of $5 million or more that have the capacity to alter the programs, perceptions, and future of the College.

The Policy:  

Guilford welcomes commitments of financial support in the form of both outright and planned gifts. While all gifts are welcome, gifts of cash or marketable securities are encouraged. The types of gifts that Guilford may accept include:

  • cash
  • marketable securities
  • closely held stock
  • real estate (including houses, condominiums and commercial properties, farmland, rental property and undeveloped land) 
  • tangible personal property (including works of art, books, automobiles, boats, archival materials, patents, royalties, trademarks, etc.)            
  • gift annuities
  • charitable remainder trusts
  • charitable remainder unitrusts
  • life insurance policies
  • life income or lead trusts
  • gifts of residence and farms with retained life use
  • gifts of undivided partial interests
  • gifts by will
  • other gift forms acceptable to the Advancement Committee

Gifts accepted by Guilford generally will fall under the heading of one or more of these classifications:

  • contribution
  • documented promise to give (pledge)
  • legally enforceable unconditional promises to give cash
  • realized testamentary gifts and deferred gift agreements

All donations with a restricted purpose shall be made pursuant to an agreement signed both by the donor and by the President of Guilford College, explicitly setting forth the terms of the restriction.  

Prospective donors are urged to seek the advice of independent legal and/or tax counsel during the gift planning process.  Guilford shall take appropriate steps to notify prospective donors in regard to this matter and shall not provide legal, accounting, tax or other advice relating to prospective gifts. 

Policy provisions:

  1. Charitable Intent — Guilford shall promote gifts that fulfill its mission and that comply with established legal and ethical fundraising standards.
  2. Restrictions on Gifts — Guilford will accept unrestricted gifts and gifts for specific programs and purposes, provided that such gifts are consistent with its stated mission, purposes and priorities.
  3. Right reserved to Seek Legal Advice — In considering the acceptance of a gift, Guilford may seek the advice of legal counsel, particularly if their expertise is needed to evaluate the appropriateness and cost implications of a potential gift.
  4. Signatory Authority — The President shall sign all gift agreements regarding the creation of new funds. The Vice President for Advancement shall sign all forms and other documents necessary to accept and enter into planned or other gift arrangements.
  5. Delegation of Approval Authority for Naming and Renaming of Facilities, Properties, Colleges, School Programs and Centers — Joint approval by Guilford’s President and Board of Trustees is required for naming or renaming of Guilford’s land reserves, buildings, major centers of activity and other highly visible properties, major or multi-campus programs, departments, centers and facilities.  The President of Guilford has the authority to approve the naming or renaming of portions of buildings, rooms, laboratories and offices, small outdoor areas, other minor properties, campus programs.  The Vice President for Advancement in collaboration with the Vice President for Administration has the authority to approve naming or renaming of dedicated campus furnishings in public areas (such as inscribed benches and the wording on dedicatory plaques). Whenever donors, in making a gift for a new building, wish to have the building named for one whom they designate, it is the policy of Guilford College to require that at least 50% of the announced cost of the buildings be irrevocably committed by the donor.  When gift opportunities are offered for parts of a building or for landscape features, a donor may name such designated portions of buildings and grounds by contributing the entire announced cost. Older facilities – including classroom, offices, laboratories, studios, reception areas, etc. – can be named for varying amounts determined by the cost of the renovation.   
  6. Legal Counsel Review — Guilford’s Vice President for Advancement, its legal counsel and the donor’s counsel will review all giving arrangements which deviate from the guidelines outlined in this document.
  7. Confidentiality — Guilford and its staff and volunteers shall adhere to strict confidentiality with regard to any information, records, letters and personal documents pertaining to donors and gifts.
  8. Gift Counting and Reporting — The President of Guilford and the Board of Trustees require the explicit written terms, in the form of a signed gift or pledge agreement, of all donated assets or funds by a donor who has conveyed a prior stipulation that these assets are given for a restricted purpose.  
  9. Non-fulfillment of Pledges — In the event that a donor is unable to fulfill a gift pledge, Guilford College shall have the authority, with the approval of the Board of Trustees as appropriate, to retract any naming rights associated with the gift, and shall have the authority to direct any remaining money in the donors fund to an alternative use which comes closest to the donor’s original intent. 
  10. Honorarium and Memorial Gifts — In the event that an individual or individuals collect funds with the intention of establishing an endowed fund or capital gift in honor or in memory of an individual, but are unable to reach the minimum required level to do so, the Board of Trustees shall have the authority to redirect existing gifts in the designated fund to an alternative fund which comes closest to the wishes of the donor(s) and/or the family members of the individual(s) being honored or memorialized.  Additionally, the name of the honoree(s) and, when appropriate, the donor(s) shall be honored in an alternative manner.
    The College has established a campus grounds plan to preserve the beauty of the pastoral campus and reserves the right to decide placement and standards for items placed on the College’s grounds.  To ensure the beauty of front campus, no personal memorials or honorariums will be placed along the main walkway to Founders (with the exception of graduate walk bricks), although the College may place benches in honor of a full class along the main walk.  As with all gifts to the College, the Advancement Office will work with the donor(s) to ensure an appropriate tribute and donor satisfaction, however, the College reserves the right to accept or decline a gift.
  11. Capital Gift Requests — The Board of Trustees may approve a capital campaign to raise substantial funds to finance major building projects, supplement endowment funds and meet other capital needs that demand extensive outlays of capital.  A capital campaign may simultaneously include requests for multi-year commitments to the Guilford Fund.  Gift accounting guidelines shall be established and will incorporate best practices of Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).
  12. Policies Amendment — Guilford’s Advancement Committee, in collaboration with the Office of Advancement, reserves the right to make non-material amendments to these provisions and guidelines periodically.

Roles and Responsibilities: 

To ensure that the gift acceptance policies set forth by Guilford are consistently, effectively and fairly implemented, the Board of Trustees has designated the responsibility for monitoring compliance and review of each independent policy document, and charges those responsible for bringing forth revision recommendations when necessary.

  1. The Board of Trustees authorizes College officers to accept gifts or bequests for and on behalf of the College as agents of the College, subject to board policy guidelines. The Trustees appoint the President, who in turn determines the authority and responsibilities of the Vice Presidents as noted in the Bylaws of Guilford College (section 6.2).  Joint approval by Guilford’s Board of Trustees and the President is required for naming or renaming of Guilford’s land reserves, buildings, major centers of activity and other highly visible properties, major or multi-campus programs, departments, centers and facilities.  The Board of Trustees through the recommendations of the Advancement Committee establishes the gift acceptance policy of Guilford College.
  2. The Advancement Committee is responsible for reviewing and acting upon the Gift Acceptance Policy Statement, as recommended by, and in coordination with the Office of Advancement.
  3. The President is responsible for ensuring compliance with these policies.  Under the authority granted as principal executive officer of Guilford, the President delegates the acceptance of liquid assets to the Office of Advancement and its staff; the acceptance and liquidation of illiquid assets, as well as the acceptance, ongoing administration and ultimate liquidation of deferred gifts, to the Vice President for Finance, in consultation with the Vice President for Advancement.  The delegation of such responsibilities is subject to a right of review.  It is understood that the Vice President for Advancement will consult with the President and the Vice President for Finance prior to acceptance, should a particular gift be of transformational magnitude, or when the relationship with the donor is particularly sensitive.  The President of Guilford has the authority to approve the naming or renaming of portions of buildings, rooms, laboratories and offices, small outdoor areas, other minor properties, campus programs.  Joint approval by Guilford’s President and Board of Trustees is required for naming or renaming of Guilford’s land reserves, buildings, major centers of activity and other highly visible properties, major or multi-campus programs, departments, centers and facilities.  
  4. The Vice President for Advancement and Staff are responsible for raising private gifts to support the College’s mission.  Duties associated with such responsibilities include the identification, cultivation and solicitation of individual, corporate and foundation donors.  The Office of Advancement is also responsible for properly acknowledging all of Guilford’s benefactors and for building and maintaining strong relationships with them.  The Vice President for Advancement, with assistance from staff, is responsible for making sure that the use of restrictions and the structure of gifts are in accordance with the College’s policies and are properly documented.  This department is also responsible for gathering data from donors and providing analysis of offered assets to the Vice President for Finance.  The supporting staff is expected to review the Gift Acceptance Policy Statement and to propose revisions to these policies when necessary.  When gifts are of a transformational magnitude or when the relationship with the donor is particularly sensitive, the Vice President for Advancement will consult with the President, the Chair of the Board of Trustees and other appropriate board committee members as applicable, as well as the Vice President for Administration and Finance, before accepting or liquidating a gift.  The Vice President for Advancement, in collaboration with the Vice President for Administration, has the authority to approve naming or renaming of dedicated campus furnishings in public areas (such as inscribed benches and the wording on dedicatory plaques).
  5. The Vice President for Finance and Staff are responsible for accepting, managing and liquidating illiquid gifts, as well as accepting, administering and ultimately liquidating deferred gifts to Guilford College.  In exercising these responsibilities, the Vice President for Finance, with assistance from staff, is responsible for reviewing the data, analysis and recommendations provided by Advancement, and supplementing this with appropriate due diligence procedures to determine whether a particular illiquid or deferred gift should be accepted or rejected.  
  6. The Vice President for Administration and Finance is responsible for participating in the evaluation, acceptance, management and liquidation of land and real estate handled in collaboration with the Vice President for Advancement.  In addition, the Vice President for Administration will be consulted on gifts that directly impact the campus master plan. The Vice President for Administration, in collaboration with the Vice President for Advancement, has the authority to approve naming or renaming of dedicated campus furnishings in public areas (such as inscribed benches and the wording on dedicatory plaques).

Other Related Policies, Regulations, Statutes and Documents: 

Office of Advancement Mission Statement: The mission of the Office of Advancement is to generate financial support and encourage participation, loyalty and personal investment among the Guilford College community. We work to provide for the resources to maintain and improve the College’s financial strength and solvency in order to enhance the quality of education available to our students, further the value of that education to alumni and future alumni, fulfill the professional needs of our faculty and staff, and nurture the bonds between the campus and external partners.

As a results-oriented office, the Office of Advancement supports the priorities of Guilford College by: 

  • Ethically and effectively identifying, researching, cultivating and soliciting prospects and donors, with a focus on expanding philanthropy in support of the College; 
  • Promoting the programs and values of the College to alumni, parents, friends, the media and the public on a local, regional and national basis;
  • Communicating and supporting the College’s stated priority needs;
  • Fostering an intellectual and social community for alumni, donors and friends through homecoming, major speaker events, local and regional alumni events and service projects.
  • Accurately depositing, receipting and acknowledging charitable donations; and
  • Keeping fundraising costs to a minimum.

Related Divisional Policies and Procedures: 

Honorarium and Memorial Gifts — The College has established several options for gifts in memory or honor of someone special: 

  • Benches — In accordance with the campus plan for placing benches on campus, the College will provide a bench and recognition plaque with a gift of $2,500.
  • Trees — In accordance with the campus tree plan that specifies the variety and location of trees, a gift of $1,500 will provide a tree and plaque.
  • Rocking Chairs — A gift of $1,500 will provide a rocking chair and plaque to be used on Founders Hall terrace.
  • Graduate Walk Bricks — The Alumni Relations Office offers a brick for a gift of $100 with a graduate’s name and class year inscribed and placed on the Graduate Walk.

Financial Accounting — All gifts shall be accounted for in the financial records of Guilford in a manner that is consistent with generally accepted accounting principles and approved by its Board of Trustees. 

Expenditures — Guilford may agree to incur expenditures related to a gift arrangement prior to its execution.  The donor will be asked to cover such costs if, for any reason, the gift is not finalized.  Any costs incurred in realizing the gift will be netted against the gift revenue.

Delegation of Solicitation Authority — Guilford’s volunteers, officers and staff are pleased to meet with prospective donors and their advisors, without obligation, to discuss an individual’s areas of interest, the College’s needs, gifts sought, ways of giving, and the tax and estate consequences of a gift commitment.  Solicitation of all gifts from individuals, foundations or corporations must be cleared through the Vice President for Advancement. 

Gifts from Estates — All gift officers have the authority to solicit gifts from estates.  The staff shall advise and obtain the consent of the Vice President for Advancement and the Vice President for Administration before accepting illiquid assets from estates.  The Vice President for Advancement is authorized to sign estate distribution receipts on behalf of Guilford College.  

Endowment Management — To establish a named endowment fund, the following minimum gift levels are suggested:

Endowed Chair                               $2,000,000
Full Professorship                           $1,500,000
Associate/Assistant Professorship  $1,000,000
Visiting Professorship                      $500,000
Fully Endowed Scholarship             $700,000
Half Tuition Scholarship                   $350,000
Partial Scholarship                           $100,000
Initiating Scholarship                        $ 50,000
Program/Recognition Awards          $ 50,000

A named endowment fund may be established over a maximum of five years with a pledge payment. The Vice President for Advancement must approve this arrangement and the donor must indicate a payment schedule.  The first payment must equal 20% of the value of the total amount being endowed (e.g. 20% of $1,500,000 for a professorship, 20% of $50,000 for initiating a scholarship).  A named endowment fund may be established by an irrevocable donor agreement through a planned gift.  No funds will be accepted for programs or activities that do not have recognized academic and administrative approvals.

If for any reason the donor is unable to meet the minimum gift levels by the end of the five-year period, the funds will be reallocated as outlined in the donor agreement.  Endowment gifts under this threshold shall be added to general endowments with comparable use restrictions.  Advancement staff shall obtain and maintain adequate documentation of the use restrictions associated with each gift.  The gift terms and documentation thereof shall allow the greatest possible flexibility to ensure that the funds remain useful over time and do not become obsolete, inappropriate, or impractical.  If, in the opinion of Guilford College, all or part of an endowment cannot be usefully applied to the purpose originally designated (or in the manner requested), the Board of Trustees shall have the authority to use the endowed funds for any purpose within its corporate powers that will most nearly accomplish the purposes, wishes and intent of the donor.  The College seeks to balance the following objectives in the management of endowment funds: 1) maintain principal balances; 2) utilize investment earnings prudently and 3) demonstrate stewardship and preservation of the College. 

Donor Acknowledgement and Recognition — Guilford is committed to acknowledging donors in a manner that is prompt, personal and efficient, and to ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, that receipts are generated promptly.  Guilford will provide acknowledgement and recognition opportunities that are fair and consistent for all donors, while allowing for a flexible approach that permits personalized opportunities, which satisfy a donor’s interests.  Anonymous gifts will be accepted and their privacy respected.  More specific information related to this topic can be found in the policy document titled Guilford College Gift Acknowledgement and Stewardship Procedures.

Assistance to Donors — It is Guilford’s policy to inform, serve, guide, provide financial and tax illustrations or otherwise assist donors who wish to support Guilford’s activities.

Independent Counsel Encouraged — Anyone acting on behalf of Guilford will encourage donors to discuss a proposed gift with independent legal and/or tax advisors of the donor’s choice to ensure that the donor receives a full and accurate explanation of all aspects of the proposed charitable gift.

Volunteer Travel Expenses — The Internal Revenue Service regulations allow volunteers to deduct most out-of-pocket volunteer expenses.  Such deductions include reasonable telephone, meal, and travel expenses for attendance at meetings and/or performance of Board roles such as fundraising.  According to the IRS code, volunteers may deduct the actual car gas costs or car mileage – not both (see the current instructions for Schedule A of IRS form 1040 for rates).  Actual cost of airfare, tolls, parking fees, telephone calls, meals, and lodging expenses are currently deductible as well.  However, expenses are only deductible if there is “no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation” associated with the travel.  No expense for a spouse, child, or friend traveling with the volunteer is deductible.  Assuming that expenses otherwise meet these conditions, and no goods or services have been received in exchange for these contributions, they are deductible as cash charitable contributions on the tax return.  The IRS tax code is subject to annual change and, while this policy reflects our best interpretations of current law, we encourage volunteers to consult with their personal tax advisor for final directions regarding their tax reporting.     

Policies for Specific Gifts

  1. In-kind gifts will be accepted only if they replace line items detailed in a project budget for which the College would incur a cost. These gifts will be recognized and credited using fair-market value and should be in line with pricing contained in external bids otherwise received for renovation and/or new construction. The value of a person’s time or service is not considered a charitable contribution and is not countable, regardless of whether the individual assists as a volunteer or as a professional providing a specialized service (e.g. accounting, legal work, consulting, or printing). 
  2. Future unconditional bequests or trust pledges made during the campaign will be recognized as “future or deferred commitments,” unless specified otherwise by the donor’s intentions.  Revocable and irrevocable bequest commitments of those 55 and older will be recorded and credited toward the campaign at their net present value.  Net present value is calculated using life expectancy tables published by the IRS and takes into consideration whether the bequest includes a one-life or two-life beneficiary.  We accept a good faith estimate of the bequest amount; however, written documentation from the donor or donor’s attorney is required.  These donors will be counted as members in the Heritage Society.  All future unconditional bequests or trust pledges that are of transformational magnitude are subject to board review and approval in terms of value assessed toward the campaign objectives. 
  3. Realized bequests paid during the campaign will be credited at the value established during the administration of the estate or the fair market value on the date of the payment and will be counted toward the campaign in which it was originally documented, as deemed appropriate and in line with the donor’s intentions.
  4. Unrestricted gifts or bequests with a market value of $100,000 or less may, at the discretion of the President, be transferred to the operating or capital budget or designated as a board-designated endowment in the College endowment.  Any unrestricted gift or bequest exceeding $100,000 in total market value must be transferred to the College endowment as a board-designated endowment, and any exceptions must first be reviewed by the Finance Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees. 
  5. Marketable securities will be routinely sold upon receipt.  Closely held stock should be readily convertible into cash within five years or less.
  6. Fully paid life insurance policies assigned to the College are encouraged and readily accepted.  They will be credited at the full net face value of the policy as irrevocable gifts.
  7. When an irrevocable commitment of life insurance is pledged to the campaign, and ownership is assigned, but the policy is not paid in full, a pledge agreement will be executed recognizing and crediting the campaign gift at the net cash value of the policy, with future policy premiums paid by the donor credited annually as gifts to the campaign.
  8. Revocable gifts of life insurance policies will be recognized as “future commitments” and credited to the campaign goal at its net present value.
  9. Remainder trusts, gift annuities or retained life estate agreements will be recognized at the fair market value of the asset funding the agreement and assigned an accounting value credited to the campaign at net present value.  In the case of irrevocable gift commitments that are paid during the campaign, their cash or fair market value will be credited to the campaign.  Minimum baselines for the acceptance of such gifts are as follows:  Charitable Gift Annuities, $25,000; Charitable Remainder Trusts, $200,000.
  10. Income from lead trusts may be designated to facilities or endowment and will be recognized and credited at the full payout value for the entire period during which the income is pledged and paid to the College.  The minimum baseline for the acceptance of lead trusts is $500,000. 
  11. Gifts of Real Property (outright or in trust) – Guilford College may accept gifts of real estate, including houses, condominiums and commercial properties, farmland, rental property and undeveloped land valued at $50,000 or more.  Gifts of real property will be recognized and credited at the appraised fair market value of the property at the time it is transferred to the College.  The Vice President for Administration, in concert with the counsel from the Vice Presidents of Advancement and Finance, shall review and approve gifts of real property prior to acceptance.  Gifts of property that are of transformational magnitude are subject to review by a subcommittee for real property acceptance.  The subcommittee will consist of the Vice President for Advancement, the Vice President for Administration, the Vice President for Finance and a trustee representative from the Building and Grounds committee.  Prior to the acceptance of any parcel of property, Guilford College shall conduct analysis and seek consultation relating to the following factors:  fair market value and marketability; environmental risks; limitations, encumbrances and title; carrying costs; governmental and private assessments; real property taxes; liability and casualty insurance costs; maintenance and costs to be incurred by Guilford College in the future sale of the property. Guilford College may disclaim ownership of the real property in the event a determination is made that potential problems exist.  In regard to unrestricted gifts of property, Guilford College reserves the right to retain the property, rather than immediately selling it.  More specific information about this topic can be found in the policy document titled Guilford College Procedures Regarding Acceptance of Gifts of Real Property.
  12. Gifts of Art – Provisions of the “Guilford College Art Gallery Collections Policy” is included in this Guilford College Gift Acceptance Policy Statement*.  It describes the principles that govern the collections activities, practices and operations, and specifies the delegation of responsibility and authority for the Art Collection.  Decisions on policy changes to the “Guilford College Art Gallery Collections Policy” will reside with the Board of Trustees of Guilford College.
  13. Gifts of Other Tangible Personal Property – Guilford College may accept gifts of other tangible personal property, including books; equipment; automobiles; antiques; boats; archival materials; jewelry; antiques; coin, stamp and other collections and manuscripts.  All such gifts must be approved in advance of acceptance by the Vice President for Advancement or an authorized representative may consult with the Finance Office, professional counsel, or convene a Gift Acceptance Committee when appropriate, to determine whether acceptance of the property is in the best interest of Guilford College.  Gifts may be accepted only after a thorough review indicates the property is readily marketable or may be used by the College.  Gifts of tangible personal property will be recognized and credited at the appraised fair market value of the property at the time it is transferred to the College.  If a gift is likely to be valued at more than $5,000, the donor must have it appraised by an independent, licensed appraiser within 60 days prior to the gift’s transfer to determine the value of the donor’s deduction.  The donor should be encouraged to consult independent legal and/or tax advisors to ensure that they receive a full and accurate explanation of all aspects of the proposed charitable gift as the College shall not provide legal, accounting, tax or other advice relating to prospective gifts. 
  14. Loans of art and literature will be treated on a case-by-case basis individually and in concert with the appropriate department of the College. 

*Guilford College Art Gallery Acquisition Policies 

  1. It is the policy of the Guilford College Art Gallery to accept only fine art and crafts appropriate to its mission statement for the Permanent Collection.  The Gallery collects only works of art that it is able to care for, preserve, store, and exhibit in a manner acceptable to the college museum field.
  2. Objects may be added to the collection by means of gifts, purchases, bequests, exchanges, transfers, or any other transaction by which title passes to the College.  It is the responsibility of the donor to secure an appraisal for any object for which a charitable tax-deduction is declared.  
  3. It is the policy of the Gallery not to accept an object with encumbering restrictions.  Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by (1) the Director/Curator and the Vice President for Finance or (2) the President.  In recognition of the serious problem of illicit traffic in cultural property, the Gallery agrees to abide by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.  The Gallery staff will make efforts to obtain information concerning the object’s history of ownership to ensure there are no legal or ethical considerations that would make acquisition of the object undesirable.

Approval Authority: The Guilford College Board of Trustees

Responsible Office: Ara Serjoie, Vice President for Advancement, Hendricks Hall 115, 336.316.2320, serjoiea@guilford.edu

Revision History: Original approval date, June 8, 2013