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Gift Acceptance Policy Template

Outline guidelines for accepting, using, and returning gifts with this Gift Acceptance Policy template. Teach your team about acceptable gifts, conflicts of interest, and procedures for handling designated gifts.

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Gift Acceptance Policy Template

Outline guidelines for accepting, using, and returning gifts with this Gift Acceptance Policy template. Teach your team about acceptable gifts, conflicts of interest, and procedures for handling designated gifts.


The Necessity of a Gift Acceptance Policy

The Gift Acceptance Policy is essential for ensuring that our company operates with the highest standards of ethical integrity and compliance. This policy is necessary to guide employees and stakeholders on how to handle gifts in a manner that avoids conflicts of interest, promotes transparency, and maintains the trust of our clients, partners, and the public. 

The objectives of this policy are multifaceted: It seeks to protect the organization from any appearance of impropriety or undue influence that can arise from accepting gifts. Additionally, it ensures that all gifts received are legal and aligned with the organization’s mission and values. Compliance with this policy not only safeguards the organization legally but also upholds our commitment to ethical business practices, ensuring that all actions taken are transparent and accountable. Through these measures, our company reinforces its dedication to maintaining a reputation of integrity and trustworthiness in all its dealings.

Acceptable vs. Prohibited Gifts

Types of Acceptable Gifts

It is important to clearly define the types of gifts that are acceptable to ensure they align with our ethical standards and organizational objectives. The following types of gifts are generally considered appropriate and may be accepted under the guidelines established in our Gift Acceptance Policy:

  1. Monetary Gifts: Cash donations or checks are acceptable when they support the organization's missions, such as funding for programs, research, or capital projects. These gifts should be handled with strict accounting procedures to ensure transparency.
  2. Securities: Stocks, bonds, and other securities can be accepted. These are typically sold upon receipt unless otherwise stipulated, with the proceeds used as directed by the donor.
  3. Real Estate: Donations of property can be accepted after a thorough review of the real estate’s market value, associated liabilities, and potential for use in operations or resale.
  4. In-Kind Gifts: Non-cash gifts of goods or services that can be used to advance the organization’s mission, such as computer equipment, office furniture, or professional services (e.g., legal, marketing). Each in-kind gift must be evaluated for its utility and potential burden.
  5. Planned Gifts: Bequests or other planned gifts made through wills, trusts, or beneficiary designations. These require careful coordination with the donor’s financial and legal advisors to ensure they are structured properly.
  6. Gifts of Time: Volunteer hours and other non-monetary contributions that support and enhance our operations. While not financial, these gifts are valuable to our mission and are encouraged.

Each category of gift comes with its specific procedures for acceptance and use to ensure they truly benefit the organization and comply with legal standards. These procedures are designed to screen each gift effectively, considering its potential impact on our operations and the associated ethical implications.

Appreciation Gifts

Receiving appreciation gifts from satisfied customers or business partners can be a common and often welcome gesture, reflecting positive relationships and goodwill. However, it's important to manage these gestures appropriately within the framework of our company’s Gift Acceptance Policy to maintain transparency and avoid conflicts of interest.

Acceptable Appreciation Gifts:

  1. Non-Monetary Tokens: Items like branded swag (e.g., t-shirts, pens, or mugs) that bear the logo of the company giving the gift. These are generally acceptable as they are often of nominal value and are intended as tokens of appreciation rather than attempts to influence decision-making.
  2. Food Baskets: Gift baskets containing non-perishable items such as fruits, snacks, or chocolates are typically acceptable. These should be shared with the team or department to avoid perceptions of personal favoritism.
  3. Occasional Invitations: Invitations to business-related events or meals that provide networking opportunities and do not exceed a modest value threshold can be acceptable under certain conditions.

Managing Appreciation Gifts:

All gifts, regardless of their nature, should be reported to the designated department within our company, typically Human Resources. This allows for an official record and ensures that the gifts are within policy limits. Additionally, any gifts received should be disclosed to a supervisor, especially if there is a potential for a conflict of interest. For example, if the gift-giver is currently negotiating a contract with our company, even a nominal gift could be perceived as an attempt to influence the negotiation.

These guidelines help ensure that all gifts, including those meant as tokens of appreciation, are handled with integrity and transparency, supporting our commitment to ethical business practices.

Prohibited Gifts

Certain types of gifts are strictly prohibited to prevent conflicts of interest and maintain the integrity of our operations. These prohibitions are designed to ensure that all interactions and transactions remain above reproach and align with our ethical standards.

Prohibited Gifts Include:

  1. Excessive Monetary Gifts: Any cash gifts exceeding a predetermined threshold that could be perceived as an attempt to influence decision-making are prohibited. The limit is set to ensure donations do not exceed a nominal value that could create undue influence on our operations or strategic decisions.
  2. Gifts from Vendors or Potential Vendors: Accepting gifts from current or potential vendors, especially those directly involved in procurement processes or contract negotiations, is prohibited. This includes gifts of any type, such as holidays, tickets to events, or luxury items, as they may be viewed as bribes or kickbacks.
  3. Gifts from Persons Seeking Employment: Gifts from individuals seeking employment with our company are not permitted, as they could influence hiring decisions and undermine the fairness of our recruitment process.

Potential Conflicts of Interest:

Accepting prohibited gifts can lead to several conflicts of interest. For instance, a gift from a vendor might compromise or appear to compromise the ability of the recipient to make objective and fair decisions regarding vendor management. Similarly, large unsolicited gifts might obligate the recipient to reciprocate in ways that conflict with their responsibilities or the organization's best interests. Such conflicts can damage the organization's reputation, erode public trust, and violate legal and regulatory standards.

To avoid these pitfalls, we enforce a clear policy on gift acceptance and encourage transparency and accountability in all transactions and interactions.

Use of Gifts

Clear guidelines dictate how gifts, particularly those with specific conditions or designations, are to be used to ensure they align with our organizational values and compliance requirements.

Guidelines on Usage of Gifts:

  1. Unrestricted Gifts: Gifts that come without specific conditions are typically classified as unrestricted. These can be utilized at the organization's discretion to support various operational needs or projects that further our mission.
  2. Restricted Gifts: Some gifts are given with specific conditions regarding their use, such as funding for a particular department or initiative. These gifts must be used exactly as directed by the donor. Failure to comply can result in reputational damage and legal issues.

Procedures for Handling Designated Gifts:

  • Documentation and Verification: Upon receipt of a restricted gift, the details of the donor's conditions are documented thoroughly.
  • Approval and Allocation: The designated use of the gift is reviewed and approved by the appropriate department heads and, if necessary, the board of directors, to ensure alignment with the organization's goals and legal constraints.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: The use of the gift is monitored, and regular reports are prepared to ensure compliance with the donor's conditions. These reports are often shared with the donor to maintain transparency and trust.

By adhering to these guidelines and procedures, we can ensure that all gifts are managed responsibly and ethically, reinforcing our commitment to honoring donor intent and maintaining accountability.

Return of Gifts

Returning gifts to donors is managed with careful consideration to maintain the integrity and ethical standards of our operations. Gifts may be returned under specific circumstances that warrant such action, ensuring that all interactions with donors are handled respectfully and transparently.

Circumstances for Returning Gifts:

  1. Non-Compliance with Organization’s Values: If a gift is received from a source that is later found to be in direct conflict with the core values and ethics of our company, such as companies known for environmental violations if we are committed to sustainability.
  2. Legal Issues: Gifts that may create legal conflicts, or are from donors engaged in illegal activities, must be returned to protect the organization from legal repercussions.
  3. Donor Stipulations Not Met: If we are unable to meet the specific conditions attached to a gift and cannot renegotiate these terms satisfactorily with the donor, returning the gift may be necessary.
  4. Unacceptable Gift Types: If a gift falls into a category explicitly prohibited by our Gift Acceptance Policy, such as gifts that could financially burden the organization or come with unacceptable ethical strings attached.

Procedures for Returning Gifts:

  • Review and Decision: Any decision to return a gift involves a thorough review by HR.
  • Communication: The decision and reasons for returning the gift are communicated to the donor in a professional and courteous manner, ideally through formal correspondence that outlines the reasons clearly and respectfully.
  • Documentation: All interactions and steps taken in the process of returning the gift are fully documented for accountability and future reference. This includes recording the condition of the gift upon return and any legal or administrative steps taken.
  • Handling Logistics: Practical aspects of returning the gift, such as packaging and shipping, are handled in a manner that ensures the gift is returned in its original condition.

By adhering to these guidelines, we can ensure that the process of returning gifts is handled with the utmost professionalism and integrity, safeguarding the organization’s reputation and relationships with donors.


Have Questions?

The Gift Acceptance Policy at our company is crafted to ensure that all gifts received are handled with integrity and transparency, aligning with our organizational values and compliance standards. This policy not only guides our actions but also safeguards our reputation and maintains the trust of our donors and stakeholders. 

Should you have any questions regarding the acceptance, utilization, or return of gifts, please speak with a member of the Human Resources department.

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