Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Print Page Contact Asbury Theological Seminary

Gift Acceptance Policies and Procedures

  1. Overview
    1. Board Commitment: It is the policy of the Board of Trustees of Asbury Theological Seminary to offer the donor the opportunity to make gifts to the Seminary, both of cash and non-cash assets (current and deferred), in a manner beneficial to the donor while protecting the fiscal, legal and missional integrity of the Seminary. It is also the policy of the Board to give the opportunity to the donor to make gifts reserving life income for the donor and other beneficiaries through their wills or through current giving. This Board is committed to seeking such gifts and to provide adequate staff and resources for a full and effective program.
    2. Ethics in Receiving Gifts: This Board authorizes the acceptance of gifts to Asbury Theological Seminary only where there is genuine donative intent, where there has been full disclosure between the donor and Asbury Theological Seminary, including to the best of the Seminary's ability, disclosure of tax or other ramifications to the donor. The donor is encouraged to seek his/her own counsel on legal, tax and financial matters.
      The Fund Raising Code of Ethical Pursuit: The fundraising activities of the Seminary and its authorized agents shall be conducted in a manner that complies with the ethical standards and professional practices approved by the following organizations, of which Asbury Theological Seminary is a member:
      • The Association of Theological Schools (ATS)
      • Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)
    3. Gift Acceptance and Valuing Authority: This Board authorizes the Office of the President, Office of Seminary Advancement and the Finance Office to accept gifts on behalf of the Seminary.
      Full responsibility rests on the donor for claiming any deductions on their personal income tax return including filing IRS form 8283, and any appraisals or other documentation. Full responsibility also rests on the donor for the value given for any non-cash property gift.
  2. Solicitation and Cultivation of Gifts
    1. Approach: When dealing with prospective donors, Asbury Theological Seminary shall seek only to inform, serve, guide and assist the donor with fulfilling his or her charitable desires.
    2. Tax-Exempt Status: Asbury Theological Seminary shall not accept any gift that would improperly inure to the benefit of any donor or in a manner that would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the Seminary as determined upon the advice of counsel.
    3. Authorized Representative: Only the authorized representatives of Asbury Theological Seminary shall present to a donor a current, restricted or deferred gift proposal as part of the Seminary's fund raising program. All proposals shall be in accordance with the guidelines and policies approved by the Board of Trustees.
    4. Review of Gift: The Board of Trustees authorizes the Office of the President and the Office of Seminary Advancement and, as needed, the Gift Acceptance Committee (see section VIII A.), to carefully scrutinize all gifts to the Seminary, including any property that may subject Asbury Theological Seminary to liability or risk.
    5. Confidentiality: All information concerning donors including names and addresses, names of beneficiaries, nature and value of their assets and estates and the amounts of any potential or completed gifts and other details gathered by the Seminary shall be kept in strict confidence.
    6. Conflict of Interest: The interest of the donor is of greatest concern. No agreement shall be made between the Seminary and any agency, person, company or organization on any matter related to investment, management or otherwise which would knowingly jeopardize the interests of the donor.
    7. Legal Advice: Prospective donors shall be advised to consult with their attorney and/or financial advisor in all matters related to deferred gift instruments including the tax implications and estate planning aspects of a potential gift.
      Asbury Theological Seminary may make available upon request, technical assistance to the donors including (a) meetings with authorized Seminary representatives to discuss the various methods available to the donor for making a charitable gift to the Seminary, and (b) presentation of draft documents for the donor to review with his or her own attorney and/or financial advisor. Asbury Theological Seminary counsel may prepare suggested language pertinent to a bequest or planned gift to be submitted to the donor's attorney for inclusion in the donor's will or codicil or draft of a trust, annuity or other document for review by the donor's attorney. The Seminary shall inform the donor of the requirement for an appraisal of non-cash contributions, as needed, and that the Seminary must notify the IRS if the donated item is sold, exchanged or otherwise disposed of within two years of receipt on IRS Form 8282.
  3. Acceptance Policies by Type of Property
    1. Cash and Traded Securities: Cash and publicly-traded securities (traded on a recognized stock exchange) are the most desirable form of gifts as they are liquid and do not present issues of potential liability. Listed securities, or securities actively traded over-the-counter are acceptable with no minimum amount.
    2. Closely-Held Stock: Gifts of closely-held stock shall be reviewed by the Gift Acceptance Committee of the Seminary due to their inherent illiquid nature. As part of the Seminary's review process and prior to acceptance, information concerning the likelihood of a redemption by the company and a qualified appraisal must be presented by the donor. Securities in closely held corporations, S corporations, or otherwise privately held securities are acceptable upon the approval of the majority of the President, Vice President for Advancement and Communications and the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
    3. Real Estate: Gift of real property will be accepted in accordance with the policies and procedures established by Seminary counsel. Full interest, partial interests and remainder interests in real property are all acceptable. Remainder interests are contracts. In the case of such gifts, the donor shall be expected to agree to pay all property taxes, maintain the property and provide adequate insurance on the property. Conditions for acceptance shall include salability, an environmental assessment and annual maintenance costs including evaluation of any liens against the property and any real estate taxes. Donor may be asked to sign a statement regarding liability for previous and current environmental or other conditions if the Seminary deems it appropriate.
    4. Tangible Personal Property: Gifts of tangible personal property are acceptable with no minimum. Conditions for accepting gifts include salability or as-is usability and current Seminary needs for the type of property offered, physical condition of the property, cost of any storage or insurance and any other unusual feature or condition involved in the transfer.
    5. Insurance: Gifts by contract, particularly life insurance, through which the Seminary will receive a future benefit are acceptable, so long as the Seminary is not required to expend funds from sources other than the donor to maintain the contract. Asbury Theological Seminary may be named as a remainder beneficiary on the insurance contract to maintain the contract.
      Paid-up policies, in which the Seminary is the owner and irrevocable beneficiary, require little administration, contain a cash value and provide a guarantee of payment of death benefits, are acceptable with no minimum and should be encouraged.
    6. Retirement Plans: Gifts of outright cash and marketable securities in a retirement account are encouraged and accepted. In the event closely-held stock or property other than cash or marketable securities are held in retirement accounts, the Seminary shall adhere to the policies for such assets.
    7. Other Assets and Forms Gifts May Take: Other types of gifts not mentioned in this policy may be acceptable within reason for the purposes given, and in an amount appropriate for the gift type. The Gift Acceptance Committee is expected to use fiscally and legally sound rationale for acceptance, be guided by the Asbury Seminary mission statement and defer to the Finance Team of the Board of Trustees when appropriate.
  4. Endowed Funds

    General Guidelines: Asbury Theological Seminary encourages donors to establish permanent endowed funds and allows donors to name such funds. The Seminary accepts unrestricted endowed funds, preferred use endowed funds and restricted endowed funds.

    Restricted endowments must contain the following language: "Should the provisions for the use of the income from this endowment cease to be effective or practicable, the Board of Trustees is authorized to use such income in a manner consistent with the general intent of such provisions."

    Establishing a different term of years to endow a fund is permitted when recommended by the Office of Seminary Advancement or the Office of the President and approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee.

    1. Types of Endowed Funds:

      Endowed Scholarships: Endowed scholarships may be established with a minimum gift of $25,000. Cash and cash equivalent gifts below the minimum, which are designated for scholarships, will be placed in the general scholarship fund unless the donor designates a pre-existing scholarship.

      Donors may accumulate gifts toward minimum funding of an endowed scholarship with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed scholarship agreement. Accumulations toward the minimum must be completed within five years from the date of the agreement. When accumulation is not completed, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary's general endowed scholarship fund or an appropriate designated fund.

      Scholarship payments to qualified student recipients will not be made until the minimum principal amount for the endowment has been achieved, the scholarship agreement is signed and approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee and sufficient income has been generated for distribution, which is at least one full year after the minimum principal amount has been received. Donors accumulating gifts toward minimums may provide for an annual stipend in the agreement when that stipend is supported by an annual gift.

      Scholarships may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Scholarship monies received by the Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than the required minimum funding at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary's general endowed scholarship fund, unless legally impossible, in which case the Seminary reserves the right to decline the gift.

      Scholarship agreements shall be signed by the donor and Vice President for Advancement and Communications, Vice President for Finance and Administration or the President.

      Endowed Academic Chairs: Endowed chairs may be established with a minimum funding negotiated with the Seminary as determined by the Board of Trustees, considering the purpose of the chair, the program it will support and the amount of income desired to be generated annually, but with no less than $2 million. Donors may accumulate gifts toward an endowed chair with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. The agreement must specify the date within which minimum funding must be completed. Unless otherwise specified, where accumulation is not completed within 5 years, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will remain in the Seminary's general endowment fund and be used for the program named in the endowed chair agreement while that program is extant.

      Endowed chairs may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Chair monies received by the Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than half of the fully funded amount at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary's general endowment fund and be used for the program named in the endowed chair agreement while that program is extant.

      Endowed chair agreements shall be signed by the donor and by the President and show the date on which the gift was approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee.

      Endowed Academic Programs/School: Endowed programs may be established with a minimum funding, as negotiated with the Seminary and based on the amount of income desired to be generated annually.

      Donors may accumulate gifts toward an endowed program with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. The agreement must specify the date within which minimum funding must be completed. Unless otherwise specified, where accumulation is not completed within five years, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary's general endowment fund and be used for the program named while that program is extant.

      It is preferred that endowed programs not be initiated with testamentary or planned gifts. The Seminary and donor should fund only viable programs that merit long-term endowment, and this should be done during the life of the donor. Donors are encouraged to fund endowed programs through testamentary gifts once the endowment is established. Exceptions to this policy may be reviewed by the Gift Acceptance Committee and subject to final approval by the Finance Team.

      Endowment program agreements shall be signed by the donor and by the President and show the date on which the gift was approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee.

      Other Endowed Funds: Unrestricted endowed funds, and other restricted endowed funds may be established with a minimum of $25,000.

      Donors may accumulate gifts toward minimum funding of an endowed fund with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. Accumulations toward the minimum must be completed within five years from the date of the agreement. When accumulation is not completed within the specified time period, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary's general endowment fund.

      Payments to recipient purpose/program will not be made until the minimum ($25,000) for the endowment has been received, the endowment agreement is signed and approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee, and sufficient income has been generated for distribution, which is generally at least one full year after the minimum principal amount has been received.

      Endowed funds may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Scholarship monies received by Asbury Theological Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than the required minimum funding at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary's general endowment fund, unless legally impossible. Endowed fund agreements shall be signed shall be signed by the donor and Vice President for Advancement and Communications, Vice President for Finance and Administration or the President.

  5. Designating Gifts
    1. Receipting of Cash Gifts

      Gifts of cash and marketable securities will be receipted when received according to standard IRS. Gifts of cash and marketable securities of $250 or more must be acknowledged, by receipt, in accordance with the requirements of section 170(f)(8) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

      Insurance premiums paid to the issuing firm by the donor of a Seminary-owned policy may be considered cash gifts and will be entered into the donor's record. A gift receipt need not be issued unless the premium payment is $250 or more, in which case a donor acknowledgment, meeting the requirements of section 170(f)(8) of the Internal Revenue Service Code will be issued. The Seminary will not allow charitable split dollar life insurance arrangements (i.e. personal benefit contracts).

      The funding of charitable remainder annuity trusts and charitable remainder unitrusts is the only exception to this receipting policy; however, this receipting policy does apply to the funding of charitable gift annuities and charitable lead trusts. While no receipt need be issued to the donor of a charitable remainder annuity trust or charitable remainder unitrust, the amount of the assets contributed to the trust may be recorded in the donor's gift history at the remainder interest value at the time the annuity and/or trust is funded.

    2. Restricted Current Gifts:
      1. Cash and Securities — The Seminary will accept current gifts to establish a restricted fund.
        Non-Cash Gifts — Once accepted under this policy, non-cash gifts may be restricted under the same guidelines as cash and securities. Donors must be advised before making the gift whether the gift will be sold, held for eventual use, or put to a "related use" as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.
    3. Restricted Deferred Gifts
      1. Estate/Testamentary Gifts (wills, trusts, life insurance and other instruments): The Seminary will encourage gifts of unrestricted estate distributions to the endowment fund, since specific designations may become inactive or non-existent over time. The Seminary, by review of the Gift Acceptance Committee, reserves the right to decline restricted estate gifts in collaboration with the Finance Team.

        Upon the donor's request, the Seminary will provide language to assist in establishing a restricted estate gift. The sample language may include the following: "This designation represents a preferred use for these funds and is not an absolute restriction. Should the exact designation cease to be effective or practicable before or after the gift is received by Asbury Theological Seminary, the Board of Trustees is authorized to use this gift in an alternative way consistent with the general intent of this designation."

        Gifts received where the Seminary had no prior knowledge of the amount or nature of the gift will be treated as if the language above had been included, unless legally prohibitive. These types of gifts will be placed in the unrestricted fund, if the restriction no longer exists.

      2. Other Planned Gifts (charitable remainder trusts, gift annuities, pooled income fund gifts, etc.): Gifts established through the planned giving program at Asbury Theological Seminary may be restricted with the approval of the Gift Acceptance Committee. Acceptance will rely in part on the inclusion of the language in the instrument which reads: "This designation represents a preferred use for these funds and is not an absolute restriction. Should the exact designation cease to be effective or practicable before or after the gift is received by Asbury Theological Seminary, the Board of Trustees is authorized to use this gift in an alternative way consistent with the general intent of this designation."
      3. Gifts distributed to Asbury Theological Seminary where the Seminary had no prior knowledge of the gift instrument or its restriction will be handled on a caseby- case basis. The Seminary, by review of the Gift Acceptance Committee, reserves the right to decline restricted estate gifts in collaboration with the Finance Team.
  6. Naming Opportunities
    1. Authority to Name: The Board of Trustees shall approve naming opportunities (i.e. buildings, academic chairs, etc.) that are available in acknowledgement of charitable gifts. Once those opportunities are approved, the Office of the President and the Office of Seminary Advancement are granted authority to solicit and confirm those opportunities with potential donors.
    2. Naming New Construction: Negotiations may be initiated by the Office of the President with donors who wish to name the building(s) of new construction with a current gift of at least fifty percent of the construction cost announced at the beginning of a campaign or construction project.
    3. Other: As a visible record of institutional history, the Seminary may desire to place a name on a campus building, a facility, or a special project to honor/memorialize the most significant servant leaders and donors to the Seminary.
    4. Process: When appropriate the President shall present at each annual meeting of the Board of Trustees a recommended list of current or proposed buildings, facilities or special projects appropriate for naming. The naming authority, the adoption of the recommended list, with yearly priorities, and the interpretations of the following guidelines shall be the sole responsibility of the Seminary Board of Trustees. The motion to name one of the listed projects may occur at any Board of Trustees meeting.
    5. Naming Through Planned Gifts:
      1. General Policy — Asbury Theological Seminary reserves naming opportunities for current gifts and living donors. Use of a testamentary or planned gift to name property is not preferred, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Gift Acceptance Committee.
        Unless legally impossible, the Seminary will treat testamentary or planned gifts with naming elements as a request. The Seminary will consider the request at the final distribution of the gift when the name is appropriate, and where the gift meets minimum funding for the naming opportunity at the time of distribution. The Gift Acceptance Committee in collaboration with the Finance Team reserves the right to decline gifts with naming restrictions.
      2. Campaign Policy — Donors wishing to name an opportunity during a campaign may use the present value of a planned gift only if a) the gift is established during the campaign in which planned gifts are counted, b) the gift is irrevocable, c) the Seminary is given a copy of the gift instrument, and d) the present value of the gift equals the minimum funding amount for the naming opportunity.
      3. Honorary Naming: Asbury Theological Seminary reserves the right to honor, through appropriate naming opportunities, any individual or family irrespective of the individual's or family's giving record. Such honors will generally be made after the completion of their service or posthumously, and must be recommended by the President and approved by the Board of Trustees.
  7. Policy Exceptions
    1. General Exceptions: Exceptions to this policy must receive the recommendation of the Gift Acceptance Committee, the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Advancement Team of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall be asked to ratify the Gift Acceptance Committee's recommendations at the next regular Board meeting.
    2. Exceptions for Completed Gifts and Gifts Under Negotiation: Gifts made through estate plans that have been properly executed prior to the date of this policy and gifts already received by Asbury Theological Seminary are grandfathered in under this policy.
    3. Reviewing Gifts for Conformity: Gifts established with a written agreement shall be reviewed periodically and action taken to conform the gift agreement to current law and Seminary policy when necessary or appropriate for the well-being of the Seminary. Donors are responsible for conforming gifts where the Seminary is not the trustee or gift manager.
    4. The Board of Trustees of Asbury Theological Seminary has final authority for these guidelines.
  8. Gift Acceptance Committee
    1. Members:
      • President
      • Vice President for Advancement and Communications
      • Vice President for Finance and Administration
    2. Authority to Negotiate: This Board of Trustees authorizes the following to negotiate and accept gifts on behalf of the Seminary.
      • President
      • Vice President for Advancement and Communications
      • Vice President for Finance and Administration

      The above may delegate his/her authority on a particular gift or during a particular campaign to a staff member, agent or volunteer for purposes of negotiation. The officer will assume full responsibility for the actions of the delegate. Gifts negotiated by the delegate must be in consonance with this policy, and be reviewed by the Gift Acceptance Committee prior to final acceptance.

      The Board authorizes the above persons/positions, working through the planned giving program, and any advisor or outside counsel deemed necessary, to negotiate life income gifts (i.e. charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income fund gifts, charitable gift annuities) during the life of the donor and through estate planning.

    3. Donor List Management: Donor and prospect lists and related information will be managed under the auspices of the Asbury Theological Seminary Office of Seminary Advancement. Information from these lists will be shared on a need-to-know basis with permission from the Office of the President.
    4. The Gift Acceptance Procedure: Negotiated gifts shall be submitted to the Gift Acceptance Committee for approval. The Committee shall consist of the President, the Vice President for Advancement and Communications and the Vice President for Finance and Administration. The President will serve as chairperson of the Gift Acceptance Committee, with final authority on any decisions. Decisions are to be unanimous. If not, the decision will be referred to the Advancement Team with ultimate authority resting with the Board of Trustees.

      The Vice President for Advancement and Communications shall be responsible for the committee agenda and for calling the committee to session. Anyone with authority to negotiate (including delegates) may request a session.

      The Committee shall meet before each Board of Trustees meeting and as needed to formally accept or reject negotiated gifts. They may seek the advice or input of any party they deem appropriate to make a fiscally, legally and morally sound decision.

      The Committee shall report its actions to the Advancement Team of the Board of Trustees.

      Potentially controversial gifts are to receive a recommendation for action by the Gift Acceptance Committee, to be reviewed by legal counsel, and to be deferred to the Board of Trustees for acceptance or rejection.


The material presented on this Planned Giving website is not offered as legal or tax advice.
Read full disclaimer|Sitemap|Planned Giving Content © 2017 VirtualGiving.com