The Importance of a Gift Acceptance Policy for an FQHC - Part 1 (Scope and Purpose)

FQHC Associates is often asked about the role private philanthropy can play in the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) arena.  Traditionally, FQHCs have two main sources of revenue: federal grants and patient service fee revenue.  Although many FQHCs maintain fundraising as a revenue stream, they can be hesitant to pursue larger estate gifts, restricted gifts or gifts of complex assets.  These charitable gifts, whether current or planned (e.g. a gift from the donor’s estate) can further diversify a center’s revenue stream.  However, if the FQHC is not careful, that surprise gift that looks like a “game changer” can also be a hindrance to the organization’s mission.  That is why a strong gift acceptance policy is crucial.

A gift acceptance policy is not only used to assist the staff and Board in the decision making process, it is also shared with donors and their professional advisors.   A clear and transparent gift policy will eliminate any surprises about the process.

In the next few posts, I will discuss the various components of a strong gift acceptance policy. Today we will focus on setting the policy’s Scope and Purpose.

The first step in developing a strong gift acceptance policy is defining Scope and Purpose.  It should be clear that the policy is in place to maximize the benefits to both the FQHC and donor. The FQHC needs to encourage charitable giving, without encumbering itself with gifts that generate more cost than benefit.  

This section of the policy should state the following:

  1. The policy is designed to protect the charitable interests of the FQHC as well as the donor.
  2. Gifts will be evaluated to insure the FQHC will not be encumbered with restrictions that may generate more cost than benefit.
  3. Gifts must fall within the mission of the organization, regardless of the charitable intent.
  4. Acknowledge that many gifts are complex and the organization only accepts these after after careful consideration and due process.
  5. Gifts must comply with all federal, state and local laws.
  6. Indicate that you follow the Donors Bill of Rights as developed by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Association of Fundraising Professionals and other philanthropic support agencies. 

In future blogs, I will be discussing additional components of a strong gift acceptance policy.  In the meantime, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me at bfranz@fqhc.org.


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Bill Franz, Senior Consultant at FQHC Associates, is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of nonprofit experience. His areas of expertise include finance, accounting, operations, information technology and strategic planning. Bill is a motivated leader who has the ability to see the long-term potential of an organization, develop creative approaches to challenges and find tactical solutions to move an organization forward both strategically and operationally.

Read more about Bill here.

To contact Bill, email him at BFranz@FQHC.org.

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