Gift Acceptance Policy

1 - Purpose

United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC) is a charitable organization that works closely with its members to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our communities.

The gift acceptance policy outlines how UWCC engages with and stewards its donors by ensuring the donor’s interests are protected and that those interests and the related benefits and limitations are the primary concern in the review and implementation of any gift plan. The policy outlines the acceptance and decision- making criteria to adhere to when considering and/or accepting donations to UWCC in alignment with our mission and vision.

This policy is intended to ensure that UWCC fundraising activities meet the Association of Fundraising Professionals Donor Bill of Rights (see Appendix A) and best standards in the charitable sector so that public trust in the excellence and integrity of UWCC is maintained.

2 - Scope

This policy applies to all prospective and current donors contributing to UWCC.

UWCC staff, board members and other volunteers can reference the contents of this document as appropriate when responding to gift acceptance inquiries from donors.

3 - Responsibility

The UWCC Board of Directors is responsible for approving the Gift Acceptance Policy. The Vice-President, Fundraising & Partnerships is the Executive Champion and responsible for developing, maintaining, monitoring and implementing the policy as deemed necessary.

4 - Policy and Procedure

Gifts Accepted
UWCC accepts the following types of gifts:
  • Cash (cheque, credit card, electronic fund transfer, wire transfer, donations via Third Party Platforms)
In addition to outright gifts of cash, UWCC may also accept the following planned gifts vehicles that are acceptable to Canada Revenue Agency including:
  • Bequests
  • Publicly Traded Securities
  • Life Insurance policies
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Gifts of Real Estate
  • Gifts of Remainder Interests in Property
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Gifts of Shares in Private Companies & Other Business Interests
  • Digital currencies and digital assets
As the national office of a federated organization, UWCC is in the unique position to facilitate certain designations to local United Way Centraides (UWCs). These gifts will be reviewed by the Vice-President, Fundraising & Partnerships on a case-by-case basis.

501(C)(3) status
UWCC also possesses 501(C)(3) status which enables the national office to issue official donation receipts recognized by the government of the United States. UWCC may be contacted by U.S-based donors to have their gifts processed by UWCC and designated outward. In such circumstances, UWCC will only accept gifts intended to be designated to UWCC or local UWCs.

U.S. based donations are only accepted when intended for the general use and control of UWCC or a UWC. Donations intended for third-party organizations will not be accepted given that UWCC cannot certify the good standing and authenticity of organizations outside our Movement, and as it is not part of UWCC’s mandate to act as a gift processing platform.

The National Board authorizes the President and CEO or their delegate to negotiate gifts and create gift agreements with prospective donors, and as such final approval of any gift agreements or negotiations rests with them.

The Resource Development team is responsible for developing gift agreements alongside prospective donors with the approval of the Vice-President, Fundraising & Partnerships.

Gift agreements are signed by one of either the Chief Operating Officer or the VP, Fundraising & Partnerships.

The following gifts, whether outright or deferred, must be reviewed and approved by the Chief Operating Officer, or his/her designate:
  • Gifts of real estate,
  • Shares in privately-owned companies,
  • Property interests not readily negotiable or valued such as art or other valuable Gifts-In-Kind.
Any gifts entailing potential material financial liability, reputational risk or placing unusual conditions on UWCC must be referred directly to the Board for approval as necessary. This can also include instances where donors may make gifts to UWCC that have aspects or characteristics that do not conform with other current policies—for example, the UWCC investment policy. The President and CEO may, at their discretion, bring to the Board other gift agreements, or proposals, as appropriate, or as required by other UWCC policies.

Case by case decisions will not be considered as setting precedent for the next occasion. Outright gifts of cash, publicly traded securities, gifts-in-kind, gifts-in-purchase-discount, bequests, life insurance, reinsured gift annuities, gifts of retirement benefits, residual interest gifts, charitable remainder trusts, and realized estates do not require approval by the Board.

Gift Valuation
Documentation of gifts which are not readily valued must be prepared before acceptance. Relevant information shall be obtained and reviewed, including a copy of any appraisal by an independent qualified appraiser(s) secured by the donor, according to Canada Revenue Agency guidelines. The responsibility for fees will be determined by the President and CEO. It is UWCC’s general practice to have the donor pay for appraisals. UWCC reserves the right to secure and rely on its own appraisal.

Asset Management
All assets held by UWCC are managed in accordance with policies established and approved by the Board.

Responsibility to Donors
UWCC has an ethical responsibility to the donor. Accordingly, professional staff, volunteers and members of the Board will adhere to the following principles, in addition to those outlined in the Donor Bill of Rights (see Appendix A) :

  1. Conflict of Interest:

    In all matters involving the donor, the interest and well-being of the donor must take priority. In cases of potential conflict of interest those acting on behalf of UWCC must declare the conflict and allow an impartial individual to act for UWCC. A conflict of interest is deemed to occur when individuals who present themselves as representatives of UWCC attempt to sell their own product to the donor; however, if the individuals present themselves as representatives of an outside firm and part of their financial counseling involves arranging planned gifts for UWCC, no conflict would exist.
    Further, all matters related to this Gift Acceptance Policy must adhere to UWCC’s Conflict of Interest Policy.

  2. Legal and Other Professional Counsel:

    UWCC staff and members of the Board shall in all cases encourage the donor to discuss proposed gifts with an independent financial planner, legal adviser and/or tax adviser of the donor’s choice and at the donor’s expense, to ensure that the donor receives a full and accurate explanation of all aspects of the proposed charitable gift. In some cases, UWCC may decline a gift if the donor has not obtained independent advice.

    As a service to the donor, UWCC may draft the gift agreement or assist the donor in drafting such document. In these cases, UWCC will accept the responsibility for the fees incurred by its own legal counsel if needed. If a potential conflict of interest exists, UWCC’s legal counsel shall declare such conflict to the donor before proceeding.

    In the case of instruments drafted solely by the donor’s lawyer, UWCC counsel may review such documents before they are accepted.

  3. Ethics:

    All staff, volunteers and members of the Board will conduct themselves in accordance with accepted professional standards of accuracy, truth and integrity. They will inform, serve, guide and otherwise assist donors who wish to support UWCC’s activities but not pressure or unduly persuade.

  4. Direction of Gifts

    All donors can request to have their gift fully expended and can direct their gift to a specific project. The use of the gift may affect whether it can be expended. On rare occasions, a gift may be declined as a result of the restrictions on the gift.

  5. Documentation:

    UWCC will develop guidelines for documentation of gifts and their designation to ensure that the donor’s wishes are articulated and met. This would usually be done through a gift agreement with the donor.

As a charitable organization under the Income Tax Act, UWCC may issue official charitable donation receipts which the donor/taxpayer may use to claim a non-refundable tax credit.

To be eligible for an official receipt the gift must be received and not merely pledged.

Gifts not eligible for receipting include:
  • gifts of professional or personal services of an individual
  • gifts by a company of its principal product or service. Such gifts are considered promotional expenses rather than charitable donations under the Income Tax
  • donations of old clothes, furniture, home baking or other such gifts in
  • a payment for a lottery ticket or other chance to win a prize is not a gift.
Declined Gifts
UWCC works with donors to facilitate their efforts to support the organization’s work. However, there may be circumstances where it is not reasonable, possible, appropriate, or in the best interest of the organization to accept a gift.

A gift to UWCC may be declined or returned for reasons including, but not limited to, the following circumstances:
  • The gift does not accord with UWCC’s charitable
  • The gift exposes UWCC to liability or unacceptable
  • The gift is designated and fulfilling the donor’s expectations would require other resources that are unavailable or
  • The gift is designated and is intended to support programs or activities peripheral to UWCC’s mission.
  • The gift could injure UWCC’s reputation or public image or would generate such controversy as to defeat the purpose to be
  • The gift may have come from illegal
  • The fair market value of the gift cannot be
  • The gift will be difficult to
Prohibited or Unacceptable Gifts
As a matter of principle, UWCC will not engage in any of the following practices:
  • Accepting gifts that violate federal, provincial or municipal
  • Accepting gifts that require UWCC to provide special consideration for the donor or designate that UWCC is not capable of honouring or that is inconsistent with our donor stewardship or recognition
  • Accepting gifts that require UWCC to deviate from its normal hiring and promotion and contracting
  • Accepting gifts that violate the Human Rights Code or UWCC’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Indigenous Collaboration (IC).
  • The gift does not comply with the Canada Income Tax Act and CRA guidelines.
Alignment of UWCC policies:
  • Fundraising Policy
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • DEI & IC Policy

6 - Footnotes

  1. Primary Audience: UWCC Staff and Volunteers
  2. Created & Partnerships: Executive Champion: VP, Fundraising
  3. Approver: Board of Directors

Review Process

  1. Frequency: Every 5 years
  2. Reviewer: Governance Committee
  3. Approved date: April 13, 2023
  4. Date of Next Review: April 13, 2028

Appendix A: AFP Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
  • To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended
  • To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship
  • To have access to the organization's most recent financial
  • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were
  • To receive appropriate acknowledgement and
  • To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by
  • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in
  • To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired
  • To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  • To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers