The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), a nationwide nonprofit organization headquartered in Baltimore, MD, encourages the solicitation and acceptance of gifts for purposes that will help NFB further and fulfill its mission. The following policies and guidelines govern acceptance and recognition of gifts made to the NFB, whether gifted generally or as part of a specific campaign.
I. Purpose of Policies and Procedures
The purpose of this document is to set forth the criteria that NFB uses to determine that a proposed gift is acceptable and to inform prospective donors and their advisors of the types of gifts NFB accepts. These policies also inform donors as to policies regarding the recognition of gifts. While these guidelines establish best practices, they are designed to provide flexibility.
II. Use of Legal Counsel
NFB seeks the advice of legal counsel as appropriate on matters relating to acceptance and recognition of gifts. Review by legal counsel is usually sought in connection with:
- Closely held stock transfers that are subject to restrictions or buy-sell agreements
- Documents naming NFB as Trustee
- Gifts involving contracts, such as bargain sales or other documents requiring NFB to assume a legal obligation
- Gifts of patents and intellectual property
- Transactions with a potential conflict of interest that may invoke IRS sanctions
- Other instances in which use of counsel is deemed appropriate by NFB’s President
III. Communications with Donors
IV. Conflict of Interest
NFB does not provide personal legal, financial, or other professional advice to donors or prospective donors. Donors and prospective donors are strongly urged to seek the assistance of their own professional advisors in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate planning consequences.
V. Restrictions on Gifts
Unrestricted gifts and gifts for specific programs and purposes may be accepted, provided they are consistent with NFB’s mission, purposes, and priorities. NFB will not accept gifts that are inconsistent with its mission, purposes, or priorities or are judged too difficult to administer. NFB cannot accept overly restrictive gifts, and as a result urges supporters to consider less restrictive and unrestricted gifts. NFB will consider long-term administration of gifts in accepting restricted gifts and prefers flexibility in gifts. NFB urges restricted gifts to be worded with the future in mind. For example, NFB will urge broader categorization such as “educational purposes” rather than specific programming such as “STEM 2U.” NFB neither accepts gifts of time shares nor offers charitable annuities. NFB also does not accept gifts of occupied property.
VI. The Gift Exceptions Committee of NFB
At the direction of the President, the Gift Exceptions Committee may review non-marketable gifts to NFB. A non-marketable gift is any gift that cannot be readily converted into a liquid asset. The President has the authority to make or withdraw any appointment to this committee at any time. The committee is responsible for reviewing these policies and procedures as needed to ensure they remain consistent with applicable laws and the programs of NFB.
VII. Types of Gifts
A. The following gifts may be considered for acceptance by NFB:
- Tangible personal property, including in-kind gifts
- Real estate
- Remainder interests in property
- Oil, gas, and mineral interests
- Bargain sales
- Life insurance policies
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Revocable trust agreements
- Charitable lead trusts
- Retirement plan beneficiary designations
- Life insurance beneficiary designations
- Intellectual property rights
B. The following criteria apply to the acceptance of gifts in these categories:
- Cash: Cash may be accepted in any negotiable form. Checks must be made payable to NFB or National Federation of the Blind and should be delivered to 200 East Wells at Jernigan Place Baltimore, MD 21230.
- Tangible Personal Property: NFB will accept tangible personal property gifts if the gift will generate adequate revenue for the organization and meet the purposes for which the gift is intended. In assessing the appropriateness of the gift, NFB should address the following questions:
- Is the property marketable? What is the market for and costs of transportation to market and sale?
- Are there any undue restrictions on the use, display, or sale of the property?
- Are there any carrying costs (insurance, storage, ongoing maintenance) for the property?
- Is title unencumbered?
- Securities: NFB can accept both publicly traded securities and closely held securities.
- Publicly Traded Securities: Marketable securities will be transferred to an account maintained at one or more brokerage firms or delivered physically with the transferor’s signature or stock power attached. As a general rule, marketable securities will be sold upon receipt unless otherwise directed by the President. In some cases, marketable securities may be restricted by applicable securities laws; in such instance, the final determination on the acceptance of the restricted securities may be made by the President or Gift Exceptions Committee of NFB.
- Options and Other Rights in Securities: The following questions apply to acceptance of warrants, stock options, and stock appreciation rights:
- Is NFB required to advance funds upon exercise of the gift? If so, does NFB have the required funds?
- Is NFB at risk of loss of funds in accepting the gift?
- Are the rights restricted? And if so, does the restriction affect the ability of NFB to dispose of the asset?
- Does the restriction materially impact the value of the gift to NFB?
- Will acceptance of the gift and/or exercise of the option trigger any tax consequences to the donor?
- Closely Held Securities: Proposed gifts of closely held securities, which include not only debt and equity positions in non-publicly traded companies but also interests in LLPs and LLCs or other ownership forms, will be reviewed by addressing the following questions:
- What type of entity is represented by the gift? (For example, C Corporation, S Corporation, LLC, LLP.)
- Will the security generate unrelated business taxable income to NFB? If so, does NFB have the funds to pay this tax?
- Will the gift trigger any negative tax consequences to the donor? If the donor is unsure, please advise him to talk with his accountant.
- Are there restrictions on the security that would prevent NFB from ultimately converting those assets to cash?
- How does the company operate? Does its operation of the gift interest create liability for NFB?
- Is the security marketable? If so, what is the market for sale and estimated time required for sale?
If potential problems arise on initial review of the security, further review and recommendations may be sought from an outside professional before deciding whether to accept the gift. Every effort will be made to sell non-marketable securities as quickly as possible.
4. Real Estate: NFB will consider real property gifts. Gifts of real estate may include developed property, undeveloped property, or gifts subject to a prior life interest. Prior to acceptance of real estate, NFB requires an initial environmental review of the property to ensure that the property is free of environmental damage. In the event that the initial inspection reveals a potential problem, NFB may retain a qualified inspection firm to conduct an environmental audit. The prospective donor must bear the cost of the initial environmental review and any subsequent environmental audit. When appropriate, a title binder shall be obtained by NFB prior to acceptance of the real property gift. The cost of the title binder will be borne by the donor. NFB does not accept gifts of occupied property. The following criteria applies to gifts of real estate:
- Is the property useful for the purposes of NFB?
- Is the property marketable?
- Are there any restrictions, reservations, easements, or other limitations associated with the property?
- Are there carrying costs, which may include insurance, property taxes, mortgages, or notes, etc., associated with the property?
- Does the audit reflect that the property is free of environmental damage?
5. Remainder Interests in Property: NFB may accept a remainder interest in a personal residence, farm, or other property. At the death of the life tenants, NFB may use the property or reduce it to cash. When NFB receives a gift of a remainder interest, expenses for maintenance, real estate taxes, and any property indebtedness will be paid by the donor, estate, or primary beneficiary.
6. Oil, Gas, and Mineral Interests: NFB may accept oil, gas, or mineral interests, when appropriate. In accepting oil, gas, or mineral interests, NFB will determine whether the following criteria have been met:
- Gifts of surface rights should have a value of $20,000 or greater.
- Gifts of oil, gas, and mineral interests should generate at least $3,000 per year in royalties or other income (as determined by the average of the three years prior to the gift).
- The property should not have extended liabilities or other considerations that make receipt of the gift inappropriate.
- A working interest is rarely accepted. A working interest may only be accepted when there is a plan to minimize potential liability and tax consequences.
- The property must undergo an environmental review to ensure that NFB has no current or potential exposure to environmental liability. The cost of the environmental review must be borne by the donor.
7. Bargain Sales: NFB may enter into a bargain sale arrangement in instances where the bargain sale furthers the mission and purposes of NFB. All bargain sales must be reviewed and recommended by the President or Gift Exceptions Committee of NFB. In determining the appropriateness of the transaction, NFB will consider whether:
- The value of the property has been substantiated by an independent appraisal;
- Any debt ration assumed with the property is less than 50% of the appraised market value;
- NFB will use the property, or there is a market for sale of the property allowing sale within twelve months of receipt;
- The costs to safeguard, insure, and expense the property (including property tax, if applicable) during the holding period have been determined.
8. Life Insurance Policies: NFB must be named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of an insurance policy before a life insurance policy can be recorded as a gift. If the donor contributes future premium payments, NFB will include the entire amount of the additional premium payment as a gift in the year that it is made. If the donor does not elect to continue to make gifts to cover premium payments on the life insurance policy, NFB may:
- Continue to pay the premiums,
- Convert the policy to paid up insurance, or
- Surrender the policy for its current cash value,
Once the policy is accepted, life insurance holdings will be reviewed periodically to determine whether it is best to continue to pay the premiums, convert the policy to paid up insurance, surrender the policy for its current cash value, or change the underlying investment structure.
9. Charitable Remainder Trusts: NFB encourages its donors to name the organization as a remainder beneficiary of a charitable remainder trust and will work with its donors to structure such agreements. However, NFB will not serve as trustee of a charitable remainder trust and will instead encourage the donor to use a professional fiduciary.
10. Revocable Trust Agreements: NFB encourages its donors to name the organization as a beneficiary of all or a portion of a revocable trust agreement. However, NFB will not serve as trustee of a revocable trust agreement and will instead encourage the donor to use a professional fiduciary.
11. Charitable Lead Trusts: NFB may accept a designation as income beneficiary of a charitable lead trust. NFB will not accept an appointment as trustee of a charitable lead trust.
12. Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations: Donors and supporters of NFB will be encouraged to name NFB as beneficiary of their retirement plans. Such designations will not be recorded as gifts to NFB until such time as the gift is irrevocable.
13. Bequests: Donors and supporters of NFB will be encouraged to make bequests to NFB under their wills and trusts. Such bequests will not be recorded as gifts to NFB until such time as the gift is irrevocable.
14. Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations: Donors and supporters of NFB will be encouraged to name NFB as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of their life insurance policies. Such designations shall not be recorded as gifts to NFB until such time as the gift is irrevocable.
15. Intellectual Property Rights: Intellectual property rights, which include royalties, patents, copyrights, contract rights, or other similar interests, will be examined in light of the following criteria:
- Is the intellectual property right related to the mission of NFB?
- Can the ownership of the intellectual property right be clearly transferred or assigned to NFB?
- Is the intellectual property right a full or fractional interest?
- If fractional, who are the other owners of the property and percentage interests? Is the gift deductible to the donor under the IRS partial interest gift rules?
- Does the right in the intellectual property generate, or have the potential to generate, at least $5,000 or more each year?
- Is there a market for the sale or licensing of the intellectual property right?
- Are there any costs associated with acceptance of the intellectual property right? (i.e., is the gift a patent application that will require further action to secure, are there any claims, liens, or other contests associated with the property, or are there likely to be costs associated with defending the intellectual property right?)
- Are there any restrictions on the retention or use of the property?
- What agreements or other legal documents would NFB be required to execute in order to obtain patents, market the property, and grant licenses in the name of NFB?
VIII. Miscellaneous Gift Acceptance Policies
A. Securing Appraisals and Legal Fees for Gifts to NFB
It will be the responsibility of the donor to secure an appraisal (where required) and the advice of independent legal, financial, or other professional advisers as needed for all gifts made to NFB.
B. Proof of Ownership
It will be the responsibility of the donor to secure proof of clear title without indebtedness for gifts to NFB.
NFB will not accept gifts where NFB would become a lessor.
D. Valuation of Gifts for Development Purposes
NFB will record a gift received by NFB at its valuation for gift purposes on the date of gift.
E. Refusal of Gifts
NFB may refuse any gift if NFB determines that the gift is inconsistent with NFB’s purpose, mission, financial strategy, or goals. NFB may refuse any gift that NFB determines may harm NFB’s brand name or reputation.
IX. Gift Recognition Policies
A. Naming and Dedications
Larger gifts may be recognized with naming opportunities for physical spaces or special programs. Donors may choose their own name or honoree that is consistent with NFB’s mission. Some gifts will be recognized with a dedicated physical space. Dedications are offered when NFB has a named space and wishes to recognize a donor without conferring naming opportunities for that physical space.
B. Naming and Dedications Conferred When
In general, naming and dedication opportunities are conferred after receipt of contributions. For scholarships and programs, full funding on an annual basis may confer naming or dedication opportunities.
C. Funding for Programs and Scholarships
To fully-fund a scholarship, all of the following must be funded in the same year:
- The face amount of the scholarship,
- The cost of convention attendance for the scholarship finalist, and
- Administrative costs to NFB.
To fully fund a program, the following funds must be received:
- Funds sufficient to conduct the program, and
- Administrative costs to NFB.
From time to time, the NFB may dedicate physical spaces in recognition of donors. Dedications are offered when NFB has named space and wishes to recognize a donor without conferring naming opportunities for that physical space.
- Dedication Designee: Donors may elect to designate a dedication in their own name or designate a dedication “in honor of” or “in memory of” another person or persons.
- The President determines the duration of dedications. Generally, the duration of a dedication is for ten years, but dedication duration may be extended for a longer time by the President.
E. Naming Opportunities
From time to time NFB may offer donors naming opportunities with respect to physical spaces, programs, scholarships, and the like.
- Names: Donors and NFB will work to determine acceptable names. Donors may use their own names and may add “in honor of” or “in memory of” with another’s name. Donors and NFB may agree upon a different name consistent with NFB’s mission.
- Duration: The President determines the duration of naming opportunities.
- Physical Spaces: Physical space naming opportunities shall be for an initial period not to exceed ten years but may be extended at the discretion of the President.
F. Change of Name or Dedication Designation
If a donor requests a change of name or dedication designee after NFB has recognized and acted upon a name or dedication that was initially selected, the donor requesting the change shall reimburse NFB for any costs incurred in honoring the donor’s request for change. Changes shall be considered for life events such as marriage.
NFB may request a change because the original use of the space has changed, to reflect a change in circumstance, to protect NFB’s reputation, or the like. If NFB requests a change, NFB will work with the donor or the donor’s estate to the extent practicable to agree upon a new name or to select a different recognition opportunity.
G. Activation of Naming Opportunity or Dedication
Naming opportunities and dedications become active after a gift is received.
H. Revocation of Naming Opportunity or Dedication
NFB may revoke a naming opportunity or dedication without reimbursement of the original gift if NFB determines that its association with the donor, the donor’s designee, or the gift will materially damage the reputation of NFB.
The donor may request a revocation of a naming opportunity or dedication at any time. If a donor requests revocation, the donor shall pay any costs associated with effectuating the donor’s request.
(Revised March 2020)