Gift Policies and Procedures

Development activities will be conducted by the Colorado Humanities in accordance with the ethical standards outlined by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the operating principles of the National Endowment of the Humanities.


  • CH solicits and encourages gifts from private individuals, corporations, and foundations in order to funds programs and operations of Colorado Humanities, and CH uses such gifts to support the overall operations and programs provided to the citizens of Colorado. Gifts are welcomed by Colorado Humanities at any time, but on occasion, CH will generate specific fund-raising campaigns to better accomplish its mission and to extend services, structures, and the Colorado Humanities’ future.
  • CH allows for a variety of gift types and giving opportunities from numerous sources: private sources, memorials and honorariums, corporations, planned giving, and foundations. By the completion and signature of donation agreements, donors recognize that it will be the policy and responsibility of CH to administer said gifts according to the policies and procedures detailed below.


  • Gift: any donation given to CH. It may include, but is not limited to, cash, subscriptions, books, magazines, works of art, other property of value, marketable securities, or other planned giving.
  • Designated Use and Capital Campaign Gifts: a gift that is solicited or given for sole use on a specific campaign, program, department, or service as intended by the donor or the solicitation. These gifts are restricted use donations.
  • Unsolicited Donations: gifts that are made to the Foundation or library without the awareness of the donor’s intent to give.
  • Unrestricted Donations: all gifts that are made without restriction. It is the goal and intent of CH to grow the endowment. Designated gifts to the endowment will be treated according to the donor’s wishes. Undesignated gifts from bequests and Annual Fund balances greater than $50,000 may be endowed for the future needs of CH. However, there are occasions when an unexpected bequest is needed to fulfill more immediate operational needs and honor the donor’s interests.  Therefore the following options shall apply, as appropriate:
    • The entire gift can be placed in the Colorado Humanities Endowment and spent according to the above-mentioned spending policy.
    • A portion of the gift shall be used for an immediate need that is proposed by the Executive Director of CH with the approval of the CH Board of Directors.   The balance of the gift shall be placed into the endowment.
  • Memorial/Honorarium Donations: a gift to memorialize or honor a particular individual or individuals.
  • Corporate Matching Gift: a gift from the donor’s employer that matches the donor’s gift to CH. The donor must notify their employer of the gift and submit appropriate forms to CH to verify the gift so that the employer will pay the match. These gifts may be restricted or unrestricted.

Gift Processing Policy

All donations to Colorado Humanities are accepted by CH, a 501 c (3) organization.

  • All gifts will receive an acknowledgment letter and/or an appropriate receipt. The appropriate acknowledgment will be prepared and issued within 5 business days whenever possible.
  • Current IRS regulations require that the receipt of gifts valued at $250 or more be accompanied by a written statement from the organization confirming the donation and describing the value of services, if any, received by the donor.
  • Notice and acknowledgement may be delayed when the decision to accept the gift has been referred to the CH Board of Trustees pursuant to these guidelines.

Types of Gifts

Unrestricted Gifts

Unrestricted funds will be maintained and administered by Colorado Humanities according to the policies and procedures of the organization. They will be administered within the guidelines of CH and in accordance with needs as identified by the CH Board of Directors.

Restricted Gifts/Designated Use Gifts
Designated use funds will be maintained and administered by Colorado Humanities according to the policies and procedures of the organization. Donors wishing to place restrictions on or assign designated uses to gifts may do so under certain conditions, namely:

  • The restriction must be one considered compatible with the overall missions of CH.
  • The restriction shall not impede the ability of CH to acquire gifts from other sources.
  • The restriction shall not place undue burden upon CH resources.
  • The restriction shall not subject CH to adverse publicity.

The gift must be accompanied by a written description of the proposed amount and the proposed restrictions, generated by the donor and brought forward following the protocol provided herein.

Memorial/Honorarium Donations
Donors wishing to attribute gifts as memorials or honorariums should do so using a Donation Form. When the gift is tied to the purchase of materials, CH will direct these gifts for material purchase and donor acknowledgement. CH will maintain records of these gifts. Memorial and Honorarium gifts that are not designated for the purchase of materials will be processed according to the policies and procedures of Colorado Humanities.

CH must bring forward to the CH Board of Directors any gift that encumbers CH, financially or administratively, for their review and approval. Examples of these types of gifts include:

  • Mortgaged property
  • Tangible personal property that cannot be used or sold for the benefit of CH
  • Property that is liquid that would be difficult to sell
  • Gift annuities, and
  • Charitable Remainder or Lead trusts.

Giving Options

Outright Giving
Cash, Securities, Real Estate, etc.

Gifts of Marketable Securities (to be counted at their full fair market value)

  • CH is authorized to accept gifts of publicly traded securities.
  • The gift is considered received when the securities are transferred to CH. Unless special circumstances exist, the securities will be converted to cash as soon as economically possible.
  • The value of publicly traded securities will be determined in accordance with current Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations.

Gifts of Securities that are not readily marketable (to be counted at their full fair market value)

  • These types of gifts may include closely held stock, limited partnership interests, joint venture interests and other forms of investments that may not fall into the marketable securities category.
  • CH shall determine the advisability of accepting gifts of assets that are not readily marketable and the procedure to ensure proper transfer of ownership.
  • Valuation of these gifts will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the type and nature of the transaction. The donor is expected to provide a current appraisal of the value of any such gift prior to its acceptance by CH.

Real Estate

  • Every proposed gift of real estate must be examined on its individual merits, including, but not limited to, the title to the property and its insurability, the results of environmental investigations, and marketability.
  • A current appraisal completed by a qualified appraiser must be provided by the donor.
  • The CH staff shall make recommendation to the CH Board of Directors on whether or not to accept a gift of real estate. Upon majority confirmation of the decision by the Board, the real estate would become the property of Colorado Humanities.

Gifts of Tangible Personal Property

  • Typical examples of tangible personal property include, but are not limited to, old and rare books, artwork, artifacts, literary collections, photographs, antiques, jewelry, automobiles, etc.
  • Once a gift is accepted by CH, it becomes the property of CH to be used or disposed of in accordance with the policies established herein. Gifts of personal property or gifts-in-kind may be accepted based upon their marketability and/or their potential use for the Foundation’s stated purposes. Colorado Humanities reserves the right to apply in-kind or tangible property gifts to campaigns or programs as appropriate.
  • The valuation of gifts of tangible personal property and gifts-in-kind for the donor's tax purposes shall be the responsibility of the donor and not of CH.


  • Proposals for in-kind gifts shall be developed and managed by the appropriate department within CH with the assistance of CH to ensure accurate language, current facts, and consistency of presentation. Copies of correspondence and agreements pertaining to in-kind gifts should be provided to CH for appropriate recording and recognition.
  • Typical examples of gifts-in-kind include, but are not limited to, computer software and hardware, office furniture, construction materials, food and beverage, etc.

Gifts of Books and Related Materials

  • CH will maintain responsibility for gifts of books and related materials.

Planned GivingDonor’s Interest and Legal Position

  • In seeking planned giving arrangements, CH and its representatives shall, to the best of their ability, work with the donor and the donor’s advisors to achieve a result that is in the donor’s interest.
  • The Executive Officer and members of the Investment Committee are the only CH representatives authorized to negotiate planned giving agreements on behalf of CH, provided however, that final approval of any such agreements shall require the approval of a majority of the Board of Directors.
  • Prospective donors shall be encouraged in correspondence, printed brochures, and conversations to seek their own legal or tax counsel. The donor shall also be informed that all legal interpretations, advice, and tax deductions shall be based on information obtained from the donor's own counsel. Neither the staff nor any representative of CH shall provide legal or tax advice to a prospective donor, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Board of Directors.

Trusts and Wills

  • Notification of naming Colorado Humanities as a beneficiary in a will or in a trust shall be directed to the Executive Director. Gifts from wills or trusts may be accepted, based upon the gifts’ marketability and/or their potential use for Colorado Humanities stated purposes. The same policies for cash, securities, real estate, and tangible personal property as described in the previous categories will be applied.
  • In the case of a non-cash gift from an estate or trust, whenever possible, the personal representative of the estate or the trustee of the trust will be asked to sell the property and remit the proceeds instead of distributing the non-cash gift to CH. However, when it is economically advantageous for CH to accept a non-cash gift from an estate or trust, CH reserves the right to accept such gifts. Distributions from estates and trusts will be counted toward fund balances (designated or unrestricted) when the distribution is actually received by CH.

Other Planned Giving Arrangements
Irrevocable gifts through the following vehicles shall be counted toward fund-raising goals at their value as computed from appropriate U.S. Treasury Department and actuarial tables. Such gifts represent alternative ways of giving which are ideally suited to many donors and, in many cases, enables donors to consider a larger contribution.

  • Charitable Gift Annuity and Remainder Trusts: Donor irrevocably transfers assets to CH under a charitable gift annuity or remainder trust arrangement, formalized by a contract, in exchange for payments (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) for life. The payments are a set or variable amount and may begin in the year of the gift or may be deferred to later years, in accordance with the current regulations and rules of the IRS.
  • Life Estate Contracts: Individuals may choose to give their homes to CH, while retaining a lifetime interest in living in the home. The donor receives a charitable deduction, which may increase the donor’s ability to make an additional cash pledge to Colorado Humanities. The donor remains responsible for all taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs for the home.
  • Life Insurance Policies: Gifts of paid-up life insurance policies may be made by assigning ownership of the policy to CH. When a policy that is not paid up is donated, the cash surrender value of the policy will be considered the value of the gift. Subsequent payments of appropriate premiums by the donor will be added to the value assigned to this gift. In the event that the donor discontinues premium payments, the value of the policy as of that date will be credited to the donor.
  • Charitable Lead Trust: Gifts whereby Colorado Humanities will receive income from a trust arrangement for a term of years will be valued commensurate with the present value of the income, discounted in accordance with appropriate U.S. Treasury Department tables.
  • Other planned giving arrangements shall be examined, where appropriate, using the same criteria utilized in determining whether they shall count in fund-raising totals. Normally, revocable planned gifts shall not count in fund-raising totals except to the extent that the library immediately benefits.

CH will record and recognize pledges when an official pledge form is completed, signed by the donor, and received by Colorado Humanities. Because of the construction time frame for capital projects, and project time frame for certain programs and services, contributors will be encouraged to make gifts payable over a specified time period as dictated by the specific project.

Matching Gifts

  • CH encourages matching gifts from organizations. Colorado Humanities will comply with the process required by the organization’s matching gift program for the application, reporting, and management of such gifts. Individuals
  • CH will credit the full amount of the matched gift from the employer to the individual making the original gift in terms of recognition and acknowledgment. An employer’s matching gift will not be counted as a payment toward a separate organizational commitment from the employer as contracted with CH.

Foundation and Corporate Funding

  • Colorado Humanities development staff or assignees will work writing proposals to foundations or corporations/businesses requesting funds to support CH programs and initiatives, to prevent having foundations or businesses approached multiple times by various CH staff for various CH programs and to maintain the quality and consistency of requests.
  • CH development staff will manage, write or assist in writing proposals to foundations and/or corporations and businesses to request these funds. Library personnel intending to write proposals may request the assistance of the Foundation following the policies and procedures found herein. Library personnel writing proposals must inform the Foundation of all requests to ensure that proper documentation and acknowledgement are made.

Donor Rights, Recognitions, and Benefits

All donations to CH will be recognized in an appropriate manner. Recognition and benefits may include, but are not limited to, recognition in CH publications, website, special plaques, assignment of named gift opportunities, and donor recognition events. When a donor makes a pledge commitment to a particular campaign, CH will work with the donor to finalize the specific recognition for the gift.

Colorado Humanities adheres to the following rights listed in the "Donor Bill of Rights" developed by the American Association of Fund Raising Council (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE):

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 purposes.
  • 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 responsibilities.
  • To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.
  • To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  • To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  • To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  • To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers of the organization or hired solicitors.
  • 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.

Gift Processing Procedures

Receipt of Gifts
All monetary gifts to Colorado Humanities should be forwarded immediately to the Development Officer, where the appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the gift is recorded, acknowledged, then returned and processed by the Director of Operations. Complete paperwork should accompany all donations.

Cash, Check or Credit Card Gifts

  • If a donation comes in through the mail, the gift should be copied and forwarded directly to Development Director. When a donor gives a cash donation to a CH staff member, the staff member should completely fill out a Donation Form and give the original to the donor and keep the final copy for CH administrator’s records.
  • The Director of Operations will record the gift, send an appropriate acknowledgement of the gift, and will then forward a copy of the acknowledgement to the Director of Development.
  • Donors may ask to have their credit cards charged for their gift. The donation form is to be completed in the same manner and forwarded to the appropriate departments.

Honorarium/Memorial Donations
Donors who would like to make a needed purchase for CH to honor or memorialize another individual or entity should be directed to the Director of Development. Management will:

  • order the item to the specifications of the donor (subject, price range, etc.)
  • send a thank you note and notification to the donor when it is ordered
  • send acknowledgement of the gift to the memorialized/honored person’s family or person indicated by the donor
  • plate the item to the donor’s specifications
  • hold the book/or other item when it arrives for the donor or the one who has been honored
  • send a notification to the donor with a bill for the item.
  • fill out a donation form and forward the appropriate copies to the Director of Operations.

Materials Donations (books, etc.)

  • Donations will be managed by CH according to its policy and procedures.

Property Donations (other than books and related materials)

  • If a donor wants to offer a donation of a work of art or archival materials, they should be directed to the Development Staff. If the donor insists on leaving the donation of property, then the Development staff members should inform the donor that all gifts of tangible property are considered as irrevocable and unconditional gifts to be used at the Colorado Humanities discretion. Staff members should ask the donor to review the disclaimer on the Donation Form and sign it to show they have read and understand Colorado Humanities policy on donations.
  • The staff member receiving the materials should fill out a Donation Form in its entirety and give the original copy to the donor and keep the final copy for Administrative and Development records. The Foundation will record the gift, send an appropriate acknowledgement of the gift, and will then forward a copy of the form to the Director of Operations.

Donations for the Friends of CH

  • Cash gifts received by any CH staff member that are from the Friends of the Humanities should be forwarded to the attention of the Executive Director who will acknowledge and record the gift.

Recording and Acknowledgement of Gifts

Colorado Humanities will record and acknowledge all gifts and provide the appropriate information to CH development and administration.

Thank You Letters and Receipts

  • Departments or branches receiving gifts should send thank you letters upon receipt of any gift.
  • Thank you letters will be sent by CH within 5 business days of receipt of the gift whenever possible.
  • Tax Receipts will be issued by the Operations Office for all designated use gifts and all other gifts of $250 or more.
  • All gifts to the Development staff will be recognized as appropriate in CH publications unless otherwise stipulated by the donor.
  • The following forms of recognition will apply to specific types of gifts:
Type of Gift Recognition
Gifts or Pledges to Established Campaigns
  • Thank you letter.
  • Major Gifts, as designated in a particular established campaign, may be recognized with a particular named gift opportunity as designed for the particular campaign.
  • Named Gift Opportunities will be designated on appropriate plaques, as well as some type of commemorative gift for the donor (i.e. a small plaque or certificate for their home or office).
  • Gifts below the Major Gifts level will be recognized in some other fashion (i.e. a plaque with all donor names, brick walkway, etc.).
Gift for Program
  • Thank you letter from Development.
  • Thank you letter from CH.
  • Gifts of $500 or more will be recognized in CH promotional materials as appropriate.
Tangible Personal Property or In-Kind Contributions
  • Thank you letter from Development.
  • Donations of Materials valuing more than $500 that will be recognized in CH promotional materials as appropriate.
Memorial/Honorarium Donations
(Designated and Undesignated)
  • Thank you letter from CH.
  • Recognition of the gift will be acknowledged immediately to the designated person memorialized or honored or their representative.
Sponsorships or “Give Away” Donations
  • As appropriate, the manager in charge of an event or program soliciting sponsorships or “giveaways” will send a thank you letter.
  • The same rules as for cash donation levels will apply for sending a thank you letter from Development.
  • These gifts will be recognized in CH promotional materials as appropriate.

Procedures for Requesting Funds From Outside Sources

Any request for funding and in-kind donations should be coordinated by the Development Staff to ensure proper representation of the District and to avoid conflict with other existing or potential asks. In addition, Development will offer advice on the approach for funding, as well as ensure that a consistent, professional proposal is submitted for the consideration of the potential donor.

Approval of Project
CH satellite programs interested in raising funds for a particular project should follow the Requisition policies and procedures process as defined by CH and coordinate with CH Development.

Grant Writing (Corporate or Foundation)
The Development staff will consult on the development of grant proposals and the management of grants for projects according to Requisition policies and procedures.

Project Sponsorship or In-kind Support
Colorado will consult on the development of prospect lists, proposal letters, follow-up, and recognition for projects identified by friends of CH guided by Requisition policies and procedures.