National Standard 16: Board and Staff Honors Donor Intent and the Law

A community foundation honors the charitable intentions of its donors, consistent with community needs, and maintains a balance between donor involvement and governing board control, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Key Elements 

16.1Do you keep records that are used by your community foundation to provide your staff and board with understanding of the donor’s intent for each executed fund agreement or gift instrument (this can be notes or addendums in your donor file)?

16.2 Please select all of the ways that your community foundation demonstrates understanding of donor intent:

  • Periodically reviews gift agreements with living donors to determine if permitted changes are necessary such as succession planning for donor advised funds and clarifying the purpose of a fund
  • Keeps records of planning conversations and donor conversations
  • Maintains internal documents showing discussion of donor intent when making grants from the fund such as board minutes or the materials provided to the board for grant making ratification/voting 
  • Other, please explain

 16.3 If your community foundation engages with third-party gift planners or fundraisers does your foundation take the following actions?

  1. Check that the third part participant(s) are registered with the appropriate state authorities,
  2. Properly report these fundraising expenses on the foundation’s Form 990, and
  3. Disclose to donors information regarding the third party relationship such as the name of the third-party and the financial benefit provided to the third-party.

16.4 If you allow your donors to initiate fundraising activities, do you share your donor initiated fundraising guidelines or policy with them?

16.5 Does the community foundation award all scholarships in compliance with the following:

  1. The community foundation appoints all members of the committee by name (not by title);
  2. The community foundation ensures that the donor, the parties related to the donor, or donor advisors do not directly or indirectly control the committee;
  3. All grants are awarded on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis using a procedure that has been approved in advance by the board of directors of the sponsoring organization and that has been designed to ensure that all such grants meet the regulatory requirements for scholarship programs?