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Liberty University Gift Acceptance Policy

Policy Information

Policy Information

Issuing Office

Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of Liberty University (the “University”).

Affected Parties

The President and Chief Financial Officer of the University, the University Office of Development and University employees who are engaged in acceptance, management, or solicitation of gifts on behalf of the University.


The authority to accept gifts in support of the University rests with the Board, which has delegated to the President and Chief Financial Officer of the University the authority to accept gifts in the name and on behalf of the University subject to the terms and limitations of this Policy.

Principles Applicable to Gift Acceptances

When considering whether to accept gifts to the University, the following principles will be applied:

  • A gift will not be accepted by the University when it is inconsistent with the purpose and mission of the University as set forth in the University’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
  • A gift will not be accepted if it has a meaningful risk of compromising the University’s tax-exempt status.
  • A gift will not be accepted if the donor’s intent is not compatible with the University’s intended use.
  • A gift will not be accepted if it is clear to the University, or the University has reason to suspect, that the funds or property donated were acquired by other than legal means, or that clear title to the property or funds does not flow directly from the donor to the University.
  • A gift will not be accepted if, in the judgment of the University, the gift is too restrictive in purpose, requires expenditures beyond the University’s resources, or compromises the academic freedom of the University community.
  • A gift will not be accepted if, in the judgment of the University, the intended purpose of the gift and/or being associated with the donor of the gift could inflict lasting damage on the University’s reputation, standing, or integrity.
  • At the request of a donor, the University may treat a gift as anonymous. However, a gift will not be treated as anonymous with the purpose of shielding the University from damage to its reputation or disguising a gift that it would otherwise not have accepted.
  • When accepting a gift of real or personal property, the University will consider any burdens, risks or costs associated with accepting or maintaining the gift, and consider whether those burdens, risks or costs are consistent with the mission of the University and whether the benefit of the gift materially exceeds any burdens, risks or costs.
  • The University will consider the burdens, risks and costs of gifts that require the University to act as a trustee or otherwise in a fiduciary capacity (outside of the endowment). • The acceptance of a gift does not imply nor mean that the University endorses or approves of the donor’s views, opinions, businesses, or activities.

The Repurpose, Return and Redirection of Gifts

The University may repurpose an unspent or endowed gift to a new University use if, due to changes in University programs or applicable laws and regulations, the gift cannot be used as originally intended by the donor. When doing so, the University will consider new uses or needs of the University that conform as closely as practical to the donor’s intent, as well as terms of the gift agreement and applicable law.

The University may return a gift to the donor, or with the donor’s consent redirect it to another non-profit organization, if, in light of changes in circumstances or new information, the University determines that it could cause lasting damage to the University’s reputation, standing or integrity to be associated with a specific donor or to use a gift for its intended purpose.

Limitations on Authority

The following gifts require approval of the Board or the Executive Committee prior to acceptance by the University, and the President and Chief Financial Officer will not accept such gifts without prior approval:

•    Gifts whose maintenance the Chief Financial Officer reasonably concludes will materially add to the ordinary operating budget of the University and for which such funds are not included in the gift or for which the budgetary impacts associated with the gift have not otherwise been approved by the Board.
•    Gifts that would require the University to invest funds in a manner different than the University’s customary approach to investing under the University’s Investment Policy Statement.
•    Gifts requiring financing or purchases by the University (e.g., “bargain sales”).
•    Closely-held and non-publicly traded securities.
•    Gifts that require Board approval under other Board approved policies or resolutions, including, the Liberty University Signature Authority Policy and the provisions of that policy that relate to “Naming Matters.”

Annual Report

The President or his designee shall prepare an annual report to the Board describing the gift acceptances for the University from the prior year, specifically identifying gifts associated with naming opportunities, the aggregate amount and value of gifts subject to restrictions and the nature of the restrictions, and non-monetary gifts. The annual report will also set forth any recommended plan for naming opportunities.

Compensation Arrangements

The University will ensure that the compensation of fundraising employees is reasonable taking into account what would ordinarily be paid for comparable services, by comparable enterprises under comparable circumstances, and in no event will the University compensate those employees based on percentages of funds raised.

The University will not compensate third-party fundraising contractors based on the percentage of funds raised without the approval of the Board when it determines it is in the best interests of the University and consistent with its mission (for example, arrangements with fundraising consultants for capital campaigns).

Appraisal and Valuation Considerations

Where required or advisable, donors are responsible for obtaining their own qualified appraisals. Consistent with IRS rules, the University, its employees, or anyone in a relationship with the University that leads them to not be independent is not a qualified appraiser, and the University shall not furnish or arrange for qualified appraisals for donors.

Adoption of Policies

The President and Chief Financial Officer are authorized by the Board to delegate their individual authority to accept gifts in the name and on behalf of the University, provided that the delegations are in writing (including pursuant to a written policy), define the scope of the authority and are recorded in the records of the University. In furtherance of that authorization and consistent with the University’s expectation of robust internal controls, the President, in coordination with the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Development, is expected to cause the University to adopt written gift acceptance policies. The written gift acceptance policies should be consistent with this Policy, and take into account the University’s position on conflicts of interests, the Liberty University Signature Authority Policy and recognized practices of donors.

Policy Rationale

Philanthropy is an important part of supporting the mission of the University, and it must be done in a manner that is consistent with and furthers the University purpose and mission. The purpose of this policy is to establish principles and authorities by which gifts will be accepted, repurposed, returned, or redirected.


University employees who have questions about the application of this Policy to a particular situation should consult the policies and procedures adopted pursuant to this Policy, including policies and procedures published by the Office of Development, and seek advice from the Vice President of Development, Chief Financial Officer or General Counsel. Nothing in this Policy is intended to limit the application of any other Policy of the University. Questions about the interactions of multiple policies should be directed to the General Counsel.


Violation of this Policy can lead to administrative action, up to and including termination.



Revision History

Adopted as of November 5, 2021

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