Your Rights as a Donor

Columbia Springs will urge all prospective donors to seek the assistance of independent personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate planning consequences. Columbia Springs and its employees and agents are prohibited from advising donors about the tax consequences of their donations. Gifts are also subject to the provisions of other Columbia Springs policies, including adopted Conflict of Interest policies. 

Columbia Springs makes every effort to ensure accepted gifts are in the best interests of the organization and the donor. Columbia Springs works to follow The Donor Bill of Rights adopted by the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and other professional organizations.  Columbia Springs will comply with the Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner, promulgated by the National Committee on Planned Giving.

The 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 ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.

  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.

  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.

  6. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.

  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.

  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.

  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.

  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.


PREAMBLE The purpose of this statement is to encourage responsible gift planning by urging the adoption of the following Standards of Practice by all individuals who work in the charitable gift planning process, gift planning officers, fund raising consultants, attorneys, accountants, financial planners, life insurance agents and other financial services professionals (collectively referred to hereafter  as  ʺGift  Plannersʺ)  and  by  the institutions  that  these  persons  represent.  

This statement recognizes that the solicitation, planning and administration of a charitable gift is a complex process involving philanthropic, personal, financial and tax considerations, and as such often involves professionals from various disciplines whose goals should include working together to structure a gift that achieves a fair and proper balance between the interests of the donor and the purposes of the charitable institution.

I. PRIMACY OF PHILANTHROPIC MOTIVATION The principal basis for making a charitable gift should be a desire on the part of the donor to support the work of charitable institutions. 

II. EXPLANATION OF TAX IMPLICATIONS Congress has provided tax incentives for charitable giving, and the emphasis in this statement on philanthropic motivation in no way minimizes the necessity and appropriateness of a full and accurate explanation by the Gift Planner of those incentives and their implications. 

III. FULL DISCLOSURE It is essential to the gift planning process that the role and relationships of all parties involved, including how and by whom each is compensated, be fully disclosed to the donor. A Gift Planner shall not act or purport to act as a representative of any charity without the express knowledge and approval of the charity, and shall not, while employed by the charity, act or purport to act as a representative of the donor, without the express consent of both the charity and the donor. 

IV. COMPENSATION Compensation paid to Gift Planners shall be reasonable and proportionate to the services provided. Payment of finders’  fees,  commissions  or  other  fees  by  a  donee   organization to an independent Gift Planner as a condition for the delivery of a gift is never appropriate. Such payments lead to abusive practices and may violate certain state and federal regulations.  Likewise, commission-­‐based compensation for Gift Planners who are employed by a charitable institution is never appropriate. 

V. COMPETENCE AND PROFESSIONALISM The Gift Planner should strive to achieve and maintain a high degree of competence in his or her chosen area, and shall advise donors only in areas in which he or she is professionally qualified. It is a hallmark of professionalism for Gift Planners that they realize when they have reached the limits of their knowledge and expertise, and as a result, should include other professionals in the process. Such relationships should be characterized by courtesy, tact and mutual respect. 

VI. CONSULTATION WITH INDEPENDENT ADVISORS A Gift Planner acting on behalf of a charity shall in all cases strongly encourage the donor to discuss the proposed gift with competent independent  legal  and  tax  advisers  of  the  donor’s  choice.

VII. CONSULTATION WITH CHARITIES Although Gift Planners frequently and properly counsel donors concerning specific charitable gifts without the prior knowledge or approval of the donee  organization,  the  Gift  Planners,  in  order  to  insure  that  the  gift  will  accomplish  the  donor’s objectives, should encourage the donor, early in the gift planning process, to discuss the proposed gift with the charity to whom the gift is to be made. In cases where the donor desires anonymity, the Gift  Planners  shall  endeavor,  on  behalf  of  the  undisclosed  donor,  to  obtain  the  charityʹs  input  in the gift planning process. 

VIII. DESCRIPTION AND REPRESENTATION OF GIFT The Gift Planner shall make every effort to assure that the donor receives a full description and an accurate representation of all aspects of any proposed charitable gift plan. The consequences for the charity, the donor and, where applicable, the donorʹs  family,  should  be  apparent,  and  the  assumptions  underlying  any  financial   illustrations should be realistic. 

IX. FULL COMPLIANCE A Gift Planner shall fully comply with and shall encourage other parties in the gift planning process to fully comply with both the letter and spirit of all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. 

X. PUBLIC TRUST Gift Planners shall, in all dealings with donors, institutions and other professionals, act with fairness, honesty, integrity and openness. Except for compensation received for services, the terms of which have been disclosed to the donor, they shall have no vested interest that could result in personal gain.  Adopted and subscribed to by the National Committee on Planned Giving (NCPG) and the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA), May 7, 1991. Revised April 1999.

Contact Executive Director, Maureen Montague, or Development Director, Jennifer, with questions.

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Columbia Springs strives to offer a unique setting and educational experiences that foster a greater awareness of the natural world and inspire stewardship.


We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity.
Our ID number is 91-2127405.

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