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Gift Acceptance and Solicitation Policy

The Library welcomes donations and gifts from individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations, and other community organizations. Gifts and any restrictions must be consistent with the Library’s mission, vision, and core values. Accordingly, the Library reserves the right to decline a gift.

This policy is not intended to provide detailed descriptions of various giving instruments or offer advice to prospective donors regarding the most effective means of achieving their philanthropic goals.

Specifically, this policy will provide guidelines for the Library to:

  • Accept gifts and pledges that are made using a range of the most common giving instruments;
  • Credit/account for gifts and pledges;
  • Recognize donors who contribute; and
  • Inform decisions on matters related to gifts made or pledged.

The Library urges all prospective donors to seek the assistance of independent legal counsel or other professional financial advisors of their choice for all matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate planning consequences. Prospective donors shall be responsible for their legal, accounting, appraisal, and other fees for all gifts and donations made to the Library.

Types of Gifts and Donations

1. Monetary donations may be made to one of the following:

  • The Library – Donations for purchases such as memorials, donations made in honor of a friend or family member, gifts for a specific program or event, gifts for a special project or capital campaign, etc., will be made directly to the Akron-Summit County Public Library and are tax-deductible. When the Library receives a monetary donation to purchase materials, the Collection Development staff will select appropriate titles using the Principles of Material Selection described in the Collection Development Policy.
  • The Akron-Summit County Public Library Endowment Fund at the Akron Community Foundation – Completely separate from the Library's ongoing tax support, donations to the Akron-Summit County Public Library Endowment Fund are tax-deductible and will provide continued funding for Library programs and services in the years to come. Donations to the Endowment fund may be made in memory or honor of individuals.

2. Material donations:

The Library accepts material (gently used books and recorded media) donations from the public with the explicit understanding that the item may be retained or disposed of at the discretion of the Library. No monetary appraisal is made of donated materials. The Library will give the donor a written acknowledgment recording the number and type of items. Materials not added to the Library's collection will be forwarded to a Friends of the Library organization, where they may be sold, donated to another organization, or discarded. Donations of large collections that fall into subject categories or areas not previously developed by the Library will receive careful study. Considerations for acceptance include the cost implications, maintenance, growth of the specific collection, and relevance to the Library’s overall mission. Donations of materials sponsored by commercial or special interest groups will be carefully evaluated to ensure that they conform to the selection criteria outlined in this policy and in the Collection Development Policy.

3. In-kind donations and gifts:

The Library may solicit financial support and in-kind donations from businesses and non-profit organizations. Examples include the following:

  • Books: The Library may accept donations of books in certain instances if approved by the Library Administration or designee. This may include donations of new books from publishing companies or authors to be used in collections, for auction, or for other fundraising purposes. (This policy section does not cover the donation of materials by the public to the Library; see Material donation section above.)
  • Special Collections and Archives: The Library may accept donations of items that include books, recorded media, ephemera, or archival materials that may be included in the Special Collections Division’s archival collections. The content of the archival materials must relate to Summit County. Special Collections staff will determine whether the material meets collection development criteria. Such donations must be approved by the Library Administration or designee and are subject to a Deed of Gift Agreement. Monetary donations in support of Special Collections will be used for preservation projects.
  • Wine, Beer, or Spirits: The Library may accept donations of wine, beer, or spirits in certain instances:
    • Donations of wine, beer, or spirits may be accepted for consumption at a fundraising event.
    • Donations of wine, beer, or spirits may be accepted for sale at a live or silent auction.
  • Gifts for Auction: The Library may accept donations to be auctioned at or in conjunction with special events. These donations may include physical items such as art, fashion, jewelry, food, or spirits; or experiences such as dining, travel, or event tickets. Gifts for auction are only credited to a donor when sold and only for the item’s sale value. For purposes of the donor acknowledgment letter, the tax-deductible amount of the item is any amount paid in excess of the fair market value of the auction item, with such fair market value being provided by the donor at the time of the donation.

4. Real Estate:

Gifts of real estate shall be referred to the Executive Director for acceptance in consultation with the Board of Trustees. Acceptance of real estate is subject to the following conditions:

  • Donor must have the full authority to give the gift without any reservations or outside interests.a
  • The gift becomes the property of the Library and may be used or sold at the discretion of the Library.
  • If the property is sold, the proceeds will benefit the Library.
  • The donor may be required to indemnify the library against liability resulting from the donation.

5. Other property or interests

Property and interests not otherwise described in this section, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible, must be reviewed and approved by the Library with the advice of legal counsel, if necessary or appropriate, prior to acceptance.

Gift Restrictions:

The Library will accept restricted and unrestricted gifts and gifts for specific programs and purposes, provided such gifts are not inconsistent with its stated mission, goals, and priorities. The Library will not accept gifts that are too restrictive in purpose. Gifts that are too restrictive are those that violate Library policies, are too difficult to administer, or are for purposes outside the Library’s mission. All final decisions on the restrictive nature of a gift, and its acceptance or refusal, shall be made in consultation with the Board of Trustees.

Acknowledgment of Gifts and Donations:

Donor, sponsor, and partner names are public information. Upon receipt of any donation, the Library will acknowledge it promptly. Acknowledgment of a gift may take any or none of the following forms at the discretion of the Library and/or the donor.

  • A thank you letter and/or donation receipt
  • A special program or media campaign to announce the donation
  • Library bookplate(s) with the donor’s name, format permitting
  • Acknowledgement in a Library promotional publication, e-newsletter, display, advertisement, or on the Library’s web page
  • Announcement at a Library program

Solicitation of Funds:

An organization funded by tax revenues must approach the decision to solicit funds with caution. In general, the solicitation of funds should meet system-wide purposes such as developing or expanding library collections or services and supporting activities of a system-wide nature.

The Executive Director or Development Director must approve the solicitation of businesses in advance. If a business offers gifts of significant value to an individual library agency, the company representative should be referred to the Executive Director or Development Director, who will determine the conditions under which the gift will be accepted.

Most of the ongoing activities of library agencies are supported through the Library’s operating budget. The General Fund provides monies for refreshments, prizes, and entertainment for regular library programs. Occasionally, however, an individual agency may want to seek additional funds to underwrite a special event at the library. When a library agency determines the need to solicit additional funds, it must follow these rules and regulations:

  • Solicitations should be considered to provide a unique program or develop a new activity. Generally, it should not be made to further a regular, ongoing program such as a story hour, travel talks, or film program.
  • All such solicitations must be discussed before any action by the agency head with the appropriate Public Services Manager, Development Director, and Deputy Director.
  • Library agencies should limit their solicitations to local businesses.
  • In making solicitations, the library agency may offer the group or individual solicited the right to have a statement of support included on flyers and posters for the event. A sign acknowledging the gift may be included on the refreshment table if refreshments are involved. No other agreement can be made to conclude the solicitation.

Internal Recordkeeping:

All gifts to the Library shall be recorded and accounted for following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Gifts generally fall into two categories: (i) Net Assets without Donor Restrictions, which the Library can use for any purpose at any time; and (ii) Net Assets with Donor Restrictions, whose use by the Library is limited by donor-imposed stipulations that either require their use for a designated purpose or within a certain period of time, or both, and gifts that the Library must maintain in perpetuity (e.g., endowment gifts).

Adopted by the Board of Trustees on September 29, 2022