The following question was recently posted on the UUmoney listserv:
“Is there a best way for a church to receive the donation of a car and turn it into cash?”
While that’s an intriguing question, a better question might be, “Should a church accept donation of a car?”
Ideally, a congregation has anticipated this second question and has written a clear endowment document. This document provides written policies for a planned giving program and clearly describes what types of gifts can be accepted without review and which gifts require approval of the governing body or the entire congregation.
It is especially helpful to outline a procedure for reviewing gifts of real estate, used cars, or other personal assets that may be difficult to sell. Does the congregation really want to be in the business of managing a piece of real estate, or brokering a deal on a donated car, or assessing the value of Aunt Maude’s priceless bric-a-brac?
It is perfectly acceptable, and even advisable, to refuse a gift if it will distract the congregation from its primary vision and mission. It is also advisable to decline acceptance of a gift that might expose the congregation to expenses or liabilities that could pose a hardship on the financial resources of the congregation.
Chapter nine in Beyond Fundraising provides complete information about creating an endowment fund and instituting a vital planned giving program. The chapter is designed in a way that a congregation can cut and paste the information to customize it to their particular needs. Recreating the wheel is not required!