Gift Acceptance Policies

Guiding Principles


The following policies and guidelines govern acceptance of gifts made to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, doing business as UNICEF USA, for the benefit of any of its operations, programs, or services. UNICEF USA urges all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts, including any legal, tax, and estate planning implications.


UNICEF USA’s mission is to relentlessly pursue a more equitable world for every child. UNICEF USA advances the global mission of UNICEF by rallying the American public to support the world’s most vulnerable children.

UNICEF USA will generally accept gifts that further the organization’s mission and purpose; are administrable in relation to their value to UNICEF USA; and are consistent with:

  • UNICEF USA’s corporate charter,
  • UNICEF USA’s status as an IRC § 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization

Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. 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 not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we affirm that all donors to UNICEF USA have the right to:

  • Understand UNICEF USA’s mission, the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  • Understand the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  • Have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
  • Receive assurances that their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  • Receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition in accordance with UNICEF USA’s policies on donor recognition, confidentiality, and anonymity.
  • Receive assurances that information about their donations is handled with respect for donors' privacy and confidentially to the extent required by law.
  • Expect that UNICEF USA’s relationships with other organizations and individuals will be professional in nature.
  • Receive information as to whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  • Request their names be deleted from any mailing lists UNICEF USA intends to share.
  • Ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

Gift Acknowledgement

UNICEF USA makes every effort to acknowledge/receipt gifts promptly and correctly. To do so, we must have accurate donor data, including current address information. All gifts, including those sent via wire transfer and other digital methods, must be accompanied by the name of the legal donor and their email and/or postal address. UNICEF USA cannot provide an acknowledgement without this information. Donors are encouraged to call (800-361-5437) or email ( with any questions about gift acknowledgements/receipts. 

Right to Return a Gift

UNICEF USA may return a gift to a donor and discontinue donor recognition benefits if UNICEF USA determines the gift:

  • Violates the organization’s legal or ethical obligations.
  • Is not consistent with the organization’s goals, values, and purposes.
  • Results from or is associated with any kind of fraud or illegal activity.
  • May damage the organization’s brand, reputation, or image. 
  • Cannot be used for its intended purpose as outlined in a gift agreement or other legal document.


Donors may request refunds within 60 days of the donation by phone (800-361-5437), email (, webform or request to UNICEF USA staff. The speed of the refund depends on the payment method of the donation, with electronic refunds processing more quickly. Exceptions to this policy may be considered on a limited case-by-case basis.  

Quid Pro Quo

A quid pro quo contribution is a payment made to a charity by a donor partly as a contribution and partly for goods or services provided to the donor by the charity. The IRS requires a charitable organization to provide a written disclosure statement to donors of a quid pro quo contribution in excess of $75. The required written disclosure statement must:

  • Inform the donor that the amount of the contribution that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the excess of contribution over the value of goods or services provided by the charity.
  • Provide the donor with a good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services that the donor received.


Contracts, Grant Agreements, MOUs, and other Gift Agreements

Written and countersigned gift agreements, grant agreements, memorandums of understanding, contracts, and/or licensing agreements may be required pursuant to the guidelines below, which are informed by UNICEF USA’s annual audit process, IRS and other regulatory guidance, and required reporting to UNICEF.

Contributions that typically require a written agreement include multi-year pledges, contributions valued at $50,000 or more or that create a new fund, and agreements/requests involving use of the UNICEF USA or UNICEF logo. Gifts that include commitments for particular donor recognition or donor benefit or that mandate reporting will require a written agreement. When appropriate, agreements will outline project timelines to ensure funding alignment.

Written agreements specify donor intent, including the purpose, gift type, gift amount, gift date, restrictions on the gift, reporting requirements (if any), and the originator or donor of the gift. UNICEF USA will accept email records reflecting donor intent as well as signed written forms or documents.

Unsolicited Gifts

UNICEF USA will make a reasonable attempt to confirm donor intent if an unsolicited gift arrives without any notations for the donor’s intended use. If the donor is unreachable or unresponsive, UNICEF USA will process the gift as an unrestricted donation.

Pledge Terms

UNICEF USA accepts multi-year pledges on terms of two to five years and requires clearly outlined payment schedules. Pledges of more than five years will require review by UNICEF USA. Unpaid pledges will be written off in accordance with UNICEF USA’s accounting policies and will not be recognized; as appropriate, the donor will be recognized only for the paid portion of the pledge. 

Excluded and Sensitive Sectors & Due Diligence

UNICEF USA may not engage in funding interactions, strategic partnerships, or co-branded collaborative efforts with certain business sector entities, e.g., weapons manufacturers, companies that manufacture and/or sell alcohol, tobacco, adult content, companies that promote gambling, and/or companies or individuals who engage in conduct violating UN sanctions or Security Council resolutions.

UNICEF may impose certain limitations on engagement with companies in other industries or sectors including food and beverage, extractive and pharmaceutical industries. UNICEF USA conducts a due diligence process in the course of considering gifts for acceptance.

Electronic Transfer of Assets

To help support proper acknowledgement of gifts of cash or securities that are transferred to UNICEF USA via wire, EFT/ACH, or other electronic method, UNICEF USA does not publicly post or document its bank information or Depository Trust Company (DTC) transfer instructions. Donors wishing to make gifts via wire transfer, EFT/ACH or other electronic method should work with their point of contact in Philanthropy, call (800-361-5437), or email ( 

Donor Acknowledgment, Recognition, Confidentiality, and Anonymity

UNICEF USA will provide donors with contemporaneous, written acknowledgement of their gifts consistent with and as defined by applicable IRS guidance and IRC § 170(f)(8). For the protection of our donors, acknowledgements may be shared exclusively with the legal donor. Direct requests from tax preparers, attorneys, and family members to UNICEF USA must be approved in writing by the legal donor. 

UNICEF USA strives to recognize donors appropriately and consistently. Public donor recognition is a voluntary expression of gratitude for our supporters. Individual donors may be recognized for various reasons, including in relation to events, campaigns, and giving circles. Institutional donor recognition is governed by specific provisions agreed upon in gift agreements, contracts, and/or grant agreements. UNICEF USA reserves the right to revoke donor recognition, for example, if a pledge obligation is not fulfilled after 5 years from the date of the last scheduled pledge payment date.

Donors may request varying levels of anonymity. Donor requests to remain anonymous should be specified at the time the gift is made or in a pledge letter or gift agreement. Donors requesting anonymity after a gift has been made should work with their point of contact in Philanthropy, call 800-361-5437, or email

Donor Privacy and Confidentiality

UNCEF USA is committed to protecting confidential donor information and ensuring donors have control over their privacy. We adhere to applicable laws and stringent industry standards for privacy and protection of confidential information, including requiring all UNICEF USA staff to sign a privacy and confidentiality agreement as a condition of their employment.

Matching Gifts

Many companies offer corporate matches for charitable gifts made by their employees. Donors who wish to direct an employee matching gift to UNICEF USA can access information here. Matching gifts are administered by the Stewardship Services team, who may be reached at

Gift Thresholds

Decisions on the restrictive nature of a gift, and its acceptance or refusal, shall be made by UNICEF USA, and informed by UNICEF’s standard funding thresholds. Some gifts may be made free of any earmarks; there is no minimum gift threshold for these unrestricted gifts. Other gifts may be restricted by geographic region or program area or further restricted at the global, regional, or country level. A minimum of $55,000 is required to restrict gifts by region or program area. A minimum of $110,000 is required to restrict gifts further at the global, regional, or country level. 

UNICEF USA's Indirect Cost

UNICEF USA’s Indirect Cost is to be applied to all donations received with exception of Unrestricted Revenue. UNICEF USA will maintain a standard of never exceeding a maximum of 12% total Indirect Cost, which is inclusive of UNICEF and UNICEF USA. Non-UNICEF grants earmarked for other organizations will continue to have the 10% Indirect Cost applied. 

Policy Updates and Approval

This policy will be reviewed at least annually or as needed. Updates will be approved by UNICEF USA and shared publicly. 

Acceptable Gifts

Gifts Generally Accepted Without Review


Cash gifts are acceptable in any form, including by cash, check, money order, wire transfer, or credit card, etc. Credit Card gifts are credited in full to the donor, and the processing fees are recorded as UNICEF USA expense.

Marketable and Publicly Traded Securities

Marketable securities are liquid financial instruments that can be quickly converted into cash at a reasonable price. Such securities can include common stock, Treasury bills, mutual funds, money market instruments, bonds, and other investment holdings. Stocks are typically sold promptly after their receipt. An exception may be made if, due to the size of the gift, immediate liquidation might have an adverse market reaction. In such a case, the decision may be made to pro-ratably liquidate the securities although this is performed quickly. Donors wishing to make gifts via wire transfer, EFT/ACH or other electronic method should request transfer instructions from their point of contact in Philanthropy or call (800-361-5437) or email ( 

Per IRS guidelines, gifts of securities will be acknowledged as in-kind contributions showing no liquidated monetary value. When applicable, such acknowledgements will provide the high-low trading average of the security on the date received. 

If a securities gift is to be refunded, the return will be made in fiat equal to the amount of the gift at the time of conversion. 

Virtual Currency/Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency gifts may be accepted and generally will be sold upon receipt. UNICEF USA policies relating to acceptance of securities gifts typically also apply to cryptocurrency. Virtual currency/cryptocurrency is classified as a property asset by the IRS and in some cases may require qualified third-party appraisal. 

As with other securities gifts, gifts of cryptocurrency will be acknowledged as in-kind contributions showing no liquidated monetary value. When applicable, such acknowledgements will provide the high-low trading average of the security on the date received. 

If UNICEF USA decides it will not directly accept a gift of cryptocurrency for liquidation, we may still encourage donors to work with a preferred third party to accept the gift of cryptocurrency and convert it to fiat to support UNICEF USA. For example, the donor could make the gift to a donor-advised fund (DAF) sponsoring organization, and later recommend grants from the DAF to UNICEF USA.

If a cryptocurrency gift is to be refunded, the return will be made in fiat equal to the amount of the gift at the time of conversion. 

Donor Advised Funds (DAF)

UNICEF USA will accept grants from a DAF, with the exception of grants that confer a particular benefit on the donor, including but not limited to special event-related sponsorships, tables, ticket purchases, or auction bids. 

As a general matter, DAFs should not be used as pledge payments. We may consider using DAF distributions to satisfy pledge payments under non-binding pledge commitments review. 

UNICEF USA will not issue a tax receipt for contributions from a DAF because the DAF has already issued a tax receipt. DAF gifts that include commitments for particular donor recognition or donor benefit, or that mandate reporting or other special stewardship, will require a written agreement. UNICEF USA will treat all DAF gifts as anonymous unless otherwise instructed by the donor who initiated the gift.

If a donor wishes to adjust any aspect of a DAF gift after it is received by UNICEF USA, the donor must contact the DAF to request the adjustment.  

Per IRS INFO 2001-0140, when receiving a DAF gift, a charitable organization must make expenditures only for exempt purposes and not for the benefit of the donor. As such, DAF gifts to UNICEF USA may not be used to purchase event tickets or other goods and services. Additionally, the IRS takes the position that it is not possible to separate the price of a ticket into charitable and non-charitable components and states that such “bifurcation” would constitute self-dealing. 

Planned Gifts

UNICEF USA will accept most planned gifts. More detailed guidelines are located here.

Bequests and Beneficiary Designations

Donors are encouraged to make bequests to UNICEF USA in their estate plans, and to name UNICEF USA as the beneficiary under trusts, life insurance policies, commercial annuities and retirement plans (e.g., IRA, 401K). When establishing bequests, donors are strongly encouraged to work with UNICEF USA to document intent for expenditure. Our Office of Planned Giving can be reached at (866) 486-4233 or

Life Insurance

UNICEF USA will accept gifts of life insurance where UNICEF USA is named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of the insurance policy. The donor must agree to pay, before due, any future premium payments owing on the policy. 

Split Interest Agreements

Charitable Gift Annuities

A charitable gift annuity is an irrevocable contractual obligation between UNICEF USA and one or two donors. UNICEF USA is contractually obligated to make quarterly payments to the annuitant(s) for life. The minimum age is 60 and the minimum amount is $10,000.

Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Lead Trusts

UNICEF USA will accept designation as a remainder beneficiary of charitable remainder trusts and as an income beneficiary of charitable lead trusts.

Gifts Subject to Prior Review

The following types of gifts are subject to review prior to acceptance.

In-Kind Contributions

Gifts in kind are received in various forms as noted and expanded upon below:

Tangible Personal Property

In determining whether to accept tangible personal property, UNICEF USA will consider whether the property is marketable, carries additional costs or liabilities, and whether title to the property is clear.  

Real Estate

All gifts of real estate are subject to review by UNICEF USA. Prior to accepting gifts of real estate, UNICEF USA may require an initial environmental review be conducted by a qualified environmental firm at the expense of the donor. Should that review raise additional questions, a qualified environmental firm may be contracted to conduct an environmental audit. No outright gifts of property will be accepted using any other method.


Automobile donations are handled through Advanced Remarketing Services (ARS). An individual donates a vehicle through ARS, which handles the sale of the vehicle and donation of the cash proceeds to UNICEF USA. 


When a donor offers a gift of artwork, UNICEF USA will first encourage them to sell the artwork and donate the proceeds to UNICEF USA. At the discretion of UNICEF USA, artwork may be accepted via written agreement. The agreement should specify the cash value of the artwork, how it is intended to be used, and if applicable, any storage, maintenance, and funding requirements.

Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs)

An NFT is a digital method of proving ownership of a unique and usually digital asset, with ownership encryption tracked on a blockchain, a distributed digital ledger. NFTs are not copyrights or trademarks; instead, they are an authentication of ownership over a specific asset.

NFTs are not interchangeable, and they are commonly purchased and sold using cryptocurrencies in a variety of marketplaces. UNICEF USA will evaluate donations of NFTs on a case-by-case basis.


UNICEF USA will consider gifts of pharmaceuticals to be used by its programs to benefit children. Factors that will be considered by UNICEF USA for these donations include but are not limited to: types of pharmaceutical, expiration dates, and availability of means (and expense thereof) for distribution. UNICEF USA will review such gifts on a case-by-case basis to determine feasibility. 


As a general matter, software licenses will not be considered charitable donations as they are considered partial interests by the IRS. To be considered a charitable donation, software must be irrevocably transferred to UNICEF USA (not licensed) with no restrictions, no expiration nor requirement of renewal, no implicit or explicit exchange or purchase of services, nor any provisions to share exclusive information.

Closely Held Securities

Closely held securities include debt and equity positions in non-publicly traded companies as well as interests in LLPs and LLCs or other ownership forms. These gifts must be reviewed by UNICEF USA prior to acceptance to determine that:

  • There are no restrictions on the security that would prevent UNICEF USA from ultimately converting these assets to cash.
  • The security is or will be marketable; and can be liquidated
  • The security will not generate any unacceptable tax or other consequences or liabilities for UNICEF USA (e.g., unrelated taxable income within the meaning of the IRC § 511-514)

If potential problems arise in the initial review of the security, further review and recommendation by an outside professional may be sought before making a final decision on acceptance of the gift.

Contributed Services (In-Kind Gifts of Services)

In-kind gifts of services include such activities as printing of materials, appraisals, and design work, among others. These services can provide valuable support to UNICEF USA; however, the contribution of services including labor, no matter how valuable, is not tax deductible according to the IRS. UNICEF USA will, however, recognize such gifts as revenue in accordance with General Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”). 

Multi-year Commitments with Contingencies

Donors may opt to give to UNICEF USA via a multi-year agreement whereby a total gift amount is disbursed to UNICEF USA over multiple years. Such gifts require written agreements, which should outline the schedule of payments, and any additional restrictions or contingencies associated with the donations, such as certain program milestones that must be reached in order for the donor to disburse the gift. 

Co-funding Commitments

Co-funding commitments are defined as a shared fundraising goal between a donor and UNICEF USA. Co-funding commitments are rare and require strict review by UNICEF USA.

Cause-Related Marketing

UNICEF USA engages with for-profit businesses in cause-related marketing campaigns, whereby a portion of a business's sales proceeds is gifted to UNICEF USA. In conducting such campaigns, UNICEF USA complies with applicable laws, including state commercial co-venture laws, state charitable solicitation registration laws, federal tax laws, federal and state false-advertising laws, and Better Business Bureau (BBB) standards.