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Letters of Intent

  • 1.  Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-08-2019 10:42 AM
    We have received several letters of intent (as opposed to formal pledge agreements) in our current endowment campaign.  Since we are not supposed to book these as pledges in the system because they are not legally binding, how are others accounting for these in your systems?  Is there a way to track these kinds of gift intentions since they cannot be pledges?  We are currently maintaining a list of them outside of our system, which seems low tech but is perhaps the only option.



    Stephanie M. Ottone
    Director of Advancement Services
    The Episcopal Academy

  • 2.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-08-2019 10:44 AM

    We have a pledge subtybe of "conditional" which allows us to track and remind these intentions, but they are not counted on our GL as a receivable asset (until a payment comes in).



    Jodie M. Ralston
    Executive Director
    Advancement Services

    T 315.443.1718   F 315.443.2874

    Syracuse University

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  • 3.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-08-2019 10:59 AM

    At my last institution, we used the gift subtypes of revocable and irrevocable. They could be tracked that way.



    Bill Wong
    Manager of Giving Operations
    Savannah College of Art and Design ®

    office: 404.253.6081 /

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  • 4.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-13-2019 09:30 AM
    I've read several posts about how to record Letters of Intent in a CRM, but what I haven't seen is information on where CASE stands with respect to recording and counting these in a campaign.  If in a campaign, is it permissible to include the expected amount from an LOI along with the amounts summed for conditional pledges and revocable bequests?  Has CASE addressed this?


    Eric Valdescaro
    Senior Director, Advancement Services
    University of Memphis

  • 5.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-13-2019 10:08 AM
    As of today to count in a campaign the commitment must be enforceable.  That is in the Guidelines.

    CASE will issue new Guidelines next summer.  Perhaps they will provide further guidance.

    John Taylor

    Big ideas; small keyboard

  • 6.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-13-2019 11:46 AM

    Hmmm.  I would have said that, to count in a campaign in the first column, "'Current/Outright Gifts and Pledges" (or, for deferred gifts, the second column, "Irrevocable Deferred Gifts at Discounted Present Value) the commitment must be enforceable.


    I would have thought that these Statements of Intent would fit under the supplemental, optional fourth column, "Revocable Gifts and Conditional Pledges at Face Value."


    It seems to me that what we have in the case of these statements of intent to recommend distributions from a donor-advised fund is a revocable pledge, since these statements have as their distinguishing characteristic their distinction from irrevocable/enforceable pledges. 


    CASE Reporting Standards & Management Guidelines for Educational Fundraising (4th ed.) , in Appendix D, p. 124 says, in part:


    Revocable gifts may be included in campaign totals at face value if they are pledged during the campaign, documented, and reported separately from outright gifts and irrevocable deferred gifts.


    The statements of intent would seem to be "revocable gifts" (the characteristic of revocability being what distinguishes them from irrevocable pledges) "pledged during the campaign" that, therefore, are to be "reported separately from outright gifts and irrevocable deferred gifts."


    The discussion in Appendix D also says:


    Appropriate documentation might include a commitment in writing from the donor, his or her attorney or financial advisor, or a copy of the bequest intention, retirement plan, or other document outlining the ultimate source of the gift.  Documentation should include a statement about the assumed value of the gift.


    Here again, the statements of intent are (presumably) in writing from the donor and specify an amount.  They indicate "the ultimate source of the gift."  The extent to which they are a "commitment" seems no different from the extent to which bequest intentions or retirement plan beneficiary designations are "commitments."


    Statements of Intent of this sort, particularly in relation to donors who are associated with donor-advised funds, are a relatively new phenomenon, or certainly much more widely adopted within the portfolio of fund-raising options provided to donors and recorded by charitable institutions.  One does hope that Statements of Intent of this sort will be addressed directly in the new revision of the guidelines, but, meanwhile, I would think that they could defensibly be reported in the 4th column of the report as currently constituted.


    My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.


    Good luck!




    Alan S. Hejnal   

    Data Quality Manager

    Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement

    600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E

    PO Box 37012, MRC 527

    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email:                                                                                                                                            




  • 7.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-13-2019 01:33 PM

    Thank you John and Alan.


    I feel exactly as you do Alan, and your reply is well stated.  This is why I posed the question specifically with the consideration of grouping these with conditional pledge and revocable bequests.


    Unfortunately, as you've pointed out much of whether these may be included or not (with the blessing of CASE) boil down to interpretation of Appendix D.  A direct opinion on these from CASE in their upcoming release of guidelines would be quite welcome!





  • 8.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 11-14-2019 07:01 AM
    Since the conclusion of our last campaign, we have also been including statements of intention to recommend DAF gifts as conditional and including them in fundraising attainment. However, as with conditional pledges, they are never included in the pledge receivables in our finance system, which does not recognize the revenue until the gift arrives from the DAF.


  • 9.  RE: Letters of Intent

    Posted 10-16-2020 10:21 AM
    Does anyone have a sample letter of intent that they can share?
    We are looking to update our templates - particularly for those donors who use DAFs.
    Serena Livingston
    Recording Secretary
    Director of Gift Administration

    Serena Livingston
    Director of Gift Administration, Recording Sec
    Rhode Island School of Design