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Should charity acknowledge unreceived gifts?

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Should charity acknowledge unreceived gifts?

A university told its basketball season ticket holders that they could donate tickets to another charity so that disadvantaged kids could go to the games and the donors could receive a tax receipt for their donation. Because of a miscommunication, the university failed to notify the other charity about many of the gifts, the charity never had access to them and many of the tickets therefore went unused. Should the other charity still send acknowledgments and thank you letters to the donors of the tickets the charity never knew about until it was too late?

I think so.  Assuming that the university was acting as the agent for the charity in receiving notification of the gifts, the donors did what they could to make the tickets available.  They gave up control and should be able to take the deduction.

That’s the legal question.  What about the ethical question?  Does anyone have an obligation to notify the donors that because of the “miscommunication” their tickets went unused?  If so, who? What do you think?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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