Guidelines Governing Donations and Solicitation of Gifts

This document sets guidelines for the solicitation and acceptance of donations by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). The President, Board of Directors, Staff and Members of the organization, as well as prospective donors and their professional advisors are expected to abide by these guidelines when soliciting or making gifts to the organization.

General Principles:

MESA will accept donations that foster and enhance its educational and scholarly mission as well as its commitment to protecting the academic freedom of scholars and students of the Middle East and the civil and human rights of its members.

MESA is governed by a Board of Directors whose members act as trustees of its mission. Board members are entrusted to accept donations and other forms of support after they have examined with due diligence the factors relevant to the best interests of the association and its mission.

Donations and all other forms of support will be accepted from individuals, partnerships, corporate or other entities.

MESA will not accept donations, gifts or funds: 

That stipulate that they be used or expended in a manner inconsistent with the association's mission.

Of a nature or purpose that leads to the appearance of undue influence by government, corporate or other entities.

That jeopardize its status as a tax-exempt organization under state or federal law.

That place undue burden on staff.

That come from entities whose support might jeopardize the credibility of MESA’s commitment to the principles of academic freedom or human rights, or both.

Types of Gifts:

MESA will accept gifts of cash or publicly traded securities.

MESA will accept being designated as a beneficiary of a donor’s retirement and life insurance plans. A donor may make bequests to MESA under their will and trusts.

MESA will accept restricted gifts that meet the organization’s scholarly mission and academic commitments.

MESA reserves the right to decline or cancel promised gifts including annual installments if and when they violate the organization’s scholarly mission and academic commitments.

MESA will accept gifts in kind if they have been approved by the Board of Directors.

Fundraising Authority:

Prior approval of the Board of Directors is required for any individual member, section or sub-group within MESA to engage in fundraising activity.

Unsolicited gifts of more than 1,000 dollars require the approval of MESA’s Board of Directors.

Any section, group or individual member within MESA granted approval by the Board of Directors to engage in development activity, should follow this policy and the organization’s requirements for implementation.

Donations Review:

For a gift or a contribution, an agreement between MESA and the donor shall specify the terms of the gift, though the Board of Directors might authorize exceptions to this requirement.

In the event that the donor requests anonymity, the Executive Director and the President would make the determination if the donation is consistent with the mission and commitments of MESA.

The Board of Directors reserves the right to rename a prize, gift or award if its members determine that the existing name would be harmful to the reputation of the Association.

The Board of Directors reserves the right to revoke a gift at its discretion, based on their fiduciary, reputational, or other concerns related to MESA’s mission and commitments. When necessary, a formal review process might be implemented on a case by case basis.

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