National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
Partnership header Roundtable discussion in a conference room setting
Non-Profits & Donation Boxes

Nonprofits often play a key role in fundraising and helping to meet park needs. Donations can be accepted by cooperating associations and other nonprofit organizations which operate in support of parks. The advantages of working with a nonprofit organization on donation boxes are that they can assist with maintenance of the collection device and cash management. Non-profits can place, manage, and collect funds through donation boxes located off park property. In addition, collections managed by nonprofits can be deposited in interest-bearing-accounts that earn extra dollars. Funds collected by NPS can only be deposited in non-interest bearing government accounts.

For park affiliated nonprofit organizations, a written agreement which authorizes the group to collect donations and specifically outlines the responsibilities of each party should be negotiated as a first step. In all cases, a sign by or on the donation box explains to the prospective donor what their contributions will be used for and must be approved by the park superintendent.

According to Director's Order #32 Cooperating Associations, cooperating associations can be authorized to accept cash donations provided they have appropriate wording in their articles of incorporation. Donations, or the proceeds thereof, can be used only for the purpose for which the association is established. An association can make donations to the NPS according to its stated purpose. Donations should be adequately documented for audit purposes and a listing of donations should be submitted to the NPS regional coordinator on an annual basis.

Alcatraz Island at Golden Gate National Recreation Area donation box Fifty States Donation Box, adapted from a Civil War Canon limber box and gun carriage, at Gettysburg National Military Park

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