Following a successful trial, the Secretary of the Interior permanently approved the National Park Guest Donation Program. The program may be implemented by a park and their national park concessioner as set forth below. The program is not restricted to lodging and the templates can be modified to fit other concession operated business activities. Any program implemented using this authority must adhere to the following procedures and is subject to termination by the Director, National Park Service (Service), for non-compliance.
Scope of In-Park Program
This program authorizes willing national park concessioners to give guests the opportunity to make a $1 per overnight or more, per room, donation to the National Park Foundation (NPF) to support the national park they are visiting. This is not a room rate addition, and is in no way related to contract room rate approval or gross revenue franchise fees. It is a voluntary public service action by the donor and the concessioner.
One hundred percent of the funds donated must be initially deposited to a restricted account at the National Park Foundation for the benefit of the national park where the funds are collected. Upon the superintendent's request, funds received under this program will be contributed to a local non-profit park support group to enhance its efforts on behalf of the park. The local non-profit support group must have a current signed agreement with the park in order to receive any funds from this program. Use of funds from this account will be approved, after consultation with the park superintendent, by the Grants and Programs Committee of the National Park Foundation Board or the board of the local park support group. The superintendent will have final say on use of the funds.
Funds donated through the program by generous park visitors help support projects and programs ranging from internships, special resource protection and restoration efforts, to environmental education efforts.
General Policy Approval
The National Park Guest Donation Program may be implemented by a national park concessioner as set forth below without any additional prior approval. Any program implemented using this authority must adhere to the following procedures and is subject to termination by the Director, National Park Service, for non-compliance.
Standard Operating Procedures
Role of the Concessioner
- This is a voluntary program in which any willing concessioner may choose to participate and may withdraw from at any time.
- A decision by a concessioner to participate or not participate in the program will not influence the Service's evaluation of that concessioner under its contract with the National Park Service. Misuse of the contributed funds by a concessioner may result in its termination from this program by the Director and such other actions as may be appropriate.
- A concessioner that chooses to participate in this program must:
- Sign the Statement of Participation form and submit it to the Director, with copies to the appropriate superintendent(s);
- Using the appropriate form, either
- Establish a restricted fund at the National Park Foundation, disbursements from which will be approved by the Grants and Programs Committee of the National Park Foundation Board after consulting with the superintendent, or
- Establish a restricted fund with authorization to the National Park Foundation to grant funds to a local non-profit friends group
- Agree to deposit in this account at least quarterly 100% of the donations received;
- Agree to distribute the required notices to lodge guests, as provided by the National Park Foundation; and
- Agree to provide to the superintendent an annual audit of funds received and deposited to the National Park Foundation account.
- Every guest (or representative of the guests staying in each room) will be advised of the program, its benefits, and how to opt out at each of the following contact points:
- At check-in
- Through written materials in the guest room
- At check-out
Role of Visitors
This is an entirely voluntary program for national park visitors.
Role of Park Superintendent
- Will provide the regional director a copy of all forms received from concessioners stating the concessioners' intent to participate in the program;
- Will review and approve all guest contact information required by this policy;
- Will respond to all guest complaints or concerns raised about the program;
- Will make recommendations and consult with the Grants and Programs Committee of the National Park Foundation Board over disbursements from restricted funds;
- May recommend to the National Park Foundation that a local non-profit park support group that has a current agreement with the park receive funds to enhance its efforts on behalf of that park;
- Will ensure that a concessioner who chooses to participate in the program does so in accordance with this policy as well as all other pertinent laws, regulations, and policies;
- Will advise the regional director if a concessioner who chooses to participate in the program fails to operate the program in compliance with this policy as well as all other pertinent laws, regulations, or policies;
- Will submit an annual report to the regional sirector by October of each year that includes:
- The accounting provided by the National Park Foundation on donations deposited and withdrawn from the restricted fund
- An explanation of how funds received under this program were used
- Any recommendations for changes to the program
- Will not delegate any management of this program to the park's concession office.
Role of Regional Directors
- A regional director with one or more Lodge Guest Donation Programs operating in his or her region:
- Is responsible for program consistency within their region;
- Will take steps to bring into compliance a concessioner operating a program that is inconsistent with this policy, and failing that, recommend to the Director that the concessioner be terminated from participation in the program and such other actions as may be appropriate;
- Submit to the Director in December of each year an evaluation of the program in that Region and recommendations for any modifications;
- Will ensure that all conflict of interest provisions and procedures are strictly adhered to.
Role of Associate Director – Partnerships, Interpretation and Education, Volunteers and Outdoor Recreation (PIEVOR)
The Director has delegated oversight of this national program to the Associate Director - Partnerships, Interpretation and Education, Volunteers, and Outdoor Recreation. All reports or communications that are to be submitted to the Director in compliance with this policy should be forwarded in care of the Associate Director - PIEVOR or their designee.
Role of the National Park Foundation
- The point of contact and program official responsible for this program on the Foundation staff is the Vice President for Field Development
- For monies collected in parks at which superintendents have requested that funds be transferred to a local friends group, NPF will develop procedures for these monies to be transferred. The NPF will not charge any fees on monies collected and disbursed in these cases.
- For monies collected in parks for which NPF will act as the fund manager, NPF will establish a park-specific restricted fund and will develop a system to efficiently process recommendations made by the superintendent on expenditures from that fund. The NPF will charge an annual management fee in these cases. This fee will cover the necessary accounting, reporting, audit, investment management and administrative costs associated with the fund. The fee will be assessed monthly, based on the fund's current market value. In addition, money to pay for the fee charged by the mutual fund manager in which the funds reside until used will be charged against the monies available. This fee averages approximately .83% annually by prospectus. Management fees, based on market value, will be charged as follows:
$0 to $499,999 – 1.50% per annum
$500,000 to $999,999 – 1.25% per annum
$1 million to $1,999,999 – 1.00% per annum
Over $2,000,000 – Negotiated with NPF based on the level of activity in the account. In addition to the annual management fee, NPF will charge the fund for other direct costs related to fund transactions (e.g. bank charge, second check charge, etc.)
- NPF will prepare an annual accounting of the total funds received and disbursed in each park's account, including monies collected and passed through to a local friends group. NPF will not account for the use of monies after they are transferred to a local friends group. Reports will be submitted to each park superintendent;
- NPF will prepare an annual accounting of the entire program for submission to the Director, National Park Service and to the Board of Directors of the Foundation.
Statement of Participation (DOCX 15 KB)
Restricted Fund Authorization Form (DOCX 17 KB)
Direct Grant to Local Friends Group Sample (DOCX 17 KB)
Language for Required Guest Notices (DOCX 19 KB)