Gift Acceptance Policy

Guildhall School Trust & Guildhall School of Music & Drama Gift Acceptance Policy

Our Donor Promise

Much of the work of the Guildhall School Trust and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama would not be possible without philanthropy.

Scholarship donations support over half of Guildhall School students, give them access to world class training with our expert staff, enable worldwide performance opportunities, and allows them to develop all the skills they need to shape their future, both as creative individuals and artists within our society. Donations also ensure that our students train in outstanding facilities, and enable students and staff to run transformative projects with local community organisations.

We are committed to ensuring that all our donors feel valued and we want the experience of giving to Guildhall to be a positive one.

The Trust and the School make these promises to our supporters:

  • We promise to treat donations with respect.
  • Our team will process donations within 72hrs efficiently and accurately.
  • We will work in partnership with our supporters to ensure that their donation is allocated in accordance with their wishes and is used responsibly and transparently.
  • We will tell our supporters how their donation has made a difference, regularly communicating how their donation has made an impact.
  • We promise to be responsible with our supporters’ data. We will only communicate in the way they wish to hear from us. If our supporters don’t want to hear from us anymore, they can tell us and we will listen. We will never sell, trade or swap data with third parties and will comply with the law relating to fundraising and the use of personal data as outlined by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Policy on accepting donations and sponsorship

The Guildhall School Trust and Guildhall School of Music & Drama place the relationships of our generous friends and supporters at the heart of all our fundraising. In soliciting donations to support and benefit Guildhall School and its students, the Trust and the School are fully committed to the principles of the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Practice, and are jointly registered with the Fundraising Regulator.

Whilst we are exceptionally grateful for all pledges of support and donations1, we reserve the right to decline a donation or sponsorship if:

  • It would be unlawful to accept it, or the donation conflicts with the Trust or School’s legal / regulatory obligations.
  • There is suspicion of money laundering.
  • Through the actions and/or activities of the donor, there is any risk of damage, or damage by association, to the Trust or School, to the reputation of either, to the School’s students or to the beneficiaries of either, or when the activities or business of the donor would be in conflict with the stewardship principles and ethical investing approach of the Trust’s investment managers.
  • The acceptance of a gift may impact on the School’s academic integrity and independence, or there is an expectation of personal influence / advancement;
  • The offer of support will impact educational programmes / activities which, whilst within the Guildhall School’s remit, is nevertheless impractical.
  • An association with the donor risks alienating trustees, students, audiences or other donors.
  • The stewardship expected is unreasonable or disproportionate to the value of the gift.
  • The support consists of goods, services or property the Trust and School cannot lawfully use or sell to support their work, or which are impractical for the Trust and School to receive.
  • The donation is entirely anonymous, and the provenance of such a gift cannot be established in order to fulfil our legal obligations.

In exceptional circumstances, for example where new information comes to light, a donation (or the unspent funds thereof) may be returned to a donor or sponsor.

Anti-Bribery and Corruption

The Trust and the School adhere to the City of London Corporation policies regarding anti-bribery and corruption, and would never accept a gift that presented a contravention of such policies.

Modern Slavery

The Trust and the School adhere to the City of London Corporation policies regarding Modern Slavery and would never accept a gift that presented a contravention of such policy.

Due diligence on donations / Sources of Income

In order to comply with Charity Commission regulations, the Trust and the School perform due diligence research on donations of £5,000 or more in order to ensure that donated funds do not present an ethical or reputational risk to the Trust or the School, as per the criteria above.

Gift Agreements

The Trust and the School utilise Gift Agreements to set out the agreement made between the donors and the Trust and the School. They are intended to give supporters reassurance that their wishes will be respected and ensures the Trust and the School have a clear record of what has been agreed at the point of donation, which can otherwise be lost or misinterpreted over time.

Gift Agreements are issued for gifts of more than £5,000 where they fulfil one or more of the following conditions:

  • Gifts for restricted funding
  • Gifts for which bespoke stewardship has been agreed
  • Gifts with naming rights
  • Endowed gifts
  • Gifts from corporate companies
  • Any gift of £15,000 or more, regardless of whether or not any of the above conditions apply.

Gift Agreements are signed by the Head of Development or Deputy Head of Development and copies are retained by both the Development Office and the donor.

Anonymous Donations

In cases where a donor requests anonymity, this will be respected so far as we are able to within our statutory obligations. Please note that for transparency, such donors will be known to the School’s Development & Alumni Relations Office, Finance Office, Gift Acceptance Committee and Chairman of Guildhall School Trust where necessary.

Anonymous gifts are treated in exactly the same way as a publicly credited gift, and the Trust and School would never accept a gift anonymously that it would be unwilling to accept publicly.

Acceptance of instruments and scores

The Trust and the School are very grateful for gifts of all kinds, including instruments and collections of musical scores wherever practical.

Gifts of instruments can make a real difference to our students, but in the first instance we must ensure that instruments are resilient enough to withstand the intensity of conservatoire performance. The Trust and the School encourage supporters to discuss such gifts with the School in advance, and both reserve the right to refuse, sell or pass on instruments which are not suitable for School use.

Gifts of scores have enabled the School to build an important collection of resources since its inception, but space is severely limited. As we are only able to keep those donations which will make a significant contribution to the collection, we recommend you discuss a possible gift of scores with the School in advance.

Referring a case to the Gift Acceptance Committee

In such cases where a clear concern is identified in regards to accepting a potential gift, either through due diligence research or where a donation presents a possible contravention of the Trust’s and the School’s Gift Acceptance Policy, the Head of Development will refer to the School’s Gift Acceptance Committee which has School and Trust representation.

The Gift Acceptance Committee (GAC) is chaired by the Vice-Principal & Director of Advancement. All decisions made by the GAC are binding.

Delegation of Authority

The School’s Development & Alumni Relations Office operates this policy under delegated authority from the School’s Board of Governors in conjunction with the Trust’s Board of Trustees, who jointly retain overall responsibility for decisions relating to the acceptance of gifts. Oversight of this policy is delegated to the Gift Acceptance Committee (GAC) by the Board of Governors in conjunction with the Board of Trustees.

Authority for the solicitation and acceptance of gifts is delegated by the School’s Board of Governors in conjunction with the Trust’s Board of Trustees as follows:

  • Gifts to the value of £1m – Head of Development, Guildhall School
  • Gifts valued over £1m up to £5m – Gift Acceptance Committee
  • Gifts over £5m – Board of Governors, Guildhall School and Board of Trustees, Guildhall School Trust

All decisions made by the relevant authority are binding.

Policy approved by GST Board & School Senior Management Team June 2020


1 This policy refers to the following kinds of donation – cash, donations in kind, shares, legacies, pro-bono support, sponsorship, corporate donations and other tangible assets.