Royal Society Gift acceptance policy and process

The Royal Society’s Gift acceptance policy sets out the principles that the organisation follows when accepting donations or gifts from external source such as individuals and organisations. The Policy is designed to assist the Royal Society’s Council, the Society’s governing body, to make informed and consistent decisions regarding the acceptance of gifts to ensure that the organisation is not exposed to risk or compromises its charitable mission and values and maintains its independence.

Gift acceptance policy

It is the duty of the Royal Society’s Council to direct the policy of the Society in a manner consistent with its Charters and Statutes. The members of Council are the Trustees of the Society as a registered charity and are responsible collectively for the policy and management of the Society in accordance with charity legislation. It is the Royal Society’s policy, that members of Council, and any individuals to whom the Council delegates its authority, assess for any potential risks when considering the acceptance of any funding from external private sources, including gifts, donations, legacies, grants, sponsorships, and partnerships. 

Before any funding is accepted, the Society, its Council and representatives consider whether acceptance would: 

  1. constitute a breach of any obligation under charity law or other legislation (including but not limited to the Proceeds of Crime Act, Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Act, and the Bribery Act)
  2. involve unacceptable risk of damage to the Society’s reputation
  3. be incompatible with the purposes or the strategic objectives of the Society.
  4. be inconsistent with the general ethos of the Society (as laid out in the Society’s Charters and Strategic Plan)
  5. be inconsistent with any specific ethical policy of the Society
  6. create undue additional costs or burdens for the Society 

Gift acceptance process

The Society carries out due diligence on any single gift or cumulative giving valued at more than £25,000, as per the Charities Commission’s definition of major giving. The Society takes into consideration, the source, potential use, and value of any funds offered to the Society. The Council and its representatives will also ensure the purposes of the funding and any associated obligations are agreed in writing between the Society and the provider of the funding, in order that a donation with additional conditions can be formally accepted. 

The Society’s Council and its representatives shall determine how any funding accepted by the Society without conditions is applied.