March 7 Webinar

Future Proofing Our Fund Terms

Presentation Slides
Webinar Recording

About the Webinar

Covid proved we can’t predict three years into the future, much less 50, 100, or 200 years. Yet when we draft endowed fund terms that is what we are required to do, and even before Covid, I learned the hard way that Current Use funds need to be future-proofed too. How do we protect the donor’s intent and the needs of our organizations? While I think we at Northeastern have developed powerful language that covers most contingencies, I am sure there are situations that we haven’t encountered. Hopefully, everyone will bring their own horror story they have lived through and provide their solution. We will cover the importance of flexibility throughout your terms (because it’s expensive to go to court) and how to explain to gift officers and donors why we need the language we are using. The evolution of our endowed fund terms language over the last 12 years not only helps to better protect Northeastern from future legal bills but also our donors by assuaging their concerns that their fund will still do what they want it to do far into the future (and so do the mini “out clauses” we have throughout the terms.) And then also review how current use funds also need to be protected.

Learning Objectives

  1. How to develop a phrase library for both endowed and current use funds to help “future proof” your donor’s intention
  2. Understanding how this phrase library can be even better in addressing common funding scenarios
  3. Understand why out clauses are just as important for current-use funds as for endowed funds

Target Audience

Shop Size

Experience Level

Suitable for all audiences Small Shop (1-5 staff); Medium Shop (6-10 staff) Newcomer (0-3 years); Mid-Career (4-8 years)

About the Presenters

David Hough, Director of Fund Management, Northeastern University

David joined Northeastern’s donor relations team 15 years ago, tasked with doing the scholarship reporting. Just two years later he became responsible for drafting all the fund terms for individual donors and internal MOU’s.  A thousand drafts later, he is still in search of the foolproof out clause.


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