Is it better to make a restricted or unrestricted gift?

DoveLewis staff sometimes get questions about the difference between an “unrestricted” versus a “restricted” donation. The short answer is that your gift to DoveLewis, whether restricted or unrestricted, directly helps animals in the hospital.

Read on for further details about the differences between these two types of impactful gifts.

What is an unrestricted gift?

When you make a gift to a nonprofit organization with no other instruction, the gift is generally considered “unrestricted,” supporting the area of greatest need in that organization.

In most cases, nonprofits tend to prefer to receive unrestricted gifts, as those donations allow for maximum flexibility.

DoveLewis, as a nonprofit organization, follows this model and allocates your gift to the program where support is most needed – whether it’s keeping the lights on or supporting the care of a pet of a low-income family.

What is a restricted gift?

Sometimes, individuals are particularly passionate about one area of work that a nonprofit performs, and designate their gift for a specific program. These are considered restricted gifts. Nonprofit organizations are required by law to use a restricted gift in the manner communicated by the donor.

DoveLewis currently offers the ability to restrict your donation to the Velvet Assistance Fund, Stray Animal & Wildlife Program, Charlie Fund, Blood Bank, Portland Area Canine Therapy Teams, Pet Loss Support Program, or the DoveLewis Hospital Expansion. And sometimes for the purchase of specific equipment.

We can help you select the program that most aligns with your interests – simply call or send an email to a member of the Development staff.

What is the best kind of gift to give?

While we appreciate unrestricted gifts at DoveLewis, we also want to help you fulfill your philanthropic priorities. All of our programs are important, and all require different funding levels at different times of the year. The best gives is the one that satisfies your goals and meets the existing needs of the organization.

By speaking with a Development Officer, you can learn about the organization’s most pressing needs at any given time, as well as determine how to structure and time your gift to maximize the impact you want to make. 


Chris McDonald

Development Officer

Recent Posts