Gift Acceptance, Documentation & Tracking Tools

LAST UPDATED: June 20, 2014

What You Should Know

Most gifts are term gifts — expendable funds that are applied to project grants.

When your department receives a gift, you’ll send the gift, accompanying documentation, and the project grant number to Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) or, if the gift is from an individual, to Alumni and Donor Records (ADR). CFR or ADR then officially accepts the gift and acknowledges the donor. The gift is recorded and posted to the general ledger. You’ll be able to view the gift amount and its restriction information on the TG001 report.

Accepting Term Gifts

It’s extremely important to accept a gift in the right way. Simply receiving a check in your department does not mean the University has accepted the gift.

Once a gift is accepted, it is irrevocable and the restrictions placed on its use must be strictly observed. These guidelines will help you to ensure that gifts are properly accepted:

  • Appropriate documentation must accompany gifts. The documentation must be signed by authorized individuals. Do not sign any agreements, forms, or any other gift documentation you receive from the donor.
  • Only certain central University officials may accept gifts. Please refer to the Gift Administration policy for further details.
  • Gifts are recorded and entered into the University’s accounting systems so that use of the money can be tracked.

Note: Before proposing a gift to a corporation or foundation, submit your documentation to CFR for review. Once you receive the gift, the signature of an official at CFR is required for acceptance.

Appropriate Documentation for Term Gifts

Gifts come in various forms, for example, checks, securities, and gifts-in-kind. Term gifts are predominately cash and checks. Any gift and its accompanying documentation is sent to Alumni and Donor Records (ADR) or to Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR).

Important documentation can include:

  • A signed gift agreement.
  • A signed letter from the donor in which they indicate the intent of the gift.
  • An envelope

Note: Everything additional you receive from the donor may provide important information. For example, the envelope used to transmit the gift may help to establish the date of the gift.

Tracking & Use

The University uses project grants to track gifts and assure that departments spend restricted gift monies according to the donor’s wishes and in accordance with gift acceptance practices.

  • Use an existing project grant, if the gift purpose is exactly the same.
  • Use a new project grant if the department doesn’t have an existing project grant with the same purpose and/or if the gift has donor-specified financial reporting or stewardship requirements.
  • Sometimes donors give gifts with instructions such as “to be used as the department chairman deems necessary”. Rather than deposit the gift into a project grant with specified restrictions, set up a “departmental gift” project grant.

For Example

Orange & Black, Inc. sends a check to your department accompanied by a letter specifying, “The gift is for the purpose of purchasing large tiger cages. A financial report is required to the company in six months”.  Your department already has a large tiger cage project grant. Do you use the existing project grant or open a new one?

In order to fulfill the financial reporting requirements, open a new project grant.

A donor sends a $20,000 check to your department accompanied by a letter that specifies, “The gift is for the purpose of purchasing large cages. Any remaining balance may be used for research travel”. Your department anticipates purchasing two larges cages that total $18,000. You already have a project grant for small cages, a project grant for medium cages, and a project grant for research travel. Into which project grant should the gift be deposited?

Open a new, large cage project grant, as the gift specifies large cages. Any remaining balance after the purchase of large cages can be transferred to the research travel project grant. Or, open a project grant specifically for this gift and use it for both cage purchase and research travel. If you receive additional gifts for the purchase of large cages, then you would need to open a new, large cage project grant.

Tracking Tool: the Term Gift Report 

Once your gift has been recorded in STRIPES and posted to the general ledger, you’ll be able to view the amount, the restriction information, and track the use of the money using the TG001, or Term Gift Report, in the folder entitled “University Financials-Reports/Term Gift Restriction” in the Information Warehouse.

Tracking Tool: the Invested Funds Report

Invested fund restriction information appears on the IF001 and IF002 reports, in the folder entitled "University Financials-Reports/Invested Funds" in the Information Warehouse.

Further Reading


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