Gift Acceptance - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the approval points and steps for the clear and transparent acceptance of financial and non-financial philanthropic gifts and grants to The University of Queensland.

Gift acceptance procedures ensure that:

  • Gifts are accepted in accordance with UQ policies;
  • Gifts support approved areas of need;
  • The purpose of the gift and relevant information about the donor and the gift are clearly documented for administrative purposes; and
  • The gift can be allocated as intended.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Cash – includes money, cheques, foreign currency or gifts made by credit card

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) – an entity or fund that can receive tax deductible gifts

Endowed Gift – a gift provided for investment with UQ, through its Corpus Investment Account, with the interest used to support the specified purpose within the University

Gifts-in-Kind – a contribution generally defined as non-financial gifts of materials or long-lived assets.  Gifts-in-kind might include real estate, artwork, equipment, software, printed materials or food etc.

Intangible Property – gifts that are saleable but not possessing intrinsic value, for example intellectual property, patents, goodwill etc.

Pledge – a promise or commitment to make a gift in the future, that can be paid in single or multiple instalments.

Prospect Manager – the advancement staff member responsible for orchestrating (managing) the relationship of a prospective or current donor with the University

Restricted Gift – a gift to be offered with specific intent placed by the donor on its use

Unsolicited Gift – a gift that has not gone through a Prospect Management phase, but has been offered directly to the University without solicitation

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all University of Queensland staff and affiliates, as well as volunteers involved with University fundraising activities.

Anyone who acts for or on behalf of the University to facilitate philanthropic contributions to the University must adhere to University policy and related procedures.

4. Procedures Statement

Gift Acceptance broadly refers to the final stage of gift solicitation; commencing with verbal discussions on proposal development, prior to the formal gift solicitation, and completed when the gift agreement is signed and the appropriate documentation is submitted to UQ Advancement for gift processing.

The University seeks to further its mission through the financial and voluntary support of individuals and organisations. Gift Acceptance Procedures ensure that the interests of the donor, the University and its staff and representatives are preserved and that gifts are documented appropriately.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

5.1 UQ Advancement

UQ Advancement is responsible for the engagement, communication and education of the University and broader community in relation to the nature and impact of philanthropy, and the promotion of the philanthropic community.

UQ Advancement is headed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Advancement). UQ Advancement oversees the execution of these procedures to ensure that the University is compliant with government regulation, University policy and donor intent.  Referring to ATO Rulings, UQ Advancement is charged with determining whether or not a gift is philanthropic in nature, and what should be counted as fundraising revenue.

The PVC (Advancement) will determine when legal counsel is required.

UQ Advancement is responsible for:

  • liaising with prospect managers to ensure that gifts and philanthropic grant income are documented appropriately;
  • issuing charitable tax receipts, acknowledgement letters, and payment reminders or invoices as per the terms of the commitment;
  • maintaining the corporate record for gifts and philanthropic grants income; and
  • reporting transparently to the University, its donors and the wider community on the application and impact of fundraising revenues.

5.2 Prospect managers

Prospect managers work with academic and volunteer leaders to ensure due process at all stages of prospect cultivation, solicitation and gift acceptance according to University policy and procedures.  Prospect managers are charged with documenting all aspects of gift solicitation and acceptance in the University’s database of record for external relationship management, as well as compiling all documentation required for gift acceptance and processing.

5.3 All University staff

Any UQ staff member may be involved in fundraising or fundraising administration within UQ. Non advancement staff work in partnership with prospect managers to satisfy the philanthropic intentions of prospective donors and to ensure that gifts support institutional priorities and achieve the desired impact.

5.4 The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and Income Tax Exempt Charity (ITEC) through the Australian Tax Office (ATO). As such, UQ has a responsibility to meet all ATO rules and guidelines with regards to accepting and disbursing gifts.

6. Soliciting and Accepting Gifts

The University actively seeks, promotes, encourages and accepts gifts and philanthropic grants, including the following:

  • Cash
  • Pledges
  • Securities
  • Real estate
  • Personal property
  • Life insurance
  • Bequests
  • Gifts-in-kind.

Gifts will be accepted to support the strategic goals of the University as endorsed from time to time by Senate. Only authorised people as approved by Senate (detailed in PPL 1.10.04 Gift Acceptance Delegations – Policy) may accept such gifts and philanthropic grants on behalf of the University.

As most gifts are solicited and directed for a specific purpose, it is incumbent upon all those involved in gift solicitation to ensure that the receiving entity may expend the gift as intended. Therefore to ensure due diligence during gift acceptance, additional approvals and documentation are required as part of the gift acceptance procedures.  These additional approvals and documentation are detailed in Section 8.

6.1 Gifts for UQ-associated organisations

UQ may enter into an agreement to accept gifts on behalf of selected UQ-associated organisations or affiliated entities subject to that entity’s gift acceptance policy and ATO guidelines.

Although organisations such as UQ Union, UQ Sport and similar sporting clubs are separate entities, or incorporated bodies external to UQ, gifts made to UQ to be directed to these organisations are considered to be for the benefit of university students, and therefore can be accepted by UQ.

7. Aspects of Gift Acceptance

The prospect management cycle comprises several stage gates at which the University and the donor must consider whether or not the University can accept a gift. These include:

  • The purpose for which the gift is being solicited and alignment with University priorities;
  • The feasibility of carrying out the purpose at the proposed level of investment;
  • Whether or not University funds are required;
  • Source of the gift as it relates to the values and purposes of the University;
  • The eligibility of affiliated UQ entities for fundraising purposes (UQ Advancement will maintain a list);
  • Any restrictions that determine whether the University can accept the commitment as a gift (eg DFAT sanctions); and,
  • Ability to use non-cash gifts or convert them to cash.

Gift acceptance procedures and associated business processes in respect to the above ensure that documentation exchanged with prospective donors is retained and the necessary University and donor approvals are secured before gift acceptance is finalised.

8. Required Documentation

Any requests made by a donor or the University must be documented clearly in writing. This may take the form of a proposal, Will, Expression of Intent, formal letter from the donor to the University, or from the University to the donor.

Except in the cases of online giving and mail out appeals, a gift is not deemed accepted until a Gift Cover Form has been completed and forwarded with relevant documentation to UQ Advancement Gift Services for gift processing and acknowledgement.

As part of the due diligence and the approvals process, the following documentation and additional sign-offs are required before a gift may be fully accepted.


Gift Conditions

Documents Required


Unsolicited, unrestricted gift < $1,000

Donor contact details in writing.  

Note: In cases where a donor wishes to remain anonymous, their full contact details still need to be recorded, to ensure the source of the gift meets the values and purposes of the University.


Unsolicited, restricted gift > $1,000

As in 8.1 plus:

  • Correspondence indicating donor intent, signed by the donor (print or electronic signature)


Solicited gift  > $50,000

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Acceptance document co-signed by UQ


Multi-Purpose (Split) Gift  

As in 8.2 plus:

  • A letter or form, signed by the donor, detailing the proportional distribution of the gift


Pledge / Recurring gift 

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Payment schedule specified in the documentation
  • Clear instructions on method of Pledge Reminders and payment (shown on Gift Cover Form)


Gifts to Establish a new Endowment Fund

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Documentation indicating the gift, intent and any naming

Post Gift Acceptance Administration:

  • Senate minutes approving endowment establishment
  • Project Request Form to set up an endowment and associated account (completed by UQ Advancement)


Testamentary Gifts (Realised Bequests, Legacies and Non Estate Assets) 

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Name and contact details of the executor
  • Donor’s Will or relevant clause in the Will of the deceased


Gifts for Research Purposes 

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Documentation (email is not acceptable) signed by the donor, specifically stating the purpose is for research.

Post Gift Acceptance Administration:

  • If > $10,000, UQ Funding Application Cover sheet (FAC) submitted to and GRL raised and processed by UQ Research & Innovation - Research Management Office (RMO).


Gifts for Scholarships

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Senate minute or Organisational Unit equivalent, providing details on scholarship rules


Gifts for buildings (new or renovations)

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Joint memo from the head of the benefiting unit and the PVC (Advancement) to the Vice-Chancellor stating the purpose of the gift and cost-benefit analysis


Gifts requiring outlay of University funds

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Acceptance document, signed by appropriate UQ Financial Delegate for the expenditure of UQ funds (in accordance with PPL 1.10.02)



As in 8.3 plus:

  • Valuation by independent approved appraiser


Cultural Property 

As in 8.3 plus:

  • Relevant documentation as required by the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program


Shares/Stocks and Marketable Securities 

As in 8.3 plus:

  • Valuation by independent approved appraiser
  • Title deed of property


Real Property – Real Estate 

As in 8.3 plus:

  • Valuation by independent approved appraiser
  • Title deed of property
  • Memo to PVC (Advancement) documenting benefits, risks and any hidden costs or encumbrances


Personal Property

As in 8.3 plus:

  • Valuation certificate by independent approved appraiser
  • Legal certificate of ownership


Student Prizes and Other Awards

As in 8.9 plus:

  • Award rules



(Refer to PPL 8.15.01)

As in 8.2 plus:

  • Proposal from UQ receiving entity for the specific entity to be named
  • Senate minutes approving the naming

If a delegated authority has a concern about meeting any gift acceptance requirements, the PVC (Advancement) should be consulted in the first instance for advice.

9. Types of Gifts

The following provides information on specific gift types and purposes and additional requirements that need to be considered before gift acceptance can be finalised.

9.1 Cash

All cash gifts must be processed through UQ Advancement.

9.2 Non-cash gifts

Non-cash gifts are valued at fair market value, in most cases using a qualified, independent appraiser.  (Note: it is the donor’s responsibility to obtain independent valuation for tax deduction purposes). In cases where it is difficult to determine the financial value of a gift, the Gift Acceptance Delegate will work with UQ Advancement and the relevant UQ expert to ensure that the gift is considered properly.

9.3 Restricted gifts

It is common for a gift to be offered with specific intent placed by the donor on its use. To enable the University to determine whether the contribution is a gift, sponsorship or other contractual relationship, prospect managers are required to file contact reports to clearly delineate between gift restrictions self-imposed by the University and those requested (or required) by the funder.

Conditions placed on a gift that provide material benefit to a donor disqualify it from being considered a gift.

9.4 Endowment gifts

The value of gifts to establish restricted purpose endowment funds must provide the capacity to create an inflation-adjusted income stream equal or sufficient to meet all disbursement requirements (PPL 9.20.03 Managed Investment Portfolio).

UQ Advancement will from time to time set minimum endowment levels for different gift purposes (e.g. scholarships and prizes). The minimum gift for establishing an endowment fund would normally be $25,000 to fund a prize, and $100,000 to fund a scholarship or other purposes.

Requests to establish endowment funds must be submitted via the PVC (Advancement) for Senate approval.

9.5 Testamentary gifts

The Senior Advancement Manager (Bequests and Planned Giving) is responsible for overseeing the process of negotiating, accepting and receiving gifts via bequests, legacies and non-estate assets, and they should be notified as soon as a donor indicates interest in leaving a gift to the University via a will.

Relationships must be clearly documented through contact reports recording the nature, longevity and extent of the relationship with the University over a lifetime. This documentation forms the corporate record at the time a testamentary gift is realised.

9.6 Gifts for research

A donor may nominate their intent that the gift be used for research purposes. If the gift meets the criteria laid out on the Research at UQ web page there is an opportunity for secondary gains (Commonwealth Government Funding) to be made.

Section 8 provides detail on the documents required for a gift to be directed to research purposes.

9.7 Gifts-in-kind

Any costs associated with accepting and administering gifts-in-kind will be borne by the donor or receiving area.

If the ongoing administration of the gift requires budgetary outlay from UQ, gift acceptance is subject to PPL 1.10.02 – Financial Delegations.

If not otherwise covered by the donor, the cost of disposal will be recovered from the proceeds of the gift.

The receiving area is responsible for liaising with Property and Facilities Division to ensure that retained gifts-in-kind are documented on the University’s inventory. Refer to PPL 9.50.02 - Property, Plant and Equipment.

9.8 Gifts under the cultural gift program

Cultural gifts may include artworks, rare books, artefacts, antiquities, scientific specimens and instruments, and items of historical significance to the University including records. The following University entities are authorised by the ATO to receive gifts of cultural property:

  • The UQ Art Museum
  • The Fryer Library
  • The Antiquities Museum
  • The Geology Museum
  • The Anthropology Museum

Enquiries about cultural gifts should be directed to the appropriate receiving area. Further details on the Cultural Gift Program can be found on the UQ Art Museum website.

9.9 Shares and marketable securities

Acceptance of shares and marketable securities is subject to the same assessment as other gifts. Prior to accepting a gift of shares and marketable securities, the Acceptance Delegate is to consult FBS (Treasury) to ensure all administrative measures are in place.

9.10 Real estate

The University does not accept partial or fractional interests in real property except for situations where acceptance of such an interest would present an extraordinary benefit for the University.

Only gifts of real estate that have an aggregate appraised market value of $100,000 or more can be accepted. The donor is required to provide the University with an independent appraisal establishing the market value.

The University will generally not accept real estate encumbered by a mortgage.

The University will consider accepting real estate if the donated property can be sold within a reasonable timeframe for a positive cash return or if the property will advance the University’s strategic objectives.

Consideration of a gift of real estate is made via a recommendation from the receiving area to the PVC (Advancement). The recommendation must include a detailed description of all anticipated costs, benefits and an assessment of any risks associated with acceptance of the gift.

9.11 Intangible property

The University may accept gifts of intangible property and record them as received.  However, such gifts are not eligible as charitable gifts.

9.12 Unsolicited gifts

At times gifts will not go through a Prospect Management phase but will be offered directly to the University without solicitation.   In these cases details of the gift are to be passed to the Director, Development and Philanthropy, to determine if the gift can be accepted and to assign a relevant Gift Acceptance Delegate to ensure appropriate procedures are carried out.

9.13 Naming

Donor recognition may be offered during gift acceptance, in accordance with PPL 8.15.01 - Naming.

Proposals for naming associated with philanthropic gifts and requiring Senate or senior executive approval must be submitted via the PVC (Advancement).

9.14 Gifts for scholarships and student awards

UQ Advancement is responsible for working with scholarship donors to establish the form a scholarship will take and administering any ongoing pledge arrangements that the donor has agreed to.  UQ Advancement works with the donor to establish:

  • Gift details – is the gift for the establishment of a named scholarship or a contribution to an existing scholarship fund;
  • Scholarship rules - where a donor requests specific rules under a named scholarship.

10. Declining a Gift

The University reserves the right to decline any gift that may morally, ethically or legally expose the University, result in adverse publicity, require commitment or expenditure beyond the University’s resources, or involve the University in unexpected responsibilities because of their source, restricted condition or purpose.

If, after negotiations, the University decides to decline an offer of a gift, the lead UQ staff member in the negotiating unit must, in consultation with UQ Advancement, prepare a letter of regret to the donor and ensure that the reasons for declining the gift are documented (reference Sections 6 and 7). The signatory on the letter must match Gift Acceptance Delegations, as outlined in PPL 1.10.04 - Gift Acceptance Delegations.  A copy of the letter must be retained on Raiser’s Edge.

There may be instances where donations previously accepted by UQ staff are required to be returned to the donor.  As with declining a gift, the lead UQ staff member in the negotiating unit must, in consultation with UQ Advancement, prepare a letter to the donor and ensure that the reasons for returning the gift are documented. The signatory on the letter must match Gift Acceptance Delegations, as outlined in PPL 1.10.04 - Gift Acceptance Delegations. A copy of the letter must be retained on Raiser’s Edge.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Advancement) Ms Jen Karlson
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Advancement) Ms Jen Karlson