Policy Number: 203
Gifts: Solicitation, Acceptance, Processing, Acknowledgement and Stewardship
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
The Office of Institutional Advancement ("OIA") serves as The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston's ("university") agent for all philanthropic fundraising programs and for all solicitations, acceptance, processing and stewardship of charitable contributions. This includes the responsibility of maintaining all gift records and acknowledging each gift according to applicable law, regulation, The University of Texas System policy and procedure, and university policy and procedure.
All gifts received by the university must be processed through OIA.
To achieve and maintain appropriate relationships with potential and current contributors, the university has established guidelines for soliciting, accepting, processing, acknowledging, and stewarding gifts. All faculty, staff and students who represent the university to a potential or current contributor must abide by these guidelines.
Gift: A commitment in the form of cash, pledge, securities, bequest/trust distributions, life insurance, real estate, in-kind and other transferable assets received by the university from an individual, corporation, foundation or other entity that is given with the intent of supporting the university's mission and programs, with no expectation of benefit other than the university expending the contribution for any mutually agreed upon purposes. The contribution is a nonreciprocal transfer in that there is no implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services, or provision of exclusive information. If the contributor receives benefits in return for the contribution, the amount of the gift recorded and reported is reduced by the fair market value of all benefits given, according to U.S. Internal Revenue Services ("IRS") regulations. In some instances, gifts requiring specific stewardship activities (for example, annual financial reports and reporting on the use of the funds) may be handled as grants in the university's accounting system even though OIA developed the relationship with the contributor and solicited the gift. Gifts may be restricted or unrestricted by the donor. A restricted gift must be used by the university only for the specified purpose designated by the donor. An unrestricted gift may be used by the university in accordance with university and University of Texas System policies.
Receiving a Gift: The handling of the gift instrument, whether it is a check, cash, stock certificate, letter or other item.
Accepting a Gift: The approval of a gift as an appropriate donation to the university.
Processing a Gift: The moving of the gift through the administrative and financial branches of the university.
Acknowledgement: Refers to tax receipts and thank you letters from the President and other stewardship activities related to appreciating the contributor's gift.
A. Solicitation of Gifts
Prior to soliciting a gift from a private source, an employee must receive approval from the Vice President for Institutional Advancement or the Director of Development supporting the employee's school or unit.
All proposals to be submitted to a potential contributor must be routed through OIA.
B. Gift Acceptance
Acceptance of a gift imposes a legal obligation to comply with the terms established by the contributor.
OIA must review and approve all gifts prior to acceptance by the university. Gifts over $1,000,000 and certain other gifts as specified by the University of Texas System must be submitted to the Board of Regents for formal acceptance. Refer to Rule 60101, Acceptance and Administration of Gifts, The University of Texas System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations.
OIA may further define gift acceptance policy with respect to a particular fundraising campaign to include specific reporting standards and guidelines for particular types of complex gifts.
C. Gift Processing
Within one working day of receiving a gift, the school/department must forward the gift and related correspondence to OIA for deposit via the bursar's office using the required gift deposit forms and tamper-proof bags (https://inside.uthouston.edu/finance/bursars/). OIA will record the gift in the contributor's record, deposit the gift in the appropriate departmental account, and receipt the contributor per IRS regulations.
The minimum amount to establish an individually budgeted account is $1,000. To establish such an account, the appropriate chair and dean should forward a request to OIA that indicates the proposed account title and the name of the designated account manager. Gifts less than $1,000 must be deposited into an existing account.
D. Acknowledgement and Stewardship of Gifts
Contributors play a critical role in the growth of the university. To communicate effectively the university's appreciation, OIA administers a gift acknowledgement system, to inform contributors in a timely manner of the receipt and use of their gifts.
In every case, the recipient of a gift should acknowledge it promptly with a thank you letter to the donor. Program directors, department chairs and deans are encouraged to express appreciation to contributors. When appropriate, thank you letters may also be sent by the President, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and development officers involved in soliciting the gift. OIA coordinates the thank you letters sent by the President or Vice President.
OIA conducts additional stewardship activities such as site visits and contributor recognition events as appropriate. Individual schools may also wish to recognize contributors or groups of contributors in other ways at the school's expense and in coordination with OIA. All contributor recognition activities are subject to the availability of funds within each school or unit that is the donee.
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