Fundraising Policy

Month/Year Posted: 
July, 2012
Policy Number: 
DAR 11-08
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations (Development Office) and the Humboldt State University Advancement Foundation (HSUAF) are responsible for raising and managing private gift funds for Humboldt State University. Working with deans, faculty, and staff, the Development Office provides specialized fundraising services including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, prospect research, and fundraising consultation. In addition, the Development Office is responsible for the stewardship of gifts. This includes the acceptance, receipt, recording and acknowledgement of all campus gifts, maintaining accurate donor and gift records, and donor stewardship. 
HSUAF’s responsibilities include the management and administration of contributions received on behalf of the University and its related organizations. The HSUAF is responsible for:
  • The management and administration of all endowments, bequests, estates, trust arrangements, in which the University or HSUAF is the intended beneficiary; 
  • Investment of endowment monies and securities; 
  • Accounting and reporting for individual gift accounts; 
  • Valuation of gifts for internal (not for the donor) reporting purposes; 
  • Compliance with federal and state laws and regulations regarding said contributions; and 
  • Acceptance, management, and sale of gifts of real and personal property.
Since the HSUAF is organized and operated exclusively for education purposes, it is exempt from income tax under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Because the HSUAF is not a private foundation under Section 509(a) of the IRS Code, contributions made to the HSUAF on behalf of the University are charitable contributions for federal and state tax purposes and are deductible by donors in computing corporate, partnership, estate, and personal income taxes.
HSU strongly encourages the solicitation and acceptance of gifts that enable it to fulfill its purpose of teaching, scholarship, and community service.
Gifts may be sought from individuals, corporations, and foundations, as well as federal, state, and local governments. They may be sought only for purposes, positions, and programs that have appropriate academic or administrative approval. 
The University values and will protect its integrity, its independence, and the academic freedom of the academic community. Gifts that may expose HSU to adverse publicity, require expenditures beyond University resources, or involve HSU in unexpected responsibilities because of their source, condition, or purposes will not be accepted.
HSU is unable to accept gifts too restrictive in purpose or inconsistent with its stated academic purpose and priorities. Gifts received by HSU must not inhibit it from accepting gifts from other donors. Further, no gift can be received which limits, beyond a general definition of subject area, the research that a faculty member or student can perform. 
Solicitation for any gifts by HSU departments or programs must be approved by the Development Office at least 30 days prior to any solicitation. The Communication, Solicitation and Fundraising Event forms can be found on Development’s web page at Please note that one or both of these forms is to be submitted for all types of communication for fundraising. 
If a fundraising event is planned, it must be submitted for approval to the Development Office 30 days prior to the event. For events projected to raise $5,000 or more, a budget plan, proof of vendor insurance and vendor contracts must be submitted. For events projected to raise less than $5,000, proof of vendor insurance and vendor contracts if a vendor is being used for any part of the event must be submitted. Additionally, you will need to contact the Gift Processing Center Supervisor to arrange for a university cashier to handle payment processing at your event.
The State of California regards raffles as gambling events and they are prohibited without prior registration and approval by the Department of Justice. All raffles must be planned and approved at least 90 days prior to the event to provide adequate time for registration.
HSU cannot accept gifts which involve unlawful discrimination based upon race, sex, age, national origin, color, handicap, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Nor can HSU accept gifts that obligate it to violate any other applicable law or regulation. 
This policy is designed to provide guidance to the Humboldt State University community and the general public so as to facilitate the gift-giving process. The University does not intend to stifle philanthropic creativity. Therefore, this policy is to be interpreted liberally so that prospective donors may enjoy the greatest freedom possible in formulating their gifts.
A. Non Gifts
Payments for goods or services (benefits such as thank you gifts, event tickets, T-shirts, etc.) are considered revenue and may not be deposited to gift accounts, except for certain approved benefit events or premium offers. 
Checks from tax-supported agencies in the State of California will not be processed as gifts, because it is illegal for any tax-supported agency in the state to make a donation. 
Scholarship payments where the donor has selected the recipient(s) of the award(s) are not gifts and are referred to as Service Scholarships or Level 3 Awards and should be processed through the Financial Aid Office. 
Royalties, expert testimony, consulting fees, and honoraria may be processed as gifts only from the University employee who generated the payment. 
University employees cannot be credited with gifts contributed to budgets of which they are the direct recipients. In such cases—e.g., a department chair that wishes to provide discretionary support—the gift should be directed to a fund administered by someone other than the donor. 
Payments imposing detailed performance criteria, contractual obligations, and/or the performance of a specified product within a specified time frame, the University treats as grants or contracts rather than gifts. Grants and contracts are solicited and administered through the Sponsored Program Foundation.
B.     Gift Transmittal
All gifts to the University must be receipted by its Gift Processing Center (GPC) and further directed through the Development Office where they are properly acknowledged and recorded.  All gifts of cash, checks, or other assets sent to the GPC for deposit must be accompanied by written documentation (memorandum, email or other format) or a gift transmittal form with the following information:
·         Donor name;
·         Account number if known; 
·         Name of responsible person to whom acknowledgment should be sent (particularly in the case of corporate checks or bequests); 
·         Copies of all correspondences relating to the gift, including departmental, acknowledgments, and the donor's letterhead or other standard documentation. 
For non-cash gifts: The physical location of the gifted item must be included on the gift transmittal form. Checks should be made payable to the Humboldt State University Advancement Foundation. It is critical that title to gifts of Securities and Real Property be transferred to the Advancement Foundation, not Humboldt State University. 
All cash gifts (checks) must be sent to the GPC for immediate deposit, and not held in the department or school. If there are outstanding questions regarding donor wishes, adjustments may be made at a later date. In the case of non-cash gifts, all documents pertaining to the gift must be submitted using the In-Kind Gift Proposal Form found on the Development forms web site:
  1. Gift Acceptance
Gift Acceptance is the responsibility of the Development Office and the HSUAF. While gift acknowledgment is encouraged at the department level, gift acceptance recording and acknowledgment that provides the donor with a receipt for tax purposes is the responsibility of the Development Office and the HSUAF. The Development Office is also responsible for recording each donor's contributions as well as maintaining current information on the donor (i.e. address, phone, email, spouse information, constituency, etc.)
  1. Authorized Agents
The HSUAF has the authority to accept such gifts, grants, conveyances, devises, and bequests, whether real or personal property, in trust or otherwise, for the designated or undesignated use or benefit of the University, its schools, or departments. 
The Vice President for University Advancement and the Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations have been delegated authority by the University President to accept all gifts or bequests to HSU (“Delegation of Authority” can be found on the University Advancement web site:, under “Reports and General Documents”). The acceptance procedure is formalized by presentation to the donor of an official gift receipt. Gifts that may result in current or future financial obligations by the HSUAF will require approval of the Executive Director and the Finance Committee of the HSUAF Board of Directors. The President of HSU and the HSUAF Board of Directors must approve all gifts of Real Property. The Vice President for University Advancement shall consider said gift and make a recommendation to the HSUAF Board of Directors.
  1. Pledge Payments and Reminders
Overdue pledge payments for campaigns other than the annual fund are handled on a case-by-case basis. Annual fund donors are sent a reminder each month until payment is made. Written or verbal request for cancellation of the pledge is reviewed and if deemed uncollectible, the pledge is written-off (approximately six months after the original pledge date). The Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and the Advancement Services Manager have the authority to write-off annual fund and campaign pledges.
  1. Donor Information Confidentiality
The HSU donor information system is maintained using the Raiser’s Edge database. Access is restricted to authorized users who are granted access by signing a confidentiality agreement and being given a password. The access to specific forms is determined by the security clearance that is granted by the Advancement Services Manager and the Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.
Donor information is treated as confidential information. Primary access is by authorized users, although selected information may be printed and distributed to student callers, campaign volunteers and selected campus officials.