Gift Processing Guidelines

(Approved by the Vice President for University Advancement by authority of Executive Order No. 62)

Please refer to Grants Information Memorandum 34, Guidelines for Classification of Sponsored Projects and Gifts, to ensure that funds provided are appropriately classified as a gift to the institution.

Expenditures from gift accounts must comply with all applicable university policies, including but not limited to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Radiation Safety, Biosafety, and Disclosure of Significant Financial Interests.

1.  Overview of Documentation

The following procedures address the various types of gifts the University may receive, each of which has special processing considerations. For most gifts, processing is handled by Gift Processing. Unless the gift is accompanied by a reply form from an approved University solicitation, a Gift Transmittal form must be sent with the gift for processing. Gifts received without proper documentation to support charitable or donor intent will be returned to the originating department. Additionally, Gift Transmittal forms without the proper original signatures will also be returned to the originating department.

Gift Transmittal forms may be obtained online at or by contacting Gift Processing at 206–685–1980.

2.  Types of Gifts

a.  Checks

All checks should be made payable to the “University of Washington Foundation”. Checks made out to the “University of Washington”, specific schools, departments, or funds other than the “University of Washington Foundation” will be recorded as gifts to the “University of Washington”.

Checks should be sent to Gift Processing within five days of receipt. The bank will not process checks that are more than six months old. Checks in excess of $50,000 and all currency items should be hand-delivered.

Checks accompanied by a University solicitation reply form should be sent to Gift Processing with the envelope in which the gift arrived.

b.  Cash (Currency and Coins)

Cash must be deposited via the Cash Management office in Student Fiscal Service using a cash transmittal form. A copy of the cash transmittal should be sent along with the accompanying donor information to Gift Processing for recording and receipting.

c.  Credit Cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover)

The University of Washington accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards for gifts. If a donor wishes to make a gift by credit card, donors should be encouraged to give online at

Additionally, the Student Calling office or Gift Processing staff can assist in completion of credit card transactions over the phone.

To process a credit card transaction:

  • Contact the Student Calling office, 206–543–0656, or Gift Processing, 206-685-1980, for needed assistance with processing.
  • Obtain the donor’s card number, expiration date, amount of the gift, and fund designation.
  • Obtain written authorization from the donor, or if this is not possible, obtain a written confirmation from the University employee who spoke with the donor, to accompany the transaction.

d.  Stocks

University departments and development offices receiving stock certificates or notices of stock donations should forward these to Yelena Isakova at the Treasury Office, 206–685–3814, and provide the appropriate University budget number to credit.  Stock gift details are maintained on the UW Foundation site Gifts of Securities page.

Note:  Stock certificates should be hand-carried to the Treasury Office by the fastest means possible to avoid loss due to stock market fluctuations. Also, all correspondence, including the mailing envelope, should be delivered with the certificate.

The Treasury Office determines the value of the stock and sends weekly notification of incoming stock gifts to Development personnel. The Director of University Development is responsible for informing the President and the Vice President for Development about the donors’ stock gifts. When the proceeds from the sale of the stock are received, the Treasury Office sends the check and budget instructions to the Gift Processing Office. Gift Processing then issues a receipt to the donor with a statement regarding the deductibility of the stock appropriate to the current applicable tax law.

e.  Payroll Deductions

University employees may make gifts through payroll deduction. A Payroll Gift Deduction Request form for this purpose is available online at or from Gift Processing. Employees must sign a statement authorizing the deduction of a fixed sum from each of their paychecks to a valid gift fund. The start date must be at least ten days after the receipt of the form by Gift Processing. Employees may change or discontinue their deductions at any time by contacting either the Payroll Office or Gift Processing. However, payroll deductions should be made for at least six months duration.

f.  Foreign Bank Drafts and Foreign Currency Gifts

Foreign currency items, including Canadian dollar gifts, may be accepted in any amount, and will be credited at the U.S. dollar exchange rates applicable on the date deposited.

Foreign currency checks and U.S. dollar drafts drawn on foreign banks under $50.00 should be discouraged, as banking fees charged may be greater than the value of the check. The University’s bank will not accept foreign coins.

g.  Wire Transfers

If a donor wishes to make a gift via a wire transfer, the department should request the following from the donor:

  • The name and location of the donor’s bank which will initiate the wire transfer.
  • A letter to the department indicating the amount and intended purpose of the gift.
  • In return, the department will need to provide the donor with the following transfer information:
  • The name and address of the University’s bank to which the funds should be transferred:  Bank of America Seattle, WA
  • The University’s account information, including:
    • Account name:  University of Washington
    • Contact Gift Processing for account number and ABA Number
    • UW department name:
    • Budget name and number:

Next, the department should send e-mail to Kristina Madden,; Nanci Modolo,; and with the following information regarding the pending wire transfer:

  • Amount of gift.
  • Expected date of transfer.
  • Donor’s name.
  • Donor’s bank name and location.
  • Departmental budget name and number.

When a wire transfer has been received, the department is responsible for the following:

  • Completing a Gift Transmittal and forwarding it along with a copy of the donor’s letter (indicating the amount and intent of the gift where applicable).
  • Sending a letter of acknowledgment to the donor.

h.  Checks Payable to Third Parties

Checks made payable to third parties, such as faculty members or independent organizations, can be processed if endorsed by the payee on the back of the check: “pay to the order of the University of Washington Foundation (with signature of payee).” Gift Processing will recognize the payee as the legal donor of the gift, but may provide recognition credit to the original check writer.

i.  Royalties

The Washington State Executive Ethics Board released a new item stating that it is a violation of the state Ethics Act for a faculty member who is a state employee to make a profit on the sale of his or her textbooks to students at his or her educational institution. For more information, please refer to Faculty may redirect these payments in one of two methods:

  • The faculty may receive the royalties and write a personal check to donate the funds directly to the University of Washington. The faculty member will receive the appropriate tax receipt for the contribution.
  • The faculty may direct the publisher to directly donate the royalties to the University of Washington. The publisher will receive a tax receipt for the contribution, and the faculty will receive honorary credit for the gift(s).

All royalties directed to gift accounts must be accompanied by the Faculty Directed Royalties Gift Form.

Note:  Most royalties, honoraria, and consulting fees from the sponsoring organization paid directly to the University are accepted as “Assigned Income”, and credited to the individual who has redirected their payment to the University.

j.  Honoraria and Consulting Fees

Gifts that result from outside work by faculty and staff (e.g., compensation for serving on a corporate board, honoraria for speaking engagements, royalty compensation, etc.) As a reminder, whenever conducting outside work, faculty and staff must adhere to the Outside Professional Work for Compensation policy under Academic Human Resources.

Agreed upon compensation for outside work/services performed

If the faculty or staff member has negotiated or agreed upon the amount of compensation for work/service performed, the individual may opt to donate the compensation received to the University in the following ways:

  • Deposit the check in their personal bank account and writing a personal check as a donation to UW Foundation
  • Endorsing the original check from the organization, making it payable to the UW Foundation
  • Having the sponsoring organization send the payment directly to Gift Processing, along with a letter stating that the donation is being sent on behalf of the individual in lieu of direct payment

In all of these scenarios, the individual will receive a tax-deductible receipt, along with a name of the originating organization in the comment of the receipt.

Waiver of compensation for outside work/services performed

If the faculty or staff member has chosen to waive compensation for outside work, an organization who is engaging a speaker or consultant may opt to make a donation to the University in recognition of the individual’s work. In order for Gift Processing to process these as gifts from sponsoring organizations, a letter from the organization must accompany the Gift Transmittal form (a sample waiver letter may be found here), and the following statements must be true:

  • The Faculty or staff member declined compensation for work/services performed
  • There was no expectation of a gift to UW from the outside organization
  • The outside organization chose to make a gift payable to UW in recognition of the work performed by the individual

A full explanation of how UW processes gifts that result from outside work may be found under the heading Non-UW Compensation on this page:

Note:  When faculty are donating to programs whose budgets they administer, the faculty member and Dean must complete a Faculty Donated Gifts Form which confirms that the faculty member is not the sole contributor to the budget, and that money from the fund is dispensed impartially to support the educational purposes of the entire unit or department. This form may be obtained online at or from Gift Processing, 206–685–1980.

k.  Deferred Gifts (Trusts, Annuities, Life Insurance, Estates, Etc.)

All questions regarding deferred gifts should be directed to the Office of Gift Planning, 206–685–1001. Gift Processing makes gift reporting entries and provides donor recognition credit as instructed by the Office for Planned Giving.

l.  Bequests

Copies of wills and notices from attorneys regarding bequests should be promptly forwarded to the Office for Planned Giving. When the University receives a bequest distribution, the check and instructions regarding deposit will be forwarded to the Gift Processing Office by the Office for Planned Giving.

m.  Memorial Gifts

Memorial gifts are made in honor of a deceased person. They should be forwarded to Gift Processing with a Gift Transmittal form, just as any other gift. However, the acknowledgment process is different. Gift Processing does not automatically send out acknowledgments for memorial gifts because they require more personal attention. Development officers in the affected unit or department are responsible for the following:

  • Generating thank you letters and other gestures of appreciation to the donors.
  • Periodically sending lists of donors to family members or loved ones of the deceased (as designated by the donors).

If a department receives a memorial gift intended for funds in the School of Medicine, the gift should be directed to UW Medicine Advancement, where it will be reviewed, processed, and forwarded to Gift Processing.

n.  Independent Agencies Within the University

There are two types of independent agencies:

  • University agencies with the authority to prepare their own deposits, such as KUOW Radio, UW Alumni Association, and the UW Retirement Association.
  • Affiliated foundations, such as the Henry Art Gallery Association, the UW Law Foundation, and Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation.

Each independent agency making bank deposits independent of Gift Processing is responsible for gift acceptance, compliance with applicable laws and University policies, proper receipting, and donor acknowledgment. For advancement reporting purposes, each independent agency provides Gift Processing with lists of donations including the full names and addresses of donors, amounts, and copies of deposit materials. The list of donations must balance with the deposit.

Departments receiving gifts that are not in their area should contact the appropriate advancement office.

o.  Matching Gifts

Many corporations match gifts made by their employees. Development policy is to provide recognition credit for corporate matches to the individual employee who arranged for the University to receive the match. All matching gifts are credited to the same fund as the donor’s gift unless prohibited by the company’s matching gift policy.

In most cases, the employee obtains a form from the corporate employment or benefits office, completes a portion of the form with the corporation’s employee information, and then submits the form with the gift to the University.

All University units who receive corporate matching gift forms should forward the matching gift form and any related gift materials to Gift Processing.

A list of matching gift organizations and their policies may be reviewed at

p.  Intercollegiate Athletics Matching Gifts

Many companies state that they do not match gifts to the Department of Athletics if there are direct benefits to the donor, even if the funds are used for athletic scholarships. All seat-related gifts to Intercollegiate Athletics are 80% tax-deductible per IRS guidelines. Gift Processing will review the matching organization’s policies to determine which gifts may be eligible to be matched.

q.  In-Kind Gifts

In-kind gifts are gifts of tangible personal property or equipment. There are two types of in-kind gifts: related use and nonrelated use.

  • Related use allows the receiving unit or department to use the donated property or equipment. Development officers and their respective units are responsible for acknowledging and processing related use, in-kind gifts.
  • Nonrelated use occurs when equipment or property is intended for sale. These gifts are handled by the Office for Planned Giving and approved by the Vice President for Development and the Director of Gift Planning. Nonrelated use, in-kind gifts should be referred to the Director of Gift Planning, 206–685–1001.

Note:  The rest of this section refers exclusively to related use, in-kind gifts.

    1. Acceptance—Donations of tangible personal property or equipment should be carefully evaluated by the unit’s development officer and director or dean prior to acceptance. Considerations include:
      The gift should be desirable to the unit.
      The gift should not result in unanticipated expense or liability.
    2. Acceptance vs. Deductibility—The University issues receipts for tax purposes for gifts of tangible personal property noting “value unassigned”. The donor should be instructed to consult a tax advisor about the steps the donor needs to take to substantiate the deduction.
    3. Processing In-Kind Gifts—Donations of tangible personal property or equipment should be reported on the Gift Transmittal and sent with the appropriate documentation to Gift Processing. In-kind gifts should be reported regardless of whether or not a value can be assigned. Where values are unavailable, the box for “value unassigned” should be checked on the Gift Transmittal form.In order to assign a value for an in-kind gift, Gift Processing requires the following documentation:
    4. Independent Appraisals—The University cannot provide an independent appraisal of in-kind gifts, because it is a party to the transaction. If an independent appraisal is needed, it is the responsibility of the donor. The donor should be informed that the cost of an independent appraisal is tax deductible. A designation of “value unassigned” does not prevent the donor from having an appraisal made subsequently and using it in tax filings.The appraisal should contain the following information:
      Name, address, and qualifications of the appraiser.
      Date of appraisal.
      Description of property appraised.
      Method of valuation.
      Facts and analysis used in determining value.
    5. Acknowledgment—Letters of acknowledgment should be prepared by the receiving unit. The letter should be clear that the amount credited to the donor is distinct from a receipt for tax purposes.
    6. IRS Form 8283—In some instances, the donor may request the receiving department to sign IRS Form 8283, “Noncash Charitable Contributions.” When this occurs, the department head should sign the form in the “Donee Acknowledgment” area, which acknowledges receipt by a charitable organization. A copy of the form should be sent to the Office of Financial Management.
    7. Inventory of Equipment—To add the donated equipment to the receiving department’s inventory list, the department must tag the equipment and complete an Equipment Inventory Card to be forwarded to the Equipment Inventory Office (see Administrative Policy Statement 61.2.)

3.  Gift Receipting

a.  Policy

All donors to the University receive a receipt verifying the tax-deductibility of their gift. Gift receipts include the full amount of the payment, along with a notation of any goods or services received in exchange. Deferred gifts and estate distribution receipts are sent by the Office for Planned Giving.

b.  Undefined Gift Funds

For payments that are known to be gifts, Gift Processing makes every effort to work with the donor, development office, and/or department to determine the appropriate fund. When extensive delays occur, the gift may be placed in a suspense account. Gift Processing will then issue a receipt to the donor reflecting that the funds are in an “Unallocated Gifts” account.

* Formerly numbered Operations Manual D 36.0