The University of Memphis

Donations to the University of Memphis


Issued: September 7, 2014
Responsible Official: Associate Vice President for Development
Responsible Office: Development

Policy Statement

Policy Statement

Gifts to the University of Memphis and the University of Memphis Foundation that are appropriate for and supportive of the University’s mission and goals are strongly encouraged. The acceptance of all gifts shall be coordinated through the Office of Development in coordination with other appropriate University officials. All gifts of cash and/or marketable securities must be directed to Advancement Services for processing. Additionally, the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance shall coordinate the acceptance of all donations requiring the approval of the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, i.e., real property and capital outlay.     



The purpose of this policy is to establish uniform procedures for the acceptance of all gifts to the University of Memphis and the University of Memphis Foundation in order to provide guidance to employees and donors regarding gift acceptance and acknowledgement. 


General Definitions
  1. Gifts - Irrevocable outright or deferred contributions (cash or marketable securities) received from individuals, corporations, foundations, trusts, and other organizations (referred to as "donors") in which neither goods nor services (other than fulfillment of donor intent) are expected, implied or forthcoming from the donor. 
  2. Real Property – land and any building or improvements on that land. 
  3. Gifts-in-Kind - for the purpose of this policy, refers to all gifts of personal property not described under “Gifts” above.



A. Acceptance of Gifts

1. Gifts of Cash and Marketable Securities

All gifts of cash and marketable securities must be directed to Advancement Services for processing into the University of Memphis Foundation. Development Officers or their designee must submit a complete gift transmittal form for each transaction delivered for deposit. The Office of Development is responsible for the coordination and acceptance of all gifts of marketable securities and cash. The Office of Development should be advised immediately upon learning of an offer of a gift of any type. The appropriate Development Officer will work with the donor and the college/school to facilitate the gift as appropriate. It should be noted that the University President has the right to refuse any gift that is not in keeping with the mission and values of the University. 

This also applies to cash gifts received through an estate gift, i.e. bequest, trust, insurance policy, etc, and applies whether the gift is made payable to the University of Memphis, Memphis State or any other former institutional name. All cash gifts must be processed through Advancement Services into the University of Memphis Foundation unless the donor specifically precludes the Foundation from accepting the gift.

2Gifts of Real Property

In accordance with Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) POLICY 4:01:04:00, only the Chancellor and Board of Regents may accept gifts of real property or any permanent interest in real property, and the title must be conveyed to the Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Memphis in the name of the Board of Regents of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee for the use and benefit of the University of Memphis. Any acquisition of real property by gift or devise which obligates the University, Tennessee Board of Regents or State of Tennessee to expend State of Tennessee funds for capital improvements or continuing operating expenditures shall be approved by the State Building Commission in accordance with TCA 4-15-102(d)(2) prior to acceptance by the Chancellor and Board of Regents. Any such deed transferring title to the Board of Regents shall not be recorded until the State Building Commission has approved the acceptance of the gift property. Gifts with conditions that ultimately will require consideration by the Board of Regents or Chancellor must be approved by the Chancellor prior to acceptance (e.g., gifts to support the initiation of a new academic program or capital improvement project); and gifts of property subject to an indebtedness must be approved by the Chancellor prior to acceptance.  The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance will secure such approvals. Additionally, a gift-in-place-of construction must comply with State Building Commission and Tennessee Board of Regents policies, available online at

3. Gifts-in-Kind (Personal/Tangible Property)

For gifts other than cash or marketable securities, a Gift-In-Kind Acceptance Form  must be initiated by the Director of Development servicing the receiving department and approved through appropriate channels. No acceptance or delivery of the item should be made until the Gift-In-Kind Acceptance Form is fully completed, with all applicable approvals, as detailed below. The department should reasonably estimate costs associated with renovation, installation, and annual maintenance for property and equipment donations. Such initial and ongoing costs will be part of the determining factors in accepting or rejecting the gift. The University will not routinely replace donated items.

The Office of Development coordinates all notification of acceptance/rejection to the donor, the dean, department head, and other University personnel as appropriate. 

Upon receipt of an offer of a gift-in-kind, receipt of the required information concerning the item(s), and receipt of the written recommendation to accept (see Gift-In-Kind Acceptance Form), the Office of Development accomplishes the following:

  • Reviews thoroughly the information submitted by the department/activity head.
  • Determines that existing Internal Revenue Service requirements have been met. 
  • Secures the approval of the President if the value of the item exceeds $5,000. 
  • Reviews the gift proposal with the submitting department and prospective donor, and as appropriate, advises the donor of the non-acceptance and the reasons therefore or the terms and conditions under which the gift will be accepted. 
  • Determines if the documentation of value submitted with the Gift-In-Kind Acceptance Form is acceptable.
  • Advises the concerned department of the decision to accept or not accept the gift.
  • Advises the following offices of the acceptance of the gift.  Notification of acceptance will include a copy of the completed and approved Gift-In-Kind Acceptance Form and all supporting documentation. 

1) Accounting Office                            

2) Department Chair/Activity Head receiving the gift

The Office of Development will ensure that any additional requirements are met prior to acceptance of the gift. If the item requires Tennessee Board of Regents approval, the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance will be notified. That office is responsible for the coordination and acceptance of gifts requiring the approval of the Tennessee Board of Regents. 

Most gifts-in-kind can be accepted using the Gift-in-Kind Acceptance Form. However, the following types of gifts-in-kind require a written recommendation for approval from the University President, and/or Legal Counsel, and/or TBR:

Gifts that require an obligation to fund current or future expenditures for which there is no established and approved funding source

  • Gifts that require construction/renovation of facilities not previously authorized by the University
  • Gifts that substantially increase liability or risk
  • Gifts that require Chancellor and/or Tennessee Board of Regents approval

4. Special Types of In-Kind Contributions

There are special guidelines for acceptance of certain types of gifts, i.e. software, patents, trademarks and other technology rights. To review these special considerations, please click here.   

Additionally, all donations of hardware, software and related services should be coordinated through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology. TBR Guideline G-030 must be followed for any acquisition of data processing equipment, software and related services of $50,000 or more. The term “acquisition,” according to Tennessee Board of Regents Guidelines, denotes gifts as well as purchases, leases, etc. Responsible parties contemplating acceptance of such gifts are referred to TBR Guideline G-030 for more detailed information.

A contribution of the right to use real property, e.g. the use of a conference room at a hotel for a faculty retreat at no charge or the use of a home for a visiting faculty member, will not be booked as a charitable contribution.

Additionally, pro-bono professional services cannot be booked as charitable contributions. While such contributions are appreciated and will be acknowledged, the value will be recorded for recognition purposes only.   

B. Gift-in-Kind Documentation and Valuation 

In order to assign a value to a gift of property, the University of Memphis must receive adequate documentation to support the given value. If the donor wishes to claim a tax deduction for a gift-in-kind with a value over $5,000, the IRS requires that the donor hire a qualified, independent appraiser to value the property. The appraisal should be provided at the time of gift acceptance, and should not have been made more than 60 days prior. If the appraised value of a gift is listed as a range, the gift will be recorded at the midpoint of the range. For a description of a qualified appraisal click here

If no documentation is provided by the donor, proof of fair market value (invoice, brochure, etc.) or an appraisal by an “expert” on staff may be used for internal valuation. This value will be used for recognition and “counting” purposes only, and may not be shared with the donor for tax purposes. If no value is provided by any of these means, the gift will be recorded at a nominal value ($1).

C. Disposal of Donated Property

If the department, college, school or unit sells, exchanges, or otherwise disposes of donated property within two (2) years of receipt of the property, the Office of Advancement Services  must be informed.  If the intent of the department, college, school or unit at the time the gift is made is to sell or otherwise dispose of the gift, the donor must be notified at that time.    

D. Acceptance, Receipting, Recording and Acknowledgement of All Gifts

The Office of Advancement Services accepts, receipts, records and acknowledges all gifts to both the University and the Foundation in accordance with IRS guidelines and CASE reporting standards. All gifts should be forwarded to the Office of Advancement Services for recording, deposit, and acknowledgement. A complete record of all gifts and pledges will be maintained in the Office of Advancement Services. 

All donors will receive an official tax receipthat includes the description or amount of the gift and the gift designation, along with documentation of any benefits provided to the donor in exchange for the gift. Gifts-in-kind will be acknowledged/receipted as a description of the property contributed, with no value stated. Donors should be advised to consult their legal or tax advisor for determining the proper tax deductible value. 

E. Refunding Gifts

Refund requests for overpayments, duplicate donations, or donations received in error will be processed after 21 business days. Refunds will be returned using the original method of payments, cash donations will be returned via check. For donations made by credit card, the refund will be credited to the same credit card in which the donation was made. The request for a refund must be made to the Office of Advancement Services.  The preferred method of delivery of a refund check will be by mail. A refund check provided in-person will require a signature of receipt and a picture ID.   

Related Forms

Related Forms/Links

Qualified Appraisals

GIK Acceptance Form

Reporting Standards

Official Gift Receipt

Advancement Services Website 

Office of Development Website

A gift-in-place of construction policy



Revision Dates

  UM1652 - Revised September 7, 2014
UM1652 - Issued: June 15, 2010 supercedes policy number 1:2A:09:03

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyResearchStudent Affairs
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