Gifts, Contributions and Fundraising Policy

Basis for Policy

On January 28, 2004 the Research Foundation's Board of Directors adopted Resolution Number BD 2004-07 revising the policy on the acceptance of gifts. The policy was revised to eliminate the need for Board approval regardless of the dollar value of the gift.

Policy on Acceptance of Gifts

Any one officer of the Research Foundation (RF) (President, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary or Treasurer), campus operations manager (state-operated) or designated campus administrator (community colleges) is authorized to accept on behalf of the RF gifts of cash, securities, real or personal property where all of the following conditions have been met:

  1. The chief administrative officer (campus president or designee) of the beneficiary campus has determined that the gift is acceptable and has confirmed
    that it complies with RF policies and guidelines.
  2. The chief administrative officer of the beneficiary campus agrees that the campus is responsible for any additional expenditures associated with the
    acceptance of a gift.
  3. The chief administrative officer will, in certain instances, determine the need for and establish an independent appraisal of a gift for acceptance as a
    precautionary procedure to assess possible risk or exposure inherent in a gift. The procedure should provide for consultation with the RF’s Office of
    General Counsel & Secretary.
  4. The donor provides the Research Foundation with:
  5. Gifts (excluding real and personal property) are accepted and managed under the Research Foundation Investment Policy and Guidelines.
  6. The gift is consistent with the RF’s mission of service to the State University of New York (SUNY) and is unconditional, which is defined as containing no
    donor conditions that would be inconsistent with prudent philanthropic or charitable intent.

    Amended January 28, 2004

IRS Regulations on the Substantiation of Cash Contributions

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that donors contributing $250 or more in cash or by check acquire written substantiation of their charitable contributions from the recipient organization. The IRS may disallow the deduction by a donor of an unsubstantiated contribution.

The IRS generally considers separate payments from the same donor as separate contributions and will not combine them to determine whether the $250 threshold has been reached.

For a contribution of $250 or more, the IRS does not consider a canceled check to be adequate substantiation.

RF Policy on the Substantiation of Cash Contributions

The IRS places the responsibility for obtaining substantiation on the donor. However, in order to maintain good will on the part of donors and to avoid time-consuming after-the-fact research by operating locations to verify contributions, the Research Foundation recommends that operating locations provide a written contribution acknowledgment to the donor as soon as the contribution is received. A contribution acknowledgment:


The operations manager or delegate must sign the statement.

IRS Regulations on Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes

Section 884 of the American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA) of 2004 changed the regulations on vehicle donations. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that if a vehicle (Auto's, Boats and Airplanes) is donated, and the donor is looking for a tax deduction, the RF has a responsibility to complete IRS form 1098-C. In this form, the RF must issue a statement confirming and determining "significant intervening use." As the IRS guidelines state:

"To constitute significant intervening use, the organization must actually use the vehicle to substantially further the organizations' regularly conducted activities, and the use must be significant, not incidental. Factors in determining whether a use is a significant intervening use include its nature, extent, frequency, and duration. For this purpose, use includes providing transportation on a regular basis for a significant period of time or significant use directly relating to training in vehicle repair. Use does not include the use of a vehicle to provide training in business skills, such as marketing or sales. Examples of significant use include:

Policy on Disclosure of Goods and Services

The IRS requires that organizations providing goods or services to a donor in exchange for a charitable contribution in excess of $75 in cash or by check (see example below) must give to the donor a written statement that:

Disclosure Statement

The disclosure statement must be made when the contribution is solicited or when it is received and must be provided in a manner that is reasonably likely to come to the attention of the donor, such as in a separate document, rather than in small print that is part of a larger document.

Note: The IRS places the obligation on the recipient organization to provide the disclosure, regardless of whether the donor asks for it.


The operations manager or delegate must sign the statement.

When a Disclosure is Not Required

The disclosure of what the goods or services are worth is not necessary if:


If an operating location does not provide disclosures, it is subject to IRS fines of $10 per contribution, up to a maximum fine of $5,000 per particular fundraising event.


For information about the Research Foundation's policy and procedures related to donations of property, refer to the Property Management business area and related IRS Forms.

Exhibit I

The Research Foundation of State University of New York

Contribution Acknowledgment

This is to acknowledge that on (date of receipt), (name of donor) contributed $___________ to The Research Foundation of State University of New York. The Research Foundation of State University of New York provided goods or services worth $_______ or no goods or services in conjunction with this contribution.

Acknowledged by: ________________

(Type Name) ___________________

Operations Manager or delegate

Change History


Change History

January 25, 2010

Added IRS Regulations on Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes section

Effective Date:
Responsible Party: Finance Office
Contact Information: 518-434-7050



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