8.33 University Development Fund Policy and Procedure

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Policy Information

Policy Number: 8.33Effective Date: 7/20/2012
Responsible Unit: Financial ManagementLast Revised Date: 4/23/2024
Email: FNSV-Financial-Management@arizona.eduPhone: 520-621-9097

Purpose and Summary

To provide guidance for contributing to the University Development Fund when gifts of $1,000 or more are received. The financing of fundraising is a shared enterprise requiring a significant amount of University and University of Arizona Foundation resources.


This policy applies to all University locations and units, including all University extensions, satellite locations, and off-site campus units, both domestic and international. Component Unit Affiliates, as defined below, are also covered under the scope of this policy.


  1. University Development Fund: A repository of funds to support fundraising activities undertaken by and on behalf of the University.
  2. Gifts: A voluntary transfer of items of value from a person or organization where no material amount of goods or services are expected, implied or provided to the donor. Further information is located in policy 8.12 Gifts.
  3. Gift Charge: A six percent charge that is assessed on applicable gifts in support of the University Development Fund.
  4. Component Unit Affiliate: As defined by ABOR policy 1-125, any organization or entity that is legally separate and independent from the University that:
    1. Is affiliated with the University through a written agreement, and
    2. Is a component unit for financial reporting purposes as defined by Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 14, The Financial Reporting Entity, as amended. 
  5. The University of Arizona Foundation: A Component Unit Affiliate that provides assistance to the University in the areas of fundraising and asset management.


  1. This policy applies to all cash or cash-equivalent contributions, pledges, gift commitments, additions to endowments or capital accounts, sponsorships, some grants (see Frequently Asked Questions below), and all other gifts of $1,000 or more without exception.
  2. A six percent gift charge is taken out of the principal amount of all non-endowed and endowed gifts. If necessary, arrangements can be made to use funds from other sources to contribute to the gift charge (e.g., an equivalent contribution could be made from other unrestricted departmental funds on hand).
    1. For non-cash gifts of $1,000 or more (pledges, securities, property, etc.), the six percent gift charge will be applied, based on the cash settlement value, after the gift is received and converted to cash. In addition, the direct costs involved for asset disposal (including appraisal fees, surveys, attorney's fees, etc.) will be charged against the proceeds for all real property transactions.
    2. Of the six percent gift charge, four percent will be distributed to fund development activities, one percent will be distributed to fund the University President's development activities, and the remaining one percent will be distributed as support for the respective college/unit’s alumni and development activities.
  3. For any transactions involving transfers of gift funds, accounts, or assets between the University and the University of Arizona Foundation or another Component Unit Affiliate, the gift charge will be applied only once and be applied by the initial gift recipient.
  4. All Component Unit Affiliates will be subject to these requirements and will pay to the University or University of Arizona Foundation the six percent gift charge.
  5. The six percent gift charge only applies to the first $3.5 million of any single major gift.
  6. Exemptions:
    1. This policy does not apply to the income produced by endowment or quasi-endowment accounts that are invested by the University or University of Arizona Foundation. See 8.13 Endowments.
    2. As noted in policy 8.12 Gifts, conference, symposia or event sponsorships typically contain a gift element. The portion of the payment relating to the gift element is subject to the six percent gift charge.
    3. Scholarship gifts are exempt when they are deposited into a scholarship account and intended to be fully expended within 12 months of receipt. Documentation may be required. The University reserves the right to assess the six percent gift charge on scholarship gifts that do not meet the above criteria.
    4. Gifts to purchase specified equipment (a gift from a single donor) will be treated as equivalent to a gift of the equipment itself if it meets the following requirement:
      1. Is earmarked by the donor for purchase of a specified piece of equipment that will be used by a department or program in its educational mission,
      2. covers the entire acquisition cost of the specified equipment, and
      3. is discounted if purchased through the University rather than by the donor.
    5. Gifts from a donor (whether individual or organization) in excess of $15 million (cash or marketable securities) will not be subject to the six percent gift charge.  For the avoidance of doubt, a donor is exempt from the six percent charge once they have made gifts in excess of $15 million (cash or marketable securities).
  7. A donor(s) concurrence should be sought early in the solicitation process to avoid any and all misunderstandings as to the application of the entire amount of the gift and the six percent reduction to support fundraising.
  8. Donors should not be encouraged to make a series of gifts of less than $1,000 in order to avoid the six percent gift charge. If such practice is detected, the series of gifts will be aggregated and assessed the six percent gift charge.
  9. The University of Arizona Foundation will review all written solicitations to ensure that appropriate disclosures and acknowledgments are made.


See Policy 8.12 Gifts for a list of gift terms/definitions and procedures for soliciting, reporting, processing, and acknowledging/reporting gifts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What happens if a gift is erroneously deposited at the University or University of Arizona Foundation?
    a. The six percent gift charge will be reversed.
    b. The entire gift will be transferred to the correct area and the gift charge will be assessed as per policy.
  2. What happens if a department believes a gift charge has been assessed erroneously?
    Contact the Central Gifts Office for approval for the reversal of the gift charge.
  3. How do I make alternative arrangements to the six percent gift charge?
    ABC Foundation makes a $50,000 gift to support Professor Susan Smith's research project in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The agreement from ABC Foundation requires the funds to be spent within 12 months for the project, but the ABC Foundation does not pay indirect costs. After discussing the six percent gift charge policy, ABC Foundation does not want to pay an equivalent contribution out of the gift. Professor Smith agrees to pay six percent ($3,000) out of discretionary funds held at the University of Arizona Foundation for her research.
  4. What is an example of a non-cash gift exemption?
    Big Computer Company makes a gift of $200,000 in computer equipment to the Eller College for use in undergraduate computer labs. There is no intent to sell or otherwise dispose of the equipment in the near future. This gift is exempt as it is a non-cash gift which will not be converted into cash.
  5. What is an example of an award not subject to the six percent gift charge?
    Bigger Drug Company (BDC) makes a grant of $500,000 to support the research of Chip Jones in the College of Pharmacy, including full payment of indirect costs. The data derived from the research, along with any and all patentable products, will be accessible to BDC upon completion of the research. This is a sponsored project that is not subject to the six percent gift charge.

Related Information

The University of Arizona Foundation 
Policy 8.12 Gifts
Policy 6.16 Component Unit Affiliate
Policy 8.13 Endowments

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions and Related Information are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.