University Policy


Gift Acceptance

Approval Date: 2015-07-09

Effective Date: 2015-07-09

Review Date: 2019-07-09


The President and the Board of Regents through the Office of Development.


To outline the authority and responsibilities in matters of gift acceptance and administration, and to provide guidance to employees, volunteers and members of the Board of Regents.


Charitable donations to the University and separately incorporated entities (SIEs).


Advantage — What a donor may receive in return for his or her donation (e.g., a meal, tickets to a show etc.), and it must be taken into consideration when determining the eligible amount of a gift for receipting purposes.

Determining the Fair Market Value of an advantage is similar to determining the Fair Market Value of a Gift in Kind. However, while only donations of property can be receipted as Gifts in Kind, the Fair Market Value of any type of advantage (e.g., services, accommodation, meals etc.) must be taken into consideration when determining the eligible amount of a gift for receipting purposes.

Beneficiary (Trust, Life Insurance Policies, And Registered Funds) — The person for whose benefit the trust was created. For Charitable Remainder Trusts, the donor is normally the income beneficiary (income interest) and the University is the capital beneficiary (remainder interest). The University may be the beneficiary of life insurance policies and hence is entitled to the death benefit. Furthermore, the University may also be named the beneficiary of Registered Retirement Saving Funds.

Bequest — Property received from the will of a deceased person.

Canadian Cultural Property — Any property that has been certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. Gifts of Cultural Property are subject to enhanced tax benefits.

Charitable Remainder Trust — A planned gift where the donor transfers property into a trust. The donor retains a life interest in the property but makes an irrevocable gift of the residual interest to the University. An official tax receipt can be issued for the fair market value of the residual interest in the property at the time that the residual interest vests with the University. At no time may the capital of the trust be encroached upon by anyone.

Charitable Trust — An irrevocable trust established for charitable purposes.

CRA — Canada Revenue Agency.

CUSIP — A nine-character alphanumeric code that identifies a North American financial security for the purposes of facilitating clearing and settlement of trades.

Designated Gifts — Are intended to promote and carry on specific work of the University with no further restrictions, other than the designation, as to the use or administration of the funds.

Eligible Amount — The amount that the Fair Market Value of the property gifted exceeds the amount of the advantage, if any, received by the donor with respect to the gift. The eligible amount is the amount claimed on the donor’s tax return.

Endowment Funds — Consists of donated funds, endowed trusts or other funds of a permanent nature. External funds may be invested in the Endowment Fund, including funds of partner organizations, where the funds invested are long-term in nature and significant in size and where the President of Memorial University has granted approval.

Fair Market Value — The eligible amount of a gift for receipt is the amount that the Fair Market Value of the gifted property exceeds the amount of an advantage, if any, received or receivable for the gift. The advantage is generally the total value of all property, services, compensation, or other benefits that the donor is entitled to as partial consideration for, or in gratitude for, the gift. The advantage may be contingent or receivable in the future, either to the donor or a person or partnership not dealing at arm's length with the donor.

Gifts for which the donor received an advantage will still be considered a gift for purposes of the Income Tax Act as long as the transfer of property was made with the intention to make a gift. An intention to make a gift will be presumed where the Fair Market Value of the advantage does not exceed 80% of the Fair Market Value of the transferred property.

Gift Agreement — Contains conditions and terms of the gift, including payments or transfers required of the donor and uses for the donated gift by the University.

Gift in Kind — Also known as non-cash gifts, are gifts of property. They cover items such as real estate, artwork, equipment, securities and cultural and ecological property.

A contribution of service, i.e. a commitment of time, skills or efforts, is not property and therefore does not qualify as a gift or Gift in Kind for purposes of issuing official donation receipts.

Life Insurance — Gifts where a life insurance policy is purchased with the University as the owner, if ownership is gifted to the University at a later date, or if the death benefit is assigned to the University as a beneficiary. A tax receipt may be issued for the premiums paid only when the University owns the policy. The University will not own or accept ownership of any Life Insurance policy that is not a permanent policy.

Outright Gift — The Income Act of Canada defines a gift in sections 248 (30) and (31). A gift is a voluntary transfer of property where the donor demonstrated intent. In most cases, intent exists when any advantage (benefit) received by the donor as a consequence of making a gift does not exceed 80% of the total amount contributed.

Premiums, Life Insurance Premium — Cash payment that is required to fund an insurance policy. Premiums are always required for the lifetime of the insured. Depending on the type of insurance policy, the Premiums may be paid by the donor on a regular basis or after a certain number of Premiums have been paid from fund accumulated.

Publicly Traded Securities — Shares, warrants, rights or debt obligations that are traded on a prescribed stock exchange.

Receipt — Registered charities can issue official donation receipts (also referred to in this policy as "tax receipts") to acknowledge gifts. An official donation receipt is subject to particular requirements under the Income Tax Regulations including identification that it is an official receipt for income tax purposes. See the definition "Eligible Amount" of gift for further information.

Note: Memorial University also issues other forms of receipts to acknowledge acceptance of services or items that are not gifts. These are not tax receipts and are clearly distinguished from the tax receipts issued to acknowledge gifts.

Recognition — Actions that communicate to the donor or the public a form of acknowledgement that express gratitude and appreciation from the University on receiving a gift. Acknowledgement ranges from activities that are automatic organizational responses to giving, such as thank you letters, to those that are undertaken with the involvement of the donors, as is the case with named space.

Unit — Academic or administrative unit as defined in the University Calendar.

Unit Head — Term used to refer to Deans, Department Heads, Division Heads, Heads of Schools, Directors, Executive Directors, University Librarian, University Registrar and other senior administrators at a comparable level; Associate Vice-Presidents and Vice-Presidents, as applicable.

University — Memorial University of Newfoundland ("University").

Unrestricted Gifts — Are intended to promote and carry on the work of the University with no restrictions as to the use or administration of the funds.


Fundraising practice at the University is donor-centered and encourages donors to make outright gifts insofar as these gifts are consistent with Memorial University’s vision, mission, and values and are in the best interest of the University. The request for solicitation of gifts is addressed in the Donor Prospect Clearance Policy.

The University has a responsibility to be accountable in fundraising and accepting philanthropic donations. A description of the types of gifts accepted, the types of designations that donors can select and the principles that guide professional fundraising staff and volunteers are described in this policy.


Informed decisions are made on the acceptance of gifts giving consideration to:

  • federal and provincial laws and regulations; and
  • efficient administrative, legal and accounting practices.

Accurate reporting of all gifts and consistent, ethical and equitable relations with alldonors are required. As a registered Canadian charity, the University abides by the rules and regulations of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The University’s Canadian registered charitable number is 10769 0273 RR0001.

The University can also accept donations from alumni living in the United States, as well as their family members [defined as brothers and sisters (whether by whole or half-blood, or by adoption), spouse, ancestors, lineal descendants, and adopted descendants], as per a Canada-United States Tax Treaty (Article XXI, Section 5). In this case, “alumni” refers to anyone who is or was enrolled at Memorial University or any of its predecessors. If the donor does not meet the above criteria, then donations may be made to Friends of Memorial University of Newfoundland, a 501(c)(3) organization in the U.S. Donors in such instances can suggest to the Friends of Memorial University of Newfoundland board of directors their preference for the use of their gift. The final decision on the use of such gifts rests with the board of directors. Donations to the Friends of Memorial University are receipted and are deductible by U.S.taxpayers just as with any domestic U.S. charity.


Gifts to the University shall be reported in a manner consistent with the principles recommended by the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO),the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). A gift may be declined if it is not in keeping with the vision, mission and values of the University. The authority to decline or return a gift rests with the President who may consult with the Development Advisory Committee, the Vice-Presidents, and others, as appropriate.

The Office of Development is solely responsible for issuing official charitable tax receipts for the eligible amounts of all charitable gifts received by the University consistent with the requirements of the Canada Income Tax Act, Canada Revenue Agency guidelines and in accordance with procedures established by the University. In certain situations, the University may return a gift to the donor.

The Office of Development maintains records required by Canada Revenue Agency. Access to these records is restricted to appropriate staff, senior executives and others acting in an official capacity in specific conditions on behalf of the University.


All matters relating to donors, gifts and gift activity shall be handled with confidentiality and in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, other legislation to which the University is subject and University policies. All persons involved in any process related to this policy are expected to maintain confidentiality.


The University receives and administers gifts in accordance with donor’s preferences whenever possible.


Conflict of Interest

Any real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest must be handled in accordance with the Conflict of Interest policy.


All professional staff and volunteers who may be fundraising on behalf of the University must conduct themselves in accordance with an applicable code of conduct and ethics, as outlined in the AFP Donor Bill of Rights and the CASE Statement of Ethics.

Volunteers and professional staff help donors and their advisors propose gifts that meet each donor’s philanthropic and financial objectives within the context of the University’s needs and may inform, guide or otherwise assist donors who wish to support the University’s activities. Under no circumstances should they pressure or unduly persuade a donor to give to the University.

Legal and Professional Counsel

While the University may encourage donors to seek independent counsel, such as in the case of negotiating a major gift, at no time does the University warrant or certify the competence or integrity of any advisor.


Related Documents

Memorial University’s vision, mission, and values
Donor Prospect Clearance
Conflict of Interest policy
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Canada Income Tax Act
Canada-United States Tax Treaty 


For inquiries related to this policy:

Office of Development (709) 864-4354


Executive Director, Office of Development


External Relations

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date: 0000-00-00
Effective Date: 2013-11-05
Approval Date: 0000-00-00
Effective Date: 1987-04-01
Policy Amendment History

There are past amendments for this policy:

Date: 2019-05-29 09:24:27
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Connected definitions using the definitions from the glossary.
Date: 2022-08-25 15:33:49
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: 8/25/2022 update broken link
Date: 2023-06-15 09:54:24
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Updated broken links
Date: 2023-06-15 11:20:12
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Update Broken Links