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Gift Solicitation | Policies | CSUSM

Gift Solicitation

Definition: This policy addresses solicitations for gifts and gifts-in-kind from previous, current, and new donors.
Authority: The President
Scope: This policy applies to all administrators, staff, faculty, and students. This policy also applies to auxiliary units affiliated with the University who have 501(C) (3) status. Gifts include money, negotiable securities and gifts-in-kind. This policy does not apply to the solicitation, acceptance and acknowledgment of book donations to the Library. The Library has a procedure in place and provides University Development a year-end report of book donations.
Responsible Division: University Advancement
Approval Date: 05/15/2003
Originally Implemented: 05/15/2003
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Gift Solicitation Policy



In the interest of effectively coordinating donations on behalf of the University, the Division of External Affairs is responsible for approving all solicitations in advance of any planned contact with individuals, businesses, foundations, corporations, or other agencies and organizations. Because the Division of External Affairs is responsible for posting and acknowledging gifts and formally recognizing donors to the University, it is important that External Affairs be able to track all solicitations.


Requesting donations of gifts (money or negotiable securities) or gifts-in-kind (e.g., a painting, gift basket, sports item or gift certificate) for any University purpose.


The following steps will be taken when soliciting gifts:

1. Pre-Approval

The Division of External Affairs shall pre-approve all lists of prospects to be solicited prior to face-to-face meetings, telephone calls, or letters. The prospect list and a copy of the meeting/phone call agenda or solicitation letter shall be forwarded to External Affairs to review and identify prospects that may not be contacted. External Affairs will respond back to the requestor within five working days.

2. Solicitation

The unit making the solicitation conducts face-to-face meetings, places telephone calls or sends letters to the approved list. Face-to-face meetings and telephone calls must be followed by a letter so that all solicitations are documented.

The letter shall be placed on appropriate letterhead and will include the name, purpose and date of the activity, program or event. Solicitation letters will include a sponsorship form or item description form depending on the type of solicitation. If the donor will receive something of value in return for their gift, the following specific wording must appear on the solicitation request:

We estimate the fair market value of the goods or services you will receive to be $____. The amount of your contribution that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the excess of the amount of your contribution over the value of goods or services provided. If no goods or services are provided in return for the gift, the solicitation must state the following:

  • As no goods or services will be provided to you in return for your charitable contribution, your contribution is tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
  • Instruct donors to make checks to the University payable to the Cal State San Marcos Foundation and checks to University auxiliaries who have 501(C) (3) status payable according to their specific policy.

3. Gift Processing and Acknowledgement

External Affairs will record in the university gift system all gifts to the University and gifts to University auxiliaries who have 501(C) (3) status. Gifts of $100 or more will be recognized in the President's Annual Report.

External Affairs must be notified of all gifts (cash and gifts-in-kind) to the University and University auxiliaries with 501(C) (3) status as follows:


a. Cash-When a cash donation to the University is received, the original check and accompanying documentation must be forwarded to External Affairs immediately upon receipt to be recorded and acknowledged.

b. Gifts-in-kind for general use-When a donated item valued at $250 or more is received, a Gift-in-Kind Acceptance form must be completed, signed by all parties, and forwarded to External Affairs within ten (10) working days after receipt. The value must be established by the donor. For items valued at less than $250, an Item Description Form may be used in place of the Gift-in-Kind Acceptance form.

c. Gifts-in-kind for sale at auction-Gifts-in-kind donated for sale at a University auction, when valued at less than $250, can be recorded using the Item Description Form. The form must have the appropriate signatures and be forwarded to University Development. If the item is unique or ‘priceless,' the gift value will be determined by the purchase price at auction.


a. Cash-Cash gifts to University auxiliaries who have 501(C) (3) status are processed by that auxiliary following their policies and procedures. A copy of the check, acknowledgement and all accompanying documentation must be forwarded to University Development within five (5) days of receipt in the auxiliaries office.

b. Gifts-in-kind-Gifts-in-kind to University auxiliaries who have 501(C) (3) status are to be processed according to their policies and procedures. A copy of the gift-in-kind form and all accompanying documentation must be forwarded to University Development within five (5) days of receipt in the auxiliaries office.