Donor Intent Responsibilities
About This Policy
- Effective Date:
- Date of Last Review/Update:
- Responsible University Office:
- Office of the Treasurer
Office of the Vice President and General Counsel
- Responsible University Administrator:
- Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
- Policy Contact:
- David DeForest
Senior Manager, Capital Finance
Office of the Treasurer
- Policy Feedback:
- If you have comments or questions about this policy, let us know with the policy feedback form.
- Print or view a PDF of this policy
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Gifts received for the benefit of Indiana University must be spent or utilized according to donor intent. The Fiscal Officer must ensure that funds are used in compliance with donor intent.
Reason for Policy
Indiana University (University) has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that donor wishes are strictly observed and that gifts are used only for the purpose stated by the donor. Gifts received for the benefit of the University must be spent or utilized according to the intent of the donor.
There is a close and demonstrable link between good stewardship of gifts and bequests and long-term fund-raising success. Indiana University must ensure that it merits the respect and trust of the general public and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence that the University has spent their funds in a prudent and efficient manner consistent with their intentions.
Fiscal Officers are responsible for ensuring that processes and controls are in place that ensure that the use of gift resources agree with donor intentions. The determination of donor intent must be supported by the gift agreement or other pertinent documentation stating the donor's intent.
The Indiana University Foundation (IU Foundation) maintains a role in the oversight of gift funds brought into the IU Foundation, including how the funds are spent once they are transferred to the university, and can have audits of the transferred funds performed at their direction by IU Foundation audit staff.
Gifts dollars that are spent in a university account, or gifts-in-kind utilized by the university, are the same as other university resources for the purposes of federal compliance and university policy.
The official repository for documentation relevant to gifts should remain at the institution where the funds were intended by the donor to reside.
- For gifts that reside at the IU Foundation. All original documentation received by university personnel related to gifts deposited into IU Foundation accounts should be sent to the IU Foundation; no copies of the documentation are to be retained onsite by the University.
- For gifts that must reside in university accounts, as directed by the donor. A copy of the corresponding documentation must be forwarded to the IU Foundation at the time the gift is recorded on the donor record. The documentation for these gifts is retained by the Office of the Treasurer and can be provided to the unit's fiscal officer.
Donor intentions are restrictions on the use of donated funds usually specified in the following IU or IU Foundation documents:
- Donor signed Gift Agreement
- Signed Donor Gift/Pledge Intent Memorandum
- Donor signed correspondence indicating intent
- Copy of a will or trust document indicating donor intent
Gifts received for the benefit of Indiana University include gifts made to both the university and the IU Foundation.
The source of this policy is:
Office of the Treasurer and Office of the Vice President and General Counsel
A substantive review of the policy was conducted by the Office of the Treasurer and the policy was updated and renumbered in October 2023 to reflect that IU Foundation documentation is not to be held by IU.