Fundraising and Philanthropy Acceptance Policy

Responsibility for policy: Director of Development and Event Services
Approving authority: Vice-Chancellor
Last reviewed: August 2021
Next review date: August 2026

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  1. This policy applies to all staff of the University of Waikato.


  1. The purpose of this policy is to set out the principles and processes that apply to University of Waikato fundraising and the acceptance of philanthropic donations and grants.


  1. This policy applies to fundraising undertaken on behalf of the University and philanthropic donations accepted by the University; the Gift Acceptance Policy applies to gifts offered or presented to staff members in the course of University business.

Related documents

  1. The following documents set out further information relevant to this policy:


  1. In this policy:

    bequest means a donation from an individual's Will and estate, and includes money, property or other assets

    Bequest Plan means a University of Waikato Foundation document signed by a donor and a person authorised on behalf of the University that reflects the donor’s current Will and shows the intent to support the University through their estate. It does not replace or override the donor’s Will

    campaign means a concentrated effort over a pre-determined period of time to fundraise for a specific goal

    donation means a gift, usually monetary, provided to the University of Waikato for the purpose of advancing the institution

    donor means an individual, family, business, organisation or other entity who has made a donation to the University of Waikato

    endowed fund means a donation that is of sufficient value to be self-sustaining, i.e. interest rates or the return on managed funds are sufficient that the principal may be maintained

    Endowment Fund means the University of Waikato Foundation’s Endowment Fund which is managed on its behalf by a fund manager. The fund comprises donations from individuals, families, businesses, organisations and other entities willing to help build the University’s fund for future use

    Foundation means the University of Waikato Foundation, the University’s charity arm for receiving philanthropic donations and which is registered with Charities Services. An independent board of trustees governs the Foundation and has the fiduciary duty to ensure all funds donated to the University are managed, invested and disbursed in accordance with the terms under which the gifts or bequests are made, or in the absence of such terms, in accordance with the University’s strategic objectives

    fundraising means the act of intentionally soliciting money and support from donors or potential donors. It includes the solicitation of one-off or ongoing donations or endowments or bequests from individuals, and the solicitation of grants and donations from companies or trusts, foundations and community organisations. It includes approaching firms and individuals for donations for scholarships, prizes and events for example, but excludes research grants and commercial sponsorship

    gift means a donation, whether solicited or unsolicited. A gift may be monetary, non-monetary or a gift in kind such as:

    • art that may be acquired in accordance with the Art Collection Policy
    • cultural items and taonga, musical instruments or books
    • stocks, shares or bonds
    • real estate
    • life insurance policies where the University is the beneficiary
    • company product suitable for capital works or operations
    • reduced or waived professional fees from a business

    managed fund means an investment made on the University’s behalf with money from the Foundation. Portfolio managers invest funds on behalf of the Foundation, of which the Endowment Fund is an example

    naming means the recognition of large or long-term giving by an individual or organisation by attaching a name associated with the individual or organisation to an item supported by that giving for a defined period. Philanthropic naming is not provided in exchange for payment (as occurs in the case of sponsorship). Named positions include philanthropically funded Professorial Chairs.

    sponsorship means a commercial agreement between the University and another party or parties for promotional purposes for the benefit of all parties. It is contractual and time-bound and has a schedule of benefits and leveraging including, but not limited to, obligations around social media activity, media, marketing collateral etc. It can apply to the naming of buildings but is not philanthropic.


  1. In addition to strategic and intentional fundraising, the University encourages philanthropic gifts and bequests which recognise and enable the delivery of high-quality teaching and research, the support of students and the progression of vital capital works.
  2. Gifts will be accepted by the University if they:
    1. reflect the University’s core objectives and values
    2. align with the University’s strategic objectives
    3. align with the ethical principles set out in the University’s Financial Ethics Policy
    4. preserve or enhance the University’s reputation, and
    5. are practical to accept.


  1. All fundraising activities undertaken on the University’s behalf must align with the University’s strategic fundraising priorities.
  2. No formal institutional fundraising activity (including but not limited to events, appeals, campaigns, the solicitation of gifts or bequests, crowdfunding, or applying for philanthropic grants) may be undertaken on behalf of the University other than via the Vice-Chancellor or the Director of Development and Event Services.
  3. Any staff member invoicing or approaching donors on behalf of their Division or equivalent for conference funds, prizes etc. must work with the Development Office for the purpose of dispatching correct tax information and receipts, documentation and donor recognition.
  4. Any applications for one-off philanthropic grants or sponsorship, or endowments from individuals, philanthropic trusts, foundations or community organisations must be made through the Development Office. Applications to organisations with regular funding processes and specific criteria and evaluation processes should go through Research and Enterprise.
  5. All fundraising activity, whether intentional or not, including telephone calls, letters, emails, texts and in-person conversations, must be documented in the University’s relationship management system, Raiser’s Edge.
  6. All Bequest Plans must be managed by the Development Office. Any requests for a Plan made to a member of staff, the Foundation or Council must be forwarded to the Director of Development and Event Services.


  1. The University Council has delegated to the Vice-Chancellor authority to accept gifts and bequests to the University; the Vice-Chancellor may delegate this authority as appropriate.
  2. In considering the acceptance of a gift or bequest the Vice-Chancellor or delegated authority must be satisfied that the proposed gift or bequest is adequate to achieve its stated purpose, or that the University will cover any associated costs and that any obligation the benefactor wishes to impose is reasonable to meet.
  3. Where a gift or bequest is not accepted, the Development Office will ensure that the provider is appropriately informed and acknowledged.
  4. Although the University, the University of Waikato Research Trust and the University of Waikato Foundation are all registered charities, the Foundation, administered by the Development Office, is the only University vehicle for philanthropic funds. The University itself cannot invest in anything other than a term deposit, but the Foundation is able to invest donor funds as it sees fit.
  5. Any philanthropic donations to the University occurring outside of the Development Office must be notified to the Development Office for tax rebate purposes, for donor recognition and for documentation in Raiser’s Edge on behalf of the organisation. The Director of Development and Event Services ensures reporting of all donated funds to the University of Waikato Foundation Trustees.
  6. Philanthropic donations for specific research projects or to support research generally must come through the Foundation for donor recognition purposes.
  7. The terms under which any gift or bequest are made must be specified in writing; both the source of a gift or bequest and any obligations that a benefactor may seek to place on a gift or bequest must be acceptable to the University.
  8. Where a benefactor seeks to impose certain requirements on the use or management of their gift or bequest, the following must be applied:
    1. the principle of academic freedom, especially with respect to methods of research, conclusions and findings, and the dissemination and publication of research
    2. the University’s strategic fundraising priorities
    3. ensuring that any legal obligations and restrictions do not affect the University, any individual staff member or any student
    4. all applicable University policies.
  9. The acceptance of a gift or bequest of artwork for the University’s art collection is subject to the prior approval of the Vice-Chancellor in accordance with the Art Collection Policy and must be recorded in Raiser’s Edge.
  10. Donations of more than $5 are eligible for tax rebates and all University receipts for donations must comply with IRD requirements for the correct information for donors.
  11. The acceptance of a gift must not result in preferential treatment being given to a person or organisation.

Scholarships, awards and prizes

  1. All donations intended to support scholarships, awards, and prizes must be received through the University of Waikato Foundation.
  2. Donations for the purpose of scholarships, awards and prizes must comply with the Minimum Value of Privately Funded Scholarships, Awards and Prizes Guidelines and the Establishing a New Scholarship, Award or Prize at the University of Waikato Guidelines.
  3. Any one-off donation for the purpose of scholarships, awards and prizes up to $250,000 will be used until depleted.
  4. The minimum level of donation accepted for the purpose of an endowed scholarship, award or prize is $250,000; the donor may determine whether the donation is to be used until depleted or invested in order to generate sufficient annual funds to maintain the scholarship, award or prize in perpetuity.
  5. The minimum level of donation accepted for the purpose of an endowed postgraduate scholarship is $1,000,000; the donor may determine whether the donation is be used until depleted or to be invested in order to generate sufficient annual funds to maintain the scholarship in perpetuity.

Naming rights and endowed chairs

  1. All requests for naming rights must be made through the Development Office in the first instance, requests will be considered by the Vice-Chancellor and the Director of Development and Event Services before progressing to the Foundation and ultimately Council.
  2. Contractual naming rights under a sponsorship agreement must be notified to the Development Office for recording in Raiser’s Edge for stakeholder management purposes and to ensure that the rights are flagged for renegotiation before the agreement expires.
  3. Discussions relating to named buildings or academic positions must be made via the Development Office for risk management purposes in the first instance, and for donor recognition and recording.
  4. The funding of an endowed chair requires a one-off donation of at least $5,000,000 or a donation of between $250,000 to $350,000 per year for three to five years.
  5. Discussions about potential philanthropically funded Professorial Chairs must be directed to the Director of Development and Event Services; the Director of Research and Enterprise must be consulted if there are specific research outputs required.


  1. The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for setting the strategic fundraising priorities of the University of Waikato.
  2. The Director of Development and Event Services is responsible for:
    1. the fundraising strategies of the Development Office and the Foundation undertaken on behalf of the University
    2. overseeing and coordinating all University fundraising activities
    3. administering all monetary gifts on behalf of the University and Foundation
    4. ensuring all gifts and bequests are appropriately processed and recognised
    5. recording all donor information on behalf of the University, and
    6. managing relationships with donors.


  1. Any person who believes that this policy has been breached is encouraged to advise the Director of Finance who will investigate the matter; alternatively, the complainant may follow the procedures set out in the Fraud and Corruption Policy or Protected Disclosures Policy.

Responsibility for monitoring compliance

  1. The Director of Finance is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy and for reporting any breaches to the Vice-Chancellor and the chairperson of the Capital and Finance Committee.
  2. Breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action under the Staff Code of Conduct.