Designating Funding as a Gift or a Sponsored Program

Proper classification of funds received by the University is important for external reporting requirements, IRS requirements and to provide assurance that the University is in compliance with donor/sponsor wishes, University policies dictating sponsored projects and other Federal Law and regulations. The following are characteristics of Gifts and Sponsored Projects to assist university personnel in making a determination. Not all characteristics of either Sponsored Program or Gift need be met to classify funding as one or the other. If one is not clear as to gift or grant designation, faculty/staff should request, through their grants manager or their development officer, a review and determination by a Director in the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration.



The funds are provided by a funding source that intends to receive a benefit or service.

The funding source intends the funds as a charitable donation (i.e., donor receives - no direct services or benefit).

The funding source is the primary recipient of benefits from the transaction.

The University is the primary recipient of benefits from the transaction.

Unexpended funds must be returned to the funding source.

Unexpended funds do not have to be returned to the funding source.

Conditions/stipulations on how the funds will be used are specified by the funding source and have guidelines the University should follow to obtain approval on how, when and for what purposes the funds may be spent.

Conditions/stipulations placed on the use of the funds are minimal and direct the funds to areas of interest rather than proscribe how the funds can be used.  For example the donor may designate the funds for scholarships, construction/renovation, research support, or unrestricted.

The University is obligated to provide detailed deliverables or reports and there is a timeline for meeting objectives and delivery of results.  Invoices and/or a financial report are required.

Deliverables restricted to stewardship reports.

The funding source has a written F&A policy. Sources allowing F&A (overhead/ indirects) are automatically sponsored activities but if F&A is not allowed, the funding is not automatically a gift.

The funding source has no written policies regarding F&A.

The proposal budgets funding for human subjects, laboratory animals, radiological hazards, biohazards, or recombinant DNA.

The University decides, after the gift is made, how to allocate funds for specific expenditures.

Investigator initiated, competitive, peer reviewed.

Can be investigator initiated.

Gifts are non-exchange, donor receives nothing of significant value, i.e., no services or benefit.

Grants require an exchange between the University and the sponsor. Each give or receive something of value such as money, services usefulness or general worth.