Philanthropic Gift and Fundraising Procedure


1. Purpose

This procedure applies to all staff and University representatives engaged in inviting, accepting, and stewarding philanthropic gifts from donors to the University.

Anyone who facilitates philanthropic contributions and fundraising on behalf of the University must adhere to the Philanthropic Gift and Fundraising Policy and related policies and procedures.

The procedure has been developed to enable staff to maintain positive donor relations and effectively manage philanthropic funding. Further, the procedure provides an informed approach to decision-making on philanthropic matters and guidance on the University of South Australia’s legal responsibilities as a registered charity.

This procedure covers the following areas that represent activity occurring during the various stages or lifecycle of a philanthropic gift. Controls, highlighted under each heading, are designed to foster accountability, integrity, and manage risk for both UniSA and donors.

To ensure a considered and holistic donor experience, UniSA staff and volunteers should engage the Advancement Unit as the central point of contact for all philanthropic and fundraising activity.

Internal collaboration builds a coordinated approach to inviting, accepting, managing, and acknowledging philanthropic giving from prospective donors.

The principles that inform the University’s position on philanthropic activity are detailed in the Philanthropic Gift and Fundraising Policy.

This procedure does not apply to non-philanthropic partnerships and agreements.

Terms and Definitions are provided below.


2. Responsibilities and Roles

The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for authorising the approval of this procedure, institutional adherence to  and the effective implementation this of procedure.

Chief Advancement Officer is responsible for the continual review of the procedure.

The Advancement Strategy Group (ASG) is a high-level reference group established to consult widely, review, evaluate any significant activity relating to University Advancement operations and governance. The group facilitates a whole of institution approach to ensure all future and current alumni relations and philanthropic activity aligns with UniSA’s mission, values, and goals. The ASG is responsible for assisting the University to deliver an ethical, efficient, and effective alumni and philanthropic program.

The Advancement Unit is the central point of contact for all philanthropic and fundraising activity and is responsible for compliance with and providing support to staff on implementing this procedure.

All University staff: are responsible for complying with this procedure.


3. Inviting philanthropic giving

UniSA maintains Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and is endorsed by the ATO as ‘an organisation or fund that can receive tax deductible gifts.’

UniSA’s philanthropic support and fundraising strategy is determined by the Chief Advancement Officer and approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

UniSA aims to provide prospective donors with a pathway to advance education and research and contribute to impactful programs at any giving level and life-stage.

The Advancement Unit encourages, cultivates, and invites philanthropic support through delivering a program that includes the following activities:

  • Community Giving: appeals, crowd funding initiatives, peer-to-peer fundraising, workplace giving, UniSA staff payroll giving, community and student-led giving projects
  • Planned Giving: bequests
  • Major Giving: direct, planned approaches to individuals, groups, organisations, philanthropic trusts, foundations and private or public auxiliary funds, to solicit gifts above a defined value
  • In-kind Support: non-cash donations of materials or long-lived assets
  • Volunteering: facilitating alumni and community members to give their time and skills
  • Stewardship: recognition and reporting on expenditure and impact

3.1 Transparent communication

Staff and representatives of the University will identify their association with UniSA when contacting current and potential donors.

3.2  Philanthropic support

A philanthropic gift contrasts with other forms of support. Whether or not a gift is philanthropic can be determined by using the Philanthropic Funding Workflow.

A fundamental indicator of a philanthropic gift is the absence of material benefit to the donor or funder. If there is no material benefit to the donor, a gift is likely to be philanthropic. If there exists an expectation or agreement that the donor or funder will receive a material benefit in return for their payment, then the gift is likely to be non-philanthropic.

3.3 Planned Giving and Bequests

Planned gifts or bequests are a particularly important form of support. The Advancement Unit encourages bequest donors to share their bequest intentions with the University. This allows UniSA to include those supporters in stewardship activities within their lifetime and ensures their intentions are carefully recorded and deeply understood.

UniSA staff and volunteers cannot provide financial or legal advice or hold any legal role on behalf of a bequest donor. However, the Advancement Unit can share approved suggested wording to prospective bequest donors for the consideration of their advisors. Planned gift donors may update or change their wishes at any time.

3.4 Philanthropic grants  

Where philanthropic competitive grant or award opportunities arise, for example from a philanthropic Trust or Foundation, the Advancement Unit will establish eligibility and distribute the information through the appropriate channel. The Unit will collaborate with other areas of the University to ensure the best possible outcome. For example, the Research Office (RO) promote philanthropic competitive research opportunities in collaboration with the Advancement Unit, to ensure a centralised point of communication for the University’s research community.


4. Accepting philanthropic gifts

The University accepts philanthropic support that aligns with its mission, values, and promotes its charitable purpose, the advancement of higher education.

The intention of a donor’s gift may be established via Advancement-led initiatives (for example, a specific purpose appeal) or, particularly for major gifts, can be defined within a gift agreement.

Major gift negotiations are facilitated by the Advancement Unit through discussion with the prospective donor and the area of the University that will implement the gift.  As part of this process, a gift agreement may be drafted and a due diligence process conducted by the Advancement Unit to assess and mitigate risk.

4.1 Gift Agreement

A gift agreement (or gift instrument) clarifies a donor’s expressed intent for their gift and describes the broad purpose for its use. The acceptance of the gift agreement also documents both the donor’s intention and the institutional undertaking to implementing a gift’s purpose.

The Advancement Unit is responsible for engaging internal stakeholders regarding their role and responsibilities in documenting and implementing gifts.

A Last Will and Testament (‘a Will’) is considered the gift instrument which establishes a bequest. The University must formally accept any terms contained within a Will in order to accept a gift from the bequestor’s estate.

The Advancement Unit will arrange execution of a Gift Agreement by the University at the appropriate financial delegation level as per the Vice Chancellor's Authorisations (VCA) framework.

4.2 Staff Giving

Staff giving is deeply valued by UniSA, an assessment must be made to ensure that gifts from staff members, the immediate family of staff members or an organisation where the staff member has a financial interest, do not create any real or perceived conflict of interest or give rise to any personal gain to the donor. Any such conflict must be resolved prior to a gift being accepted by the University.  

Neither acceptance of gifts nor expenditure of gift funds may be authorised by the staff member making the gift.

4.3 Philanthropic Gift Acceptance Checklist

The Philanthropic Gift Acceptance Checklist provides guidance to ensure all gifts that are accepted by UniSA have been fully evaluated and found to be:

  • Strategically aligned
  • Able to be delivered in an ethical, efficient and effective manner.

Philanthropic Gift Acceptance Checklist
Eligibility The gift is philanthropic. The Philanthropic Funding Workflow assists to determine the nature of the support.
Alignment The gift aligns with UniSA’s values, mission, and charitable purpose as defined in the University’s strategic intent and other policies

The gift complies with all relevant state and federal legislation, codes, and governance standards – and where giving occurs from overseas, the laws of the country in which the donation is made and international law.

For a major gift, the University must be satisfied about the particulars of the gift, and any risks that they pose. The Advancement Unit will:

  1. Complete the steps within the Ethical Gift Acceptance Framework to provide a due diligence evaluation; and where
  2. An elevated risk finding is identified, gift acceptibility will be referred to the University’s Advancement Strategy Group for consideration.
Feasibility and Achievability The University has sufficient internal resources to support the gift’s implementation to  satisfy the University’s moral obligations in respect of donor expectations.

This evaluation is led by the Advancement Unit and includes engaging internal stakeholders who, if the gift is realised, will become responsible for managing the implementation of the gift.

Internal stakeholders will be engaged as early as possible, with an aim to:
  • Establish the feasibility of delivering on the gifts intended purpose
  • Clarify forward responsibilities
  • Ensure the gift has a financial value that can achieve the intended purpose.
Where the gift is a financial perpetual endowment or a term endowment the Advancement Unit will engage the Finance Unit to establish that the proposed funding amount and investment plan can support the required longevity of the gift.

Where the gift is in-kind the Advancement Unit will establish that the University has committed resources and frameworks in place to service the ongoing use and maintenance of the gift.

Where the gift is a long-held investment such as shares, property, crypto currency, Intellectual Property or rights the Advancement Unit will consult the Finance Unit and Risk and Assurance Services.
Record keeping Where feasibility and achievability are evaluated as sound, the gift must be documented through a gift instrument, for example, a written statement from the donor, a University giving form, a gift agreement, a Will and Final testament, or a philanthropic grant agreement. All gift instruments are to be saved centrally by the Advancement Unit.

A Major Gift – Gift Agreement includes the following information to ensure that the donor’s intentions are correctly documented and to aid with future decision-making:
  • Contact details of the donor
  • Contact details of a delegate or representative, who may act on the donor/s behalf in the event they cannot be contacted
  • The broad intention and purpose of the gift
  • The donor’s preferences for acknowledgement of their gift
  • Where applicable, the donor’s preferences regarding confidentiality
  • Agreed gift reporting arrangements
  • Gift payment arrangements, where applicable.
A gift agreement is executed by the donor, or their agreed representative, and by a University staff member with appropriate financial delegation, as per the Vice Chancellor's Authorisation (VCA) framework.

The gift is promptly acknowledged and an official University of South Australia gift receipt provided to the donor.

A gift record including the date, amount and designation is entered within the records management database on the individual or organisational entity constituent record.

The financial administration of the gift is conducted in line with UniSA policy and procedure, including current Accounting Standards.

4.4 Gift Acceptance Risk and Responsibility

The Advancement Strategy Group (ASG) is a high-level reference group established to consult widely, review, and evaluate any significant activity relating to University Advancement operations and governance, as defined within the Terms of Reference.

Where an offer of support has been found to carry elevated risk, it is referred to the Advancement Strategy Group for recommendation. Where a substantial risk is determined, the Group make a recommendation to the Chief Advancement Officer as to whether the gift should be accepted or declined.

The group may recommend that UniSA decline support where the proposed gift

  • Has a purpose that is outside of the University’s charitable function
  • Creates an ethical, legal, or reputational risk for the University
  • Compromises the University’s statement on Academic Freedom and the Freedom of Speech Policy
  • Requires co-investment that is beyond resources available or imposes ongoing obligations that are untenable.

4.5 Declining an offer of support

Where, after careful consideration by the Advancement Strategy Group, a recommendation is reached that a particular gift cannot be accepted by the University. The University will notify the donor in writing of the University’s decision, articulating the reason/s why the gift cannot be accepted.

This activity will be recorded on the Advancement Unit relationship management database.


5. Managing philanthropic income

All staff members involved with delivering a donor funded project or program are responsible for ensuring delivery is in line with the University’s moral obligation to honour a donors’ intent and expectations wherever possible. Where a staff member requires advice on this responsibility the Advancement Unit should be engaged.     

5.1 Stewardship

Stewardship activities celebrate and recognise the contribution of the philanthropic community to UniSA. The Advancement Unit will provide stewardship to donors including updates on the impact of their philanthropic giving.

The Advancement Unit are responsible for ensuring donor relationships are managed in case of staff changes to ensure that the longevity of the life-long relationship of a donor to the University is supported.

5.2 Gift Implementation

UniSA will ensure gifts are used effectively, ethically and in line with University’s moral obligation to honour the purpose expressed by the donor.

In the unlikely event that the purpose of the gift can no longer be fulfilled, a renewed decision on applying the gift is sought. The University will make every effort to contact the donor, or the delegate of the donor, to confirm their updated intentions. Where contact is unable to be achieved the gift will be applied as closely as possible to the original purpose.  

5.3 Unrestricted Gifts

Gifts that are unrestricted in their purpose will be used to support the University’s highest priorities to advance education as determined by the Vice Chancellor.

5.4 Record Keeping and Reporting

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for recording and reporting on philanthropic income through the framework identified in the Foundation Investment Policy.

Finance Unit is responsible for submitting an annual income statement and financial report to the ACNC reporting on the University’s philanthropic income.

The Advancement Unit is responsible for:

  • Providing all donors with an acknowledgement of their support
  • Providing all donors of monetary gifts with an official University of South Australia tax receipt
  • Recording all philanthropic gifts to UniSA within the records management database, to create a life-long record of donor contribution to the University and ensuring the longevity of this record.

5.5 Global Reporting Standards

UniSA follows the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Global Reporting Standards for recording philanthropic giving and activity.

5.6 Reporting

The Chief Advancement Officer reports regularly to the Vice-Chancellor and Council on philanthropic activity.

5.7 Data and Information Management

The University respects a donor’s right to privacy. Donor personal information is stored by UniSA for stewardship and fundraising purposes and in adherence to the University’s Privacy Policy.

The University will ensure appropriate governance and management of data consistent with regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.

The University will ensure that data and information is appropriately stored, accessed, shared and disposed of protecting it from unauthorised access.


6. Donor acknowledgement, recognition, and stewardship

Each donor to UniSA will receive a prompt acknowledgment for their gift. The Advancement Unit will contact donors to provide updates on the impact of their philanthropic support.

The Advancement Unit will provide planned and tailored communication relevant to the donor and appropriate to their gift scale.

6.1 Communication preferences

Where a donor has expressed their preference to opt out of various communication channels, the Advancement Office will record their preference in the record management database and take measures, as outlined in the Privacy Policy, to respect their wishes.

6.2 Donor acknowledgement

To celebrate UniSA’s supporters the University may publicly acknowledge the names of donors. Donor acknowledgement preferences are recorded in the records management database. The University will respect the wishes of donors who request anonymity.

6.3 Naming opportunities

To acknowledge significant philanthropic support, naming opportunities may be considered by the University, in line with the Naming and naming rights Policy, for:

  • University buildings, structures, outdoor facilities
  • collections and resources
  • academic positions and programs
  • scholarships, prizes, or awards

All proposals for significant recognition through naming will be evaluated by the Advancement Strategy Group and a recommendation be made to the Vice-Chancellor.

The University may remove or change an existing naming at its discretion. This decision will be made where the naming no longer represents the University’s identity, community inclusivity and/or values.

Changes to recognition will occur following Advancement Strategy Group consideration and the Vice-Chancellor’s recommendation and where necessary endorsement from Council.

7. Terms and Definitions




ACNC: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Australia's national charity regulator.



Graduates of the institution and others with a prior academic relationship, including nongraduates, certificate and credential holders, distance learners, lifelong learners, residents, postdocs, honorary degree recipients and honorary alumni.

CASE Global Reporting Standards

Council of Advancement and Support in Education (CASE)

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the global non-profit association dedicated to educational advancement professionals—in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services—who share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society.

CASE Global Reporting Standards

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR)

DGRs are defined by the ATO as ‘an organisation or fund that can receive tax deductible gifts.’ Not all charities are DGRs. For example, in recent times crowdfunding campaigns have become a popular way to raise money for charitable causes. However, many of these crowdfunding websites are not run by DGRs, and therefore donations to these campaigns are not tax deductible

CASE Global Reporting Standards


Fundraising is the practice of seeking funds for the support of a particular organisation, individual or cause. Fundraising and philanthropy are not the same thing, although they are often confused. Put simply, philanthropy is the act of giving and fundraising is the act of asking.

Philanthropy Australia


A gift is a contribution received by an institution for either unrestricted or restricted use in the furtherance of the institution for which the institution has made no commitment of resources or services other than, possibly committing to use the gift as the donor specifies. The contribution is a non-reciprocal transfer in that there is no implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services or provision of exclusive information.

CASE Global Reporting Standards

Global Reporting Standards

CASE reporting standards provide a common set of definitions and procedures for reporting the results of fundraising and engagement activities at educational institutions. CASE designed these standards to help schools, colleges and universities benchmark the goals and progress of their programs against other institutions

CASE Global Reporting Standards


Contribution received by an institution for either unrestricted or restricted use in the furtherance of the institution that typically comes from a corporation, foundation, or other organization, rather than an individual.

CASE Global Reporting Standards

In-kind support:

Any non-cash donations of materials or long-lived assets, other than real and personal property. Gifts-in-kind might include such items as artwork, equipment, printed materials, food, or other items used for hosting dinners, etc.

CASE Global Reporting Standards

Major Gift

At the University of South Australia any philanthropic gift with a total value greater than $25,000 given over a period of 5 years or less is considered a Major Gift. The level and timescale which defines a Major Gift is reviewed from time to time by the Advancement Unit. A Major Gift carries the requirement for the conduct of due diligence and the execution of a gift agreement.

University of South Australia

Regulatory Authorities

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC): 

Taxation Office (ATO) Gifts and Fundraising:   Types and Conditions: 

Business Register (ABN):

ABN Lookup

This site provides access to publicly available information supplied by businesses when they register for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF): This is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training

CASE Global Reporting Standards

State and Federal Legislation:

Commonwealth) Income Tax Assessment Act 1997:

Privacy Act 1988:

Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commissions Act 2012:

Australian Accounting Standards:    

ACT Trustee Act 1925:   

NSW Charitable Trusts Act 1993:

NSW Charitable Fundraising Act 1991:

NSW Dormant Funds Act 1942:


Tax deductible gifts

To be tax deductible, a gift must fulfil certain criteria. These include:

  • The gift must be made to a deductible gift recipient (DGR)  
  • The gift must be philanthropic
  • It must be a gift of money or a certain type of property
  • The gift must comply with any relevant gift conditions.

Some charities cannot receive tax deductible gifts as they do not hold DGR status.

Philanthropy Australia