Skip to main content

Gift acceptance policies and procedures

Dalhousie adheres to the highest standards of ethics and transparency when raising funds for the university. The following guidelines are used in connection with all charitable and non-charitable gifts we receive.

Accepting a gift

  • A gift that involves a proposal to name a structure, academic unit, and other naming opportunity, is conditional upon final approval of the naming in accordance with the University’s Naming Policy. 
  • All gift agreements, including documentation relating to the administration of estates, will be signed by an authorized university signing authority (e.g. the Vice-President, Advancement). 
  • When negotiating a gift on behalf of the University, individuals must consult with the Vice-President Advancement to ensure due diligence prior to accepting the gift. 
  • If a gift is received by a faculty, department, or other unit on campus and is in accordance with the University’s Gift Acceptance Policy, the gift and related information must be forwarded to the Office of Advancement for an official tax receipt to be created.  

Eligible gifts

  • Cash and cash equivalents
  • Gift-in-kind and gifts of real property
  • Life insurance
  • Charitable gift annuities
  • Gifts of residual interest
  • Securities (public and privately held, charitable stock options)
  • Charitable trusts and bequests

Gift agreement guidelines

A gift agreement is a contract between the university and a benefactor. This mutually-agreed upon document communicates the purpose of the gift, and ensures the donor’s wishes are known and understood by the university. It outlines the institution’s responsibilities for awarding funds and use of earnings and capital. In most cases, gift agreements are created between the donor and Dalhousie University. 

Adhering to the terms of the gift agreement is of the utmost importance to the university; however, there may be occasions when a gift is not able to be used for its intended purpose. Reasons that a fund may not be able to be used for its intended purpose include: 

  • The program/faculty/school no longer exists at Dalhousie
  • A scholarship goes to a student from a particular high school that no longer exists
  • The terms are no longer deemed ethical

In these cases, the Office of Advancement will do everything in its power to consult with the donor or a family member to discuss modifying the gift agreement. In the event no living relative can be found, the university reserves the right to amend the terms. The university will keep the terms as close as possible to the original donor’s intent.

Dalhousie’s ethical responsibility

The university has an ethical responsibility to every donor. Employees, volunteers, and professional representatives on behalf of the University will conduct themselves with accepted professional standards of accuracy, truth, and integrity in accordance with The Code of Ethical Principles and Standards set out by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). 

It is unacceptable for an employee, volunteer, or other person representing the university to use undue persuasion or pressure in securing a gift. Dalhousie will adhere to the Donor Bill of Rights established by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

All Dalhousie donors are strongly urged to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and/or estate planning consequences. At no time should any Dalhousie staff member or volunteer involved in the solicitation of a gift serve as professional legal, tax, or financial advisor to a donor or a prospect in matters relating to a gift. 

Independent appraisals

Independent appraisals of the value of the gift may be required for: 

  • Personal property 
  • Real estate
  • Gifts-in-kind 
  • Art objects, intellectual property, and cultural property 

Independent appraisals are required for all gifts-in-kind over $1,000 with the cost to be incurred by the donor. Gifts under $1,000 require either an independent appraisal or an internal valuation set by a qualified employee of the university as per CRA regulations. 

Donor anonymity

When a donor wishes to remain anonymous, the university will ensure the donor’s wishes are respected.

Endowed funds

Endowed funds will be administered in accordance with the Institutional Endowment Management Policy. Funding levels for endowed funds such as awards, scholarships, and chairs are outlined in the naming guidelines.