WFAA Policies for Gift Processing

Last Updated: 4.17.2018

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) is responsible for recording and receipting all gifts and pledges in accordance to Internal Revenue Code (IRS),  Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) regulations. The IRS defines a charitable gift as a donation to or for the use of a qualified organization. It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value. WFAA provides written acknowledgement to donors that their gift has been received, which they may use for tax purposes. Additional acknowledgements may be sent by WFAA and/or UW staff for stewardship purposes.

Gifts must meet the following criteria:

  • The gift must be consistent with the mission of the WFAA which is to support the UW.
  • The gift must provide financial support for broadly defined areas or may provide for ‘unrestricted’ use, at the discretion of a defined campus unit.
  • No detailed technical or fiscal reports may be required as a condition of the gift. If detailed fiscal or technical reports are required, the gift becomes a research contract which must be awarded to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, rather than to WFAA. The unit or faculty member involved may provide the donor with a brief summary of the results of supported activities and/or a statement that expenditures were made in accordance with the intent to the gift.
  • All patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights that result from activities supported by the gift are not claimed by the donor.
  • The gift contains no restrictive provisions, such as delays or advance notice concerning publication or dissemination of data and information derived from activities supported by the gift.
  • Gifts given by donors are irrevocable. However, pledge agreements are revocable.
  • The gift must not be eligible for Special Deposit.

In addition to the gift criteria above, WFAA may not accept revenue from university-sponsored revenue generating activities such as fees for laboratory and other services, payments for facility use, merchandise sales or payments on contractual or business arrangements. All such funds must be deposited directly with the University into appropriate accounts. Most revenue from ticket sales and registration fees may also not be accepted. Learn More >

Gifts are received by WFAA through standard and approved methods in coordination with WFAA Gift Processing, via an appropriate WFAA Lockbox or the online giving website. Gifts should typically be directed via these methods. If a donor sends a gift to the university directly, the gift may be sent to WFAA with the Gift Deposit Form.

It is acceptable to deposit checks payable to other names with WFAA if there is clear documentation that the donor intended the check to be a gift to WFAA or deposited into a fund held by WFAA. Supporting documentation must be forwarded to WFAA with the check.

University units and programs may have special cases where receiving gifts via another avenue is appropriate. In these, as in all cases, review by WFAA Gift Processing and/or Legal teams is required before any solicitation occurs. This will help ensure timely and efficient gift entry. These cases include:

  • Solicitations that direct online gifts via a channel other than
  • Other non-traditional fundraising approaches

In addition, fundraising events have special IRS deductibility considerations should always be reviewed and approved by WFAA before any marketing materials are developed. The WFAA Registration and Gift Processing team can assist with:

  • Event sponsorships
  • Event registrations that are under WFAA mission and require use of a WFAA or third party registration tool
  • Event registrations that include a gift component
  • Auctions and raffles
  • Other non-traditional fundraising events

Other Restrictions:

“Quid Pro Quo” Situations: If a donor receives something of value in return for a gift, the donor’s tax deduction is reduced by the fair market value of the benefit received. University units are responsible for establishing and reporting fair market value for benefits and informing donors on solicitation materials. All “quid pro quo” situations or gift solicitations must be reported to and cleared with the WFAA Gift Processing and Legal teams prior to the solicitation or event.

Third Party Fundraising: If a non-university, non-WFAA third party raises funds to support the university through an event or fundraising activity, that third party is responsible for receiving revenue and receipting donors as appropriate. Donations or revenue from the fundraising activity must be directed to the third party, not the university nor WFAA. The third party may then direct the entire proceeds to WFAA, which will credit and receipt the third party as the donor.

Next Steps:

If you have not discussed your event with the WFAA Events team, connect with them to see if your event qualifies for their help. If it does not, please contact Gift Processing to determine if your event revenue can be deposited into a gift fund at WFAA.

Contact Gift Processing by sending an email to