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"Suggested Donation"

  • 1.  "Suggested Donation"

    Posted 29 days ago
    Good afternoon,

    A professor at my university will be providing DEI training to external companies for no cost, as part of his position at the university. Our Advancement department would like to ask for a 'suggested donation' from those organizations. I'm curious if others would count this as a gift to the university. The companies are not required to pay for the training, but this also feels like a gray area and not purely 'philanthropic intent' since the companies will have received something of value from the university/this professor. If we do count as a gift, would we consider the gift to be linked to the services received and therefore back out the quid pro quo portion?

    Appreciate the insight, if others have handled a similar situation!
    Thank you,
    Tori Sellner

    Victoria Sellner
    Associate Director, Gift Accounting
    University of St. Thomas

  • 2.  RE: "Suggested Donation"

    Posted 29 days ago
    If the event is free, there's no QPQ b/c there's no "pro" - the money is not FOR a benefit, the benefit has been given free of charge. The intent is 100% donative, from a business perspective, because the business could just as easily pay nothing. The only reason they're paying is to support the institution. This is especially true to the extent that the lecture furthers the university's mission. A museum of ancient history having a "free" Taylor Swift concert with a "suggested" donation and goons at the door frowning mightily at freeloaders might not stand up. On the other hand, a university professor speaking from their expertise, publicly, on DEI issues to educate local businesses, seems like a charity serving the public good. Asking for donations to support that shouldn't pose any QPQ issue.

    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    CRM Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now:

  • 3.  RE: "Suggested Donation"

    Posted 28 days ago
    I would not tie the suggested donation piece to the training.  In fact, I would not mention anything about a gift.  I most certainly would, though, send them an annual fund appeal!


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987

  • 4.  RE: "Suggested Donation"

    Posted 28 days ago
    My organization runs a large community education program where all of the registrations are free. We always ask for donations - I think you'd be nuts not to! We use the language "It is our pleasure to bring this conversation to you at no cost. Please consider supporting our work with a donation." We put it in the online registration form, in the confirmation page, the confirmation email, and all of our follow up emails. I think you could easily do something similar in your situation and see nothing wrong with doing so.

    Erin Osenbaugh
    Donor Relations Manager
    Leadership Austin