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Acceptance of a gift-in-kind

  • 1.  Acceptance of a gift-in-kind

    Posted 11-16-2021 11:51 AM
    Would a strategic planning study that a donor paid a consultant for be able to be counted as a gift in kind? The University didn't employ the consultant, the donor did and they are now wanting to gift the plan as a gift-in-kind. I was thinking that it counted as acceptable as printed material but obviously don't want to make assumptions.

    Jessica Baker
    Director, Data Quality, Gift Processing, Strategy
    University of Texas at Austin

  • 2.  RE: Acceptance of a gift-in-kind

    Posted 11-16-2021 12:10 PM
    If the consultant gave their services this would not be a gift.  However, if an independent individual pays for the work then it is countable as a gift.

    Of course, the better alternative is for the individual to make a gift to the institution to cover the costs of the consultant.  When things like this happen I usually wonder why it wasn't handled that way?


    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

  • 3.  RE: Acceptance of a gift-in-kind

    Posted 11-16-2021 12:20 PM
    Generally speaking, this type of intellectual property or intangible gift is almost always going to wind up being a either a $0 valuation, or a partial-interest gift and non-deductible. A real gift of IP, eg patent rights, can qualify as a donation with a real valuation, but when we're dealing with something like a report, which the donor has already read and benefited from, there's no meaningful way to make this not a partial-interest gift. There's also the ownership issue. While some consultants provide their work under a work-for-hire clause, many use licensing agreements such that parts of the work they deliver remain in their ownership, with usage rights provided to the client. Those rights are often non-transferable, and in any case, likely result in a partial-interest situation. 

    Better to have a donor pay the consultant's bill, and have the consultant work under contract to the university. 

    If the report is designed and printed, those costs can be counted as a gift - but unless you're printing lots of copies in high quality, the value of this would likely be small relative to the cost of the knowledge work that went into authoring the report.

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

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