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Gifts & Endowments FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I’ve received a gift check. To what account should I deposit it?
  • With the conversion to the new GREAT gift processing system, all gift check deposits are to be processed by Advancement Services. Checks received at the department need to be delivered in person or via courier to Advancement Services at 202 Cousteau Place, Suite 185. Cash gifts can be deposited at the Cashier’s Office or hand delivered to Advancement Services. Gifts should never be deposited directly to a gift expense account. Information regarding the courier can be found at
  • Can I deposit money received as a sponsorship to a gift account?
  • Sponsorship funds where the donor has not received benefits valued greater than 2% of the total amount provided are considered gifts and should be processed as such. For sponsorship funds where the sponsor has received benefits, such as advertising or table display space, with a fair market value (FMV) greater than 2% of the sponsorship amount: 1) the amount equal to the FMV of the benefit received should be deposited to an appropriate university-related event account, and 2) the remainder is to be processed as gift. 
  • I am creating an expense account needing a new gift fund number. What fund number should I use?
  • Use default gift fund number 90000. This will ensure that the document routes to the Gift & Endowment Team and denotes that it is a new fund.
  • Why hasn’t my gift account been approved?
  • New gift accounts needing a new fund number are not approved until Accounting & Financial Reporting (A&FR) receives a new fund request, with back-up donor documentation, from Advancement Services.  At that time a new fund is created, assigned to the pending account, and the Account document is approved.  There is an exception when the account is for linking to the web-giving site. Since the purpose is determined by the University, not the donor, accounts for web-giving can be approved upon receipt of the Account document by A&FR. Include notation that the account is for web-giving in the Account document explanation.
  • Why do we need so many accounts/funds?
  • Each fund type within the university represents a different fund source. Within gifts and endowments, a unique fund is needed for each donor designated gift purpose. If you do not have an existing account/fund with the same donor designated purpose as a new gift, a new account will need to be established and assigned a new fund number.
  • When creating a new gift/endowment account, can I template an existing account?
  • While it is tempting to template an existing account, it is best to start fresh. If a template is used, review carefully to be sure that all fields have been updated as needed.
  • How long will it take before I see gift funds posted to my account?
  • This can vary, as the GREAT gift document needs to route for approval before being sent to Advancement Services, where it then goes through the acceptance process. Once GREAT gift documents are received by Accounting & Financial Reporting, they are generally posted within three working days.

    Note: Gifts needing to be reviewed by Sponsored Programs will take additional time.

  • How do I know which account/fund to use for a new gift?
  • The purpose of the gift fund needs to match the donor’s wishes. Some gifts are given with instructions no more detailed than “for use by X department as needed”. These can go into a general department support gift fund/account. Any gift with more specific donor instructions needs to have a separate gift fund, not just a separate account or subaccount within the general department fund. Accounts set up for each new fund should include a detailed account purpose section so that future gifts with specific donor instructions can then be matched up to the existing account.
  • Is it okay to name a gift account “Various Donors”?
  • Although it was commonly done in the past, naming an account “various donors” is unnecessary. Unless an account was established to receive funds from a single donor, it is implied that the account could receive gifts from various donors as long as the donor intended purpose is the same. The account name should briefly reflect the account purpose as designated by the donor(s).
  • How do I know if an expense is allowable on a gift/endowment fund?
  • An important reason for having a detailed purpose on all gift expense accounts is that it can help in determining whether an expense is allowable on that fund/account per the donor designated intent.
  • Can we accept gifts from government agencies?
  • No, funds received from government agencies are not considered gifts. Consult with Sponsored Programs, as the funds may in fact be a grant. If not, the funds should be posted as income to an appropriate self-supporting account.
  • There is a small balance left in an old gift fund. Can I move the balance to another fund/account?
  • No, gifts need to be expended in full according to the donor intended purpose, as this was the expectation of the donor.
  • How do I know where my gift is in the process?
  • Once submitted to Advancement Services, gifts in the GREAT system can be viewed to determine their status. Consult with your Development Officer regarding the status of pending gifts or contact Advancement Services to request GREAT inquiry access.
  • A gift was posted to the wrong account (or the donor has changed their instructions). How can I move the gift?
  • Send an email to the, copying the A&FR gift analyst or the UC Davis Foundation as appropriate, to request a correction or re-allocation. Be sure to include the donor name, gift document number, gift amount, the fund/account to which the gift should be posted, the reason for the change in accounting distribution, and back-up documentation. The correction/transfer will be processed once the appropriateness of the change is confirmed.
  • How quickly do current use gift funds need to be expended?
  • As with all current use funds, gift funds are expected to be spent within a year of receipt. There may be exceptions, where funds are being accumulated for use on a large project.
  • How much income can be accumulated in an endowment fund?
  • Since an implied requirement of the law is that the University must put endowment payout to use, income may not accumulate for an unreasonable period of time. To ensure compliance with this law, The Office of the General Counsel has recommended that endowment income should not be allowed to accumulate beyond five years.
  • Can overdrafts be carried on gift/endowment funds?
  • Gift and endowment funds should not be allowed to go into overdraft. At year end, all gift and endowment overdrafts must be cleared by the home department (via GEC, SET, DI). These documents can then be reversed in the new year if additional funding becomes available. Any overdrafts not cleared by the department will be moved to general funds by Accounting & Financial Reporting and will not be reversed in the new fiscal year. If a new gift which will cover the overdraft has been received and acceptance paperwork is pending at year end, the department should submit an Accrual Voucher (AV) document for the income (documentation of pending income must be provided).
  • A gift account is no longer needed. Can it be expired?
  • Yes, if a gift expense account is no longer needed, it can be expired. The balance and all object consolidations must be zeroed out. To expire, submit an Account document to add an account expiration date (use the date the expiration is processed, not a date in the future) and a continuation account. Account award end date will not expire an account and will not prevent expenses from posting to the account. Keep in mind that endowment expense accounts should not be expired if they are the primary account, receiving the annual endowment payout. Also, accounts linked to the web-giving site should not be expired unless no longer needed and removed from the website.