Fundraising and Charitable Request Policy
|Assistant Vice President for Advancement|
|Assistant Vice President for Advancement|
|The first version of a policy to govern charitable giving and charitable asks was developed 2/2022|
|fundraising, charitable events, solicitation, sponsorships|
SUNY Empire solicits and receives charitable gifts and grants through the Office for Advancement and the Empire State University Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) to enhance the academic programs, status, and student experience of the university, and to support the university’s mission. The Foundation was created to support the university by receiving and managing gifts and making these funds available to the university, through collaboration with university leadership, for a variety of purposes including, but not limited to, academic programs, professional development, strategic initiatives, as well as student scholarships. The Foundation has the authority to receive and administer private charitable contributions to the university. As a 501c(3) organization, the Foundation can issue receipts for charitable contributions for IRS tax and legal purposes.
Creating a culture of giving fosters community engagement and a recognition of the diverse needs and interests of the university community. This is an important activity and it is necessary to have clear parameters and shared understanding in this area. Fundraising and charitable request activities for third-party organizations or individuals carry with them a risk of perceived favoritism or endorsement of third-party organizations or individuals. Balance and cross divisional consideration of all goals and purposes should be considered when planning fundraising events in order to avoid unintended competing requests that may result in donor fatigue and harm fundraising efforts/results. Similarly, the use of university resources should align with intended audience and university priorities. While successful university wide fundraising is led by the Office for Advancement, there is a desire to also support the interests and needs of individual university audiences (e.g., students and employees) in a manner that aligns with and can build on universitywide efforts. The university supports students and/or employees engaging in community building efforts within and outside the university SUNY Empire students and employees are often active and supportive of their local community (i.e., both within SUNY Empire workplace and in the geographic communities we serve).
The intent of this policy is to:
- Maximize the effectiveness of institutional fundraising to enhance SUNY Empire programs, initiatives and student supports.
- Ensure all fundraising activities are aligned with and supportive of the SUNY Empire brand and the core mission of the university.
- Provide fundraising opportunities for students that are beneficial to student groups and/or the university.
- Avoid “donor fatigue” or confusion on the part of donors and prospective donors.
- Help ensure that the university does not engage in perceived favoritism or endorsement towards certain third-party organizations or individuals.
Fundraising: The professional process of obtaining voluntary contributions from various sources for the support of an organization or project. Fundraising includes any activities that can reasonably be considered as solicitation of charitable gifts, contributions, pledges from individuals or grants from corporations, foundations or other organizations (excluding those activities conducted through the Office of Sponsored Programs and the SUNY Research Foundation).
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Voluntarily given transfers of value: including cash, checks, securities, credit card transactions, real or personal property such as land, homes, collections, jewelry, food, clothing, and artwork
- Gifts-in-kind (equipment, furnishings, software, inventory, etc.)
- Deferred or planned gifts (commitments made through an individual’s estate plan or other tax-advantaged charitable mechanism)
- University resources are defined broadly and include supplies, tools, services and communication channels that have been created by the members of the university community, supported by university funding and/or used to communicate universitywide news and information.
This policy does not apply to:
- Volunteering of time or service.
- Any service learning or experiential learning that occurs as part of an academic activity.
- Employees or students looking to work on community fundraising that involves regional, student or school- focused communication.
Support through charitable giving provides substantial financial resources for SUNY Empire’s students, faculty, staff and university programs and strategic initiatives. Support of student activities provides a sense of community and attachment to the university that may persist past graduation. Coordinated and planned solicitations to alumni, faculty/staff, and any friends of the university are necessary for successful fundraising and successful student activities. Cultivating donors and prioritizing donating to the university is critical for the sustainability of the university’s fundraising program.
All fundraising efforts on behalf of the university must be consistent with the following:
- Maximize effectiveness of the university’s overall fundraising program
- Meet IRS standards for tax deductibility
- Meet PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards (when appropriate)
- Adhere to SUNY’s policy and procedures on gift acceptance
- Coordinate efforts between the Office for Advancement, Student Affairs and Office of Communications and Marketing to maximize success of fundraising/charitable request efforts, ensure compliance, prevent or eliminate over-solicitation of any demographic (alumni, faculty/staff, friends of the university, etc.) and avoid the possibility of perceived favoritism or endorsement.
The Office for Advancement welcomes interest from employees and student organizations who are interested in implementing fundraising and charitable activities that benefit the SUNY Empire student population and complement current resources (e.g., student emergency funds, Fund for SUNY Empire scholarships).
As a state agency, SUNY Empire operates in accordance with all New York State rules and regulations regarding use of state resources and conflict of interests. This policy does not apply to requests for the SEFA campaign. Requests for leave donations are not within the scope of this policy. Individuals and organizations who wish to use SUNY Empire property for solicitation or activities leading to personal gain are directed to the SUNY Empire Commercial Use Policy.
Members of the university community, including students and student organizations, who are interested in fundraising and/or charitable activities which will involve use of universitywide communication, should first obtain workgroup support (e.g., Academic School, University Department) Once that support is received, the Fundraising Planning Document (Appendix A) serves as a key resource to help guide the implementation of the fundraising and/or charitable activity.