Recording/Modifying Gifts and Pledges

Modifying Gifts and Pledges

There is only one requirement for recording a gift: The actual gift must be in hand! There are, however, a few circumstances under which we can record a pledge or modify an existing pledge or gift. For purposes of the discussion below, only legal (gifts made by the donor), as opposed to soft pledges (gifts made on behalf of the donor) and gifts are being considered.

Pledges may be recorded:

  • When obtained through an authorized telethon, such as the Student Calling Center, and submitted to the Gifts Processing unit.
  • When instructed in writing by the donor, with Gift Processing having a copy of the pledge document. Signed letters of intent and/or a letter from the donor or the donor’s trustee satisfy this requirement. .
  • When the donor makes a verbal commitment to a member of the Development staff who confirms his or her understanding of the pledge by a letter to the donor. Gifts Processing must have a copy of this correspondence. Memos to "file" or internal memoranda to Gifts Processing are not sufficient. Verbal pledges are entered as Intentions, and will receive an automatic reminder from the pledge reminder system. Intentions, however, do not count toward attainment totals.
  • Some Annual Fund pledges are made verbally to Development Officers. Gifts Processing will record these verbal pledges for Annual Fund only provided the Development Officer submits the information regarding the pledge in writing via email or memorandum and includes the amount of the pledge and the payment schedule.

Under no circumstances may an existing pledge or payment be modified without Gift Processing having written documentation. This may come in the form of a letter from the donor or a letter to the donor from a member of the Development staff. The only exceptions to this rule are the yearly write-offs of Annual Fund pledges, corrections of errors made by Gift Processing, and personal contact by the donor. Soft pledge and gift amounts can be modified as long as the request is in writing.

A pledge can be made only by the entity exercising legal control over the assets to be given. Therefore, an individual cannot make a pledge that includes anticipated matching contributions from an employer or some other source. Nor can an individual commit funds that may be applied for through a donor advised fund or community foundation. An enforceable, countable pledge includes only those funds that will be given by that legal entity.

Pledge Recording Guidelines

Only legally enforceable, unconditional intents to give will be entered as pledges in the Gift system. In order to enter a pledge from an individual or an organization, there must be some document, either from the donor to the University or from the University to the donor, outlining the pledge agreement. (Pledges acquired by the Student Calling Center are exempt from this requirement).

Financial Accounting Standards Board statement FAS116 requires non-profit organizations to regard pledges in much the same manner as accounts receivable. As such the University must have a very good understanding of the donor’s payment intentions/schedule so that future anticipated payments can be value dated.

Pledges of a donor’s assets should be documented, committing to a specific dollar amount that will be paid according to a fixed time schedule.

Only legally enforceable, unconditional pledges will count toward goals and attainment calculations.

-Advancement Services Orientation Manual