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Property Management Manual


2.5 Donations and Gifts

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Policy Contact

Scott O. Ray, CPPM
Assistant Director
Property Management Office

A donation is a gift of equipment or tangible property to the University without an expectation by the Donor of anything in return. A donation may be directed for use by a particular department, research program, or Principal Investigator (PI); however, Stanford University is the owner of all donations, without exception. Donations are not the property of faculty, staff or students, even if they may have been the primary contact or delivery point for the donation and the designated end user. Department staff, PI's, the Department Property Administrator (DPA), the Property Management office (PMO) and the Office of Development (OOD), all must work together to accurately and completely document and report equipment gifts received by the University.

1. Donations—Use and Restrictions

Stanford must retain all corporate and private donations of equipment for at least 3 years from date donated to the University unless the donor authorizes otherwise in writing. During the retention period, donations may not be transferred in exchange for money, other property, or services.

If the item is disposed of prior to the three-year limit, both the donor and the IRS may need to be notified. Exceptions to the three year limitation are supplies or materials that have a useful life of less than one year. For more detailed interpretation of these regulations, please contact your Property Programs Manager (PPM).

Donations of property intended for immediate sale must be processed expediently.  As soon as possible after receipt of the donated equipment by the department, the DPA should contact Surplus Property Sales (SPS) to coordinate the sale.  The sale should occur within a reasonable time frame after receipt of the item by the department. Donations intended for sale are handled on a case-by-case basis. For guidance, please contact your PPM or the Office Of Development (OOD) if your department is receiving this type of donation.

3. Non-Capital Asset Donations

Donated items of equipment that are valued less than $5,000 (non-capital asset donations) do not require recording in the Sunflower (SFA) property management database. It is required, however, that the DPA notifies PMO as soon as possible. Copies of all documentation must be submitted to PMO so the donation can be properly accounted for by PMO and reported to the OOD and to the Controller’s Office for IRS purposes.

4. Capital Equipment Donation Documentation

Per Administrative Guide Memo 4.2.3 – Records of Donated Equipment, donations of property having a fair market value of $5,000 or greater must be recorded in the SFA property management database by the DPA. For IRS purposes, PMO must be notified of all donations of equipment, regardless of value. Timeliness in notification is critical to ensure that all applicable regulations are adhered to and correctly documented. For complex donation transactions, involving the PMO at the negotiation stage is recommended.

The following documentation is generally required for donations of equipment or other tangible property. Find the Donated Equipment Transmittal Form in the Property Management Forms and Documents section.

  • Letter of intent to donate and/or donation agreement from donor
  • Itemized list of the donated items, with complete descriptions
  • Shipping and receiving documents; e.g. packing list, if applicable
  • Established value (new equipment – the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, used equipment – estimated fair market value; from donor or as determined by PMO or both)
  • Any additional documentation regarding the donation, if any

Copies of the above documentation should be submitted to your PPM.

5. Equipment Donation—Operational Procedure

The department receiving the donation shall generate a one dollar purchase order in the iProcurement system, using the following guidelines:

  • Scan all documentation (checked off in section one) into a single pdf file.
  • Identify capital equipment items, and tag with Stanford Barcode tag and Donation overlay.
  • Create a one dollar ($1.00) Standard Capital Purchase Requisition in iProcurement with the following requirements:
    • Select: Non-Catalog Request -  Category: Standard.Capital Equipment
    • Use Donor’s name for vendor name
    • Must use a Gift account within range GAAAA-JXZZZ
    • Only use Expenditure type (ET) 53125
  • Create an on-line receiving event in Oracle iProcurement, once PO is generated.
  • Create record(s) in Sunflower (SFA) property management database.
    • Use Receiving date for Acquisition date
    • Acquisition method must be Donation
    • Attach photo(s) of equipment, and list other associated tag numbers (if any) in the comments section of record.
  • Forward completed form with all documentation to your designated Property Programs Manager (PPM) in the Property Management Office.

Gift Acknowledgement

Gift Processing in the OOD will prepare and send an official university gift receipt for gifts of equipment and other tangible personal property, including gifts valued at less than $5,000. Such receipts should not be generated by local departments. 

Thank you notes or similar acknowledgements from departments or individuals are appropriate, but official University acknowledgement of receipt of a donation should only be generated by Gift Processing. These receipts confirm delivery of described items and the date the gift was received, but do not include the value of the item(s). IRS rules require donors, not the university, establish the value of items donated for their tax-related purposes. Receipts may be requested by contacting OOD. If Stanford obtains an appraisal, it is to be used internally only. See Administrative Guide Memo 4.2.2.

Some donors may request completion of an IRS form 8283 (Non-Cash Charitable Contributions). If so, the form should be forwarded to your Property Programs Manager. Per Administrative Guide 4.1.1, the form can only be signed by the University Tax Accounting Officer or the authorized designee in the Property Management Office. Departments are not authorized to sign the IRS form 8283 on behalf of the University.

Vehicle donations must be reported (by PMO and OOD) to the IRS within 30 days of receipt. Please notify PMO immediately when considering accepting a vehicle donation.