Gift Solicitations

General University Policies--Gift Solicitations

Private gifts to or for the benefit of Southwestern Oklahoma State University are very important to the overall financial support of the various programs and activities of the University and its students. Except for student groups or student organizations, responsibility for the coordination of solicitations and proposals to individual, corporate, and foundation prospects is vested in the Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA). Solicitations by student groups or organizations are coordinated through the Dean of Student’s Office in conjunction with OIA. Therefore, all private fund-raising activity is to be coordinated through the OIA or designee, which will then coordinate with other University offices as necessary.

Employees of the University are encouraged to solicit external funding to support University programs of interest.  Such solicitations, however, must be coordinated through the OIA to ensure that maximum efforts for fund raising are attained.  This means that individual solicitations from departments, groups, or employees for any project must be approved by the OIA.  Such approval coordinates university fund raising in an excellent manner, ensures proper recognition of contributors, and helps to avoid potentially embarrassing duplicate and multiple solicitations. Also, to avoid potentially embarrassing or legal implications, it is the policy of the University that no employee or university representative may accept gifts, either cash or non-cash, without the involvement of the OIA.  Gifts to a college, school or department will be processed by the OIA.

Solicitations shall be engaged in a manner that:

  • does not interrupt the normal routine operation of the University;
  • does not interfere with the assigned duties of the employee;
  • does not interfere with the rights and privileges of other employees of the University;
  • does not utilize university equipment, supplies, paid staff time, or other university resources without the express consent of the President or designee in accordance with other polices and procedures as stated herein;
  • directs that gifts may only be made to the University, the SWOSU Foundation, Inc., SWOSU Pharmacy Alumni Foundation, the SWOSU Alumni Association; or, any other duly authorized organization that meets the appropriate criteria for supporting the University;
  • states that gifts may be designated or restricted for a particular program, activity, or other purpose such as for scholarships;
  • allows gifts to be made in cash or other valuable property; and
  • ensures that any gift and any restrictions on the use of that gift must be approved in accordance with the policies and procedures that govern the donor or donor organization and the University.

The final interpretation of any rules regarding the solicitation of gifts or donations resides with the President of the University.

Failure to adhere to the University’s policies and procedures subject an employee to appropriate disciplinary actions.

Procedural Issues:

A potential donor mentions that he or she is thinking about a gift to the University.  Should the person receiving that information contact the OIA?  Response:  Not necessarily; each situation calls for the judgment of the individual receiving the comment.  One may elect to check with the OIA and may or may not decide to divulge who the potential donor may be.  If it is the first time for an individual to receive such a comment, he or she may just want to get some pointers for the OIA.

When should a potential donor who has made mention of a possible gift be contacted and by whom?  Response:  Again, each situation must be dealt with depending on the circumstances.  If a person receiving the comment does not feel equipped to respond to the potential donor, he or she may want to ask that individual if it would be appropriate to pass on the information to the OIA or someone else at the University.  Generally, the potential donor will make his or her wishes known as to what next steps need to be taken, if any.

A University representative (faculty, staff, student, etc.) may have been working with a potential donor and is concerned that by involving the OIA that a solicitation may be turned into something that was not intended.   How can this be addressed?  Response: The individuals in the OIA have been instructed to be sensitive to these types of issues.  The OIA should be told of the intentions of the solicitor and should work to help towards that goal so long as it does not create an untenable situation for the University.

A University representative has been cultivating a potential donor for a lengthy period of time.  When should the OIA be contacted?  Response: Only when the University representative feels that the time is appropriate does he or she need to contact the OIA.  The OIA may be contacted for advise or information about when or how to make an ask.  Or, the OIA may be asked to help with a solicitation.  By coordinating with the OIA, the purpose is to try to make certain that a solicitation is handled as appropriately as possible. 

A University representative may have contact with an individual who is a potential donor, and that donor is connected only to that particular representative.  The representative does not want anyone from the OIA to talk to that potential donor.  What should the University representative do in this situation?  Response:  At some point in time, the representative will need to decide when he or she wants the University to be aware of the potential gift.  When that time comes, the representative should have the confidence to notify the OIA of the potential gift.

A University representative is asked to make a proposal “off the record” to an individual.  What should the representative do in this case?  Response:  An “off the record” proposal is not an appropriate means to make a solicitation.  If the representative does not believe that he or she can make a solicitation except “off the record”, then he or she should notify the potential donor that the University’s policy does not make “off the record” proposals.

If a University representative has been nurturing a potential donor, does he or she have to immediately contact the OIA? Response:  No.  Furthermore, if a University representative has been working with a potential donor and elects to notify the OIA immediately, the OIA may not contact that donor without the express permission of the University representative.  If the OIA is asked to contact a potential donor, the OIA has been instructed not to use “pressure tactics” in speaking with that person.