Donations and Fundraising

Donations and Fundraising


The Donations and Fundraising Policy establishes a framework for the effective, efficient and ethical acceptance and management of funds or other resources received by the University, including Macquarie University Hospital, by way of donations, bequests or outcomes of fundraising activities.



To establish a framework for the effective, efficient and ethical acceptance and management of funds or other resources received by the University, including Macquarie University Hospital, by way of donations, bequests or outcomes of fundraising activities.


Donations of money or property, bequests and fundraising activities play a significant role in fulfilling Macquarie University’s mission and goals. Accordingly, the University welcomes gifts from its graduates, staff, individuals, governments, the business community and other stakeholder organisations which support its mission.

Donations may be used to support any endeavour consistent with the mission and goals of the University and its Controlled Entities including, but not limited to, acquisition of equipment, funding of university-approved capital works, research, services, scholarships, prizes, staff positions, and community outreach. These funds may be expended or maintained as an endowment to support and further the University mission.

Macquarie University is endorsed in Australia by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), and as such gifts of $2.00 or more are generally tax deductible for Australian taxpayers.


All University staff involved in any aspect of acceptance or management of donations, bequests and University fundraising whether these are monetary or in-kind or any such activity approved to be undertaken on behalf of the University.


Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

Benefit – anything that is believed to be of value to the recipient eg access to events, information.

Bequest – a gift made by way of a will; a legal declaration of a donor’s wishes regarding the disposition of their property after death whereby the principle benefit of the gift is not available to the University until some future date, often at the time of the donor’s death or at the end of a specified time.

Donation – a voluntary contribution, gift, bequest or devise, whether in cash or in-kind, or other giftable financial assets or real property that advances the mission of the University and no material benefit is received by the donor from the University in return.

Donation in-kind – a voluntary contribution other than a donation of money eg goods, services, or property

Donations will have the following characteristics:

  • Payment of money or a transfer of the beneficial interest in property.
  • The payment or transfer is made voluntarily.
  • The payment or transfer is made without compensation to donor.
  • No benefit or advantage is received or expected to be received by the donor.
  • The payment or transfer is undertaken by donor due to generosity, charity, admiration or support
  • Payment or transfer cannot be changed or recovered by donor.

Donor – any natural or legal person who provides a monetary or in-kind transfer to the University, whether this is for a specific purpose or not.

Endowment – a donation made in accordance with the University’s Investment Policy whereby funds are provided with the intention to be invested in perpetuity to ensure ongoing support for beneficiaries from the investment earnings.

Office of Advancement – University office responsible for the active promotion of philanthropy, management of donated resources, and management of the University’s relationships with alumni, donors and prospective donors, focusing on fundraising purposes; it includes Alumni Relations, Development, and Advancement Services.

Fundraising Activity – all activities undertaken by authorised individuals or organisations, either for or on behalf of the University, with the aim of soliciting or receiving donations.

Gift – any voluntary donation or bequest, received monetarily or in-kind.

Gift Agreement – a document finalising an agreement between the University and donors involved in a planned gift such as a bequest.

Cash Gift – gifts of money, including foreign currency. The money may be paid in various ways, including by cash, cheque, credit card or electronically. In Australia the gift to a Deductible Gift Recipient must be AUD$2 or more.

Cultural Gift – gifts of culturally significant property, except property that is an estate or interest in land or in a building or part of a building. In Australia, cultural gifts are made under the Cultural Gifts Program administered by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the ARTS (DEWHA) with the advice of the Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts. In Australia this gift type does not cover testamentary gifts made in a will.

Designated Gift – a gift which a donor has given specific directions on the purpose for which the gift is to be used.

Grant – the provision of financial assistance from a grant-making entity to the University. Grants may be treated as donations if the grant does not involve the return of any material benefit to the grant maker, for example a research report.

Pledge – a documented commitment to make a regular donation amount within a specified period of time.

Property – As well as physical things, property includes rights and interest that are capable of ownership and have a value. This gift type does not cover testamentary gifts, that is, gifts made under a will.

Prospective Major Donor – an individual or organisation with both the financial capacity and the likely inclination to support the University via a major donation (as may be defined by the University from time to time) or a bequest.

Recognition – agreed donor stewardship plan executed by the University to recognise the generosity of donors and to steward their philanthropic support.

Sponsor – is the corporate organisation or individual who provides a cash and/or in-kind fee paid in return for access to commercial benefits associated with that asset/property sponsored.

Sponsorship – a transfer of money or property to the University in a transaction where the sponsor receives certain specified material in return. Sponsorships may have a part that is treated as a philanthropic donation.

Stewardship – advising donors on the use of donations and the impact of their giving.

Testamentary Gift – when a will says that certain property goes to a specific person. There are two terms used to refer testamentary gifts, a ‘devise’ and a ‘bequest’. A devise is where the gift is of real property (eg land) while a bequest is where the gift is of personal property.

Tied Donations – any donation given and received for a specified purpose that cannot normally be used for any other purpose without the donor’s approval eg, to specifically fund the salary of a professorial chair, the purchase of equipment or to fund a named annual student prize or scholarship. In the event that the specific purpose no longer exists and the donor cannot be located, the University will strive to allocate the gift to a new purpose that closely resembles the intended wishes of the donor.

Undesignated Gift – a gift which the donor has made no clearly indicated designation as to the method or purpose of expenditure is deemed as unrestricted gift. This term may also be applied to gifts designated to general support of the University.

University – Macquarie University and its Controlled Entities.

Untied Donations – any donation given and received for no specific purpose that can be used at the discretion of the University.


Under the auspices of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, the Executive Director: Macquarie University Office of Advancement is responsible for managing the University’s relationship with donors and prospective donors. There will be a strategic, uniform and coordinated approach for the seeking and acceptance of donations.

The Vice-Chancellor must approve all University-wide fundraising campaigns and initiatives.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, must approve all fundraising campaigns and initiatives for faculties, other units and Controlled Entities.

No member of the University or its Controlled Entities may finalise approaches for fundraising purposes unless coordinated with, and approved through, the Macquarie University Office of Advancement.

Macquarie University Office of Advancement staff engaged in fundraising activities and Donor management must conduct themselves as ambassadors for the entire University.


To implement a strategic, uniform and coordinated approach, the University will:

  • adopt transparent and ethical processes for the acceptance and management of donations and fundraising activities across the entire University.
  • develop operational procedures to accompany each fundraising activity such that a strategic, uniform and coordinated approach to fundraising, Donation acceptance and receipting is achieved. This is to ensure that multiple, conflicting, or inappropriate solicitations will be minimized.
  • protect the confidentiality of Donors and Sponsors consistent with their wishes and to the extent provided by law (eg Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 NSW). The University will however comply with any legal obligation to disclose the names of Donors and Sponsors and the nature and value of their Donations.
  • adequately identify funds and use them for the purpose for which they were intended.
  • maintain Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cwlth).

The role of Privacy Officer i is administered by the University’s Compliance Manager, with the following contact email address:

All Donations, whether monetary or In-Kind are to be made to the University with an express or implied intention to support the mission of the University.

For clarity, a Gift Agreement is determined to occur when a written fundraising agreement is finalised between the University and a Donor.

The University will only accept Donations where they are ethical in nature and are consistent with the mission, goals and policies of the University. The University does not accept Donations generated by the proceeds of the Tobacco Industry or crime. The University reserves the right to refuse an offered Donation.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, must approve:

  • the receipt or acceptance of any Donation between $150,000 and $5 million

The Vice-Chancellor must approve:

  • the receipt or acceptance of any Donation of $5 million or more, AND
  • any Donation that, in the opinion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, or the Executive Director of the Office of Advancement, or a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive team whose area will benefit from it:
    • might expose the University to a potential significant or uncertain liability or
    • might be precedent setting or involves sensitive issues.

Advice must be sought from the Chief Financial Officer or the Executive Director: Macquarie University Office of Advancement with regard to the potential impact on the University prior to accepting any In-Kind Donation.

No person representing the University is to provide advice and/or engage in speculation about the taxation implications or legal status of Donations with respect to the potential impact on the donor. Donors should seek their own independent advice about these matters.

The University will use a Tied Donation for the purpose for which it was intended. Where this is not possible the Macquarie University Office of Advancement will discuss alternative arrangements.

Where the University receives an Untied Donation the University will determine where the donation is to be allocated.

Expenditure of funds received by the University from Donations is subject to the University’s Financial Delegations of Authority (Administrative Functions) Policy.

While Donations other than donations to endowment are distributed to faculties and scholarships according to the donors’ wishes, endowment funds will be managed by the Chief Financial Officer in accordance with the University’s Investment Policy.

Upon receiving a Donation or Pledge, the efficient management of donor relations is critical for maintaining donor loyalty and recurring support. Therefore the University will:

  • acknowledge all Donations to the University promptly (within 5 working days) and effectively receipt with a thank you letter and charitable tax receipt, and
  • advise Donors on the use of funds donated and the impact of their giving.


Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission Act 2012 (Cwlth)


Delegations of Authority Policy / Reserve Powers of Council Register / Delegations of Authority Register /  
Financial Delegations of Authority Policy


Contact Officer
Advancement Services Manager
Implementation Officer
Executive Director, Advancement
Approval Authority / Authorities
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement
Date Approved
4 May 2015
Date of Commencement
15 May 2015
Date for Review
May 2018
Documents Superseded by this Policy
Amendment History
19 March 2019 – update to position title for Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement.
16/2/16 – Updated information on University’s Privacy Officer
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