QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST
Policy for Acceptance/Refusal of Gifts, Endowments and Legacies
The University’s preferred vehicle for receiving all philanthropic gifts is The Queen’s
University of Belfast Foundation. The Foundation is an independent charity, established
to receive and steward philanthropic donations on behalf of Queen’s University Belfast.
The Foundation Board members are charity trustees and are ultimately responsible for the
For operational purposes, the responsibility for approving the decision to accept a gift has
been delegated by the trustees to the Director of Development and Alumni Relations.
2.1 This policy adheres to ethical practices as documented by the Institute of Fundraising and the
Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
2.2 The Development and Alumni Relations Office on behalf of the Queen’s Foundation
co-ordinates the University’s efforts to seek philanthropic support and will routinely receive
gifts on behalf of the University. No specific request for a philanthropic donation should be
made without the prior approval of the Director of Development.
Philanthropic gifts will normally be accepted by the Development and Alumni Relations Office
if they are (i) given without conditions in support of an existing fundraising project or
programme and (ii) received from donors known to the Foundation or the Development and
Alumni Relations Office.
In cases of doubt or where the donation exceeds a value of £1m the decision to accept or
refuse will be escalated to the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar and Chief Operating Officer
who may consult with the Chair of Senate before reaching a final decision.
2.3 All members of the University involved in fundraising should consult the Development and
Alumni Relations Office at an early stage in discussions with a potential benefactor. In this
way, the Office can advise on the use of these guidelines. Consultation will also reduce the
risk of uncoordinated approaches to a single potential donor; spread familiarity with the
process for accepting benefactions; and may allow an early warning of anyone unknowingly
approaching a potential benefactor whose donation is unlikely to be acceptable.
2.4 In considering the acceptance of any gift, endowment or legacy, the Director of Development
and Alumni Relations will ascertain:
(i) That the purposes of the gift are compatible with the purposes of the University;
(ii) That the gift is consistent with Queen’s strategic mission, and with the goals outlined in
the Institutional Strategy and the Corporate Plan;
(iii) If the acceptance of the gift would create additional costs or burdens for the University;
(iv) If there is published or other credible evidence that the proposed gift will be made from
a source that arises in whole, or in part, from an activity that:
- Evaded taxation or involved fraud;
- Violated international conventions that bear on human rights;
- Limited freedom of enquiry, or encroached on academic freedom;
- Suppressed or falsified academic research.
(v) If evidence exists that the proposed gift, or any of its terms, will:
- Require action that is illegal;
- Seriously damage the reputation of Queen’s;
- Create unacceptable conflicts of interest.
(vi) If evidence exists that acceptance of the gift or compliance with any of its terms will
damage the University’s reputation including deterring other benefactors.
2.5 Donations will be accepted on the clear understanding that the funder can have no influence
over the academic freedom and independence of Queen’s University Belfast. This principle
covers decisions relating to student admissions, supervision and examinations and, where
relevant, the conduct of research and publication of results.
2.6 All donations to the University, from whatever source, must be accounted for in accordance
with the relevant accounting standard – Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP):
Accounting for Further and Higher Education (2007). Regardless of where in the University
donations are received, the Development and Alumni Relations Office should be advised.
2.7 If the University is approached by a donor unknown to staff, the Development and Alumni
Relations Office will undertake an additional screening procedure, over and above the due
diligence outlined above (2.4). This will include contacting Companies House and much
more extensive online/background searches. Registered charities are excluded from this
3. University Commitment
The University undertakes that:
(i) All communications made to potential donors concerning a project will be honest, truthful,
and comply with the law;
(ii) The donor’s right to privacy will be respected;
(iii) The gift will be applied for the purpose for which it was originally requested, unless explicit
consent is given otherwise by the donor, or, in the case of bequests, for the purposes
described in the donor’s will or for similar purposes agreed with the donor’s executors;
(iv) The gift will be handled responsibly and to the greatest advantage of the beneficiary;
(v) The donor’s personal data will be respected, and there will be transparency in Queen’s
communications with its donors;
(vi) Any concerns raised in relation to the above points will be dealt with swiftly and effectively
by the Development and Alumni Relations Office.
The Donor Charter has been created to assure all donors and prospective donors of the
integrity and accountability of the Development Programme at Queen’s University Belfast.
4. Gifts in Kind
Gifts of art works, silver etc can be accepted but these must also comply with the Acquisition of
Art Works Policy approved by Senate. Similarly, gifts of book collections etc can be accepted
where these comply with the approved Library Collection Development Policy.
5. Related Policies
This Policy only relates to gifts, endowments and legacies received by the University and not
those received personally by members of staff.
The Policy should be read in conjunction with the following University policies and procedures:
- Code of Conduct;
- Policy on the Acceptance of Gifts, Gratuities and Hospitality;
- Register of Interests Policy;
- Bribery Policy.
The Bribery Policy, developed in response to the Bribery Act, enacted on 1 July 2011, is of
particular relevance. This requires the University to ensure, through due diligence and risk
controls, that the receipt of a gift is not in relation to some inappropriate advantage that might
be afforded to the donor.
6. Further Information
Further information on the implementation of this Policy is available from the Development and
Alumni Relations Office on request.
Queen’s University Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast is dedicated to treating its donors with the highest level of care and respect. The Donor Charter has been created to assure all our donors and prospective donors of the integrity and accountability of the Development Programme at Queen’s University Belfast.
Donors to Queen’s have the following rights:
- To be treated by all Queen’s staff and volunteers involved with the solicitation and receipt of donations in a fair, transparent, accurate and honest manner in accordance with all applicable laws and the professional code of fundraising ethics and good practice.
- To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers or employees of the University.
- To be informed of the identity of those serving on The Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation Board.
- To have access to the University’s most recent published financial accounts.
- To be informed of the way we intend to use donations and of our commitment to ensure they are used for the intended purpose.
- To be consulted if their donation cannot be used for its intended purpose and have it repaid if agreement cannot be reached within a short period of time for an alternative use.
- To be kept informed of the impact of their philanthropy and the University’s evolving needs and priorities. Donors will receive progress reports and invitations to attend events to see firsthand the impact and benefits of their support to the University.
- To receive appropriate and timely acknowledgement, recognition, and publicity for their donation, and to respect anonymity if requested.
- To be assured that donors’ rights to privacy will be respected and that there will be full compliance with the Data Protection Act of 1998.
- To be asked in writing for permission to be cited in case studies and other promotional material prior to publication.
- To limit the number/type of solicitations if requested.
- The University will respond within 30 days to a complaint by a donor or prospective donor about any matter relating to the University’s fundraising activities.
The University welcomes support from individual, foundations and organisations, and would be delighted to discuss ways in which relationships may be fostered with potential benefactors.