format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Record Donor Gifts

Most donor gifts arriving at or transferred to any part of the university should be initiated in the Gift Transmittals System by a trained and authorized user; however, not all donor gifts are processed using the Gift Transmittals System, and not all checks that arrive at Stanford are considered gifts. Refer to Topic Overview: Types of University Receipts for additional information and guidance on determining the type of receipt.

Use the following guidance  to determine the proper  method to process and record the gift, receipt or payment.

It is important that school and unit departments ensure that incoming mail is received by appropriate personnel and that donor deposits continue to be processed in a timely and confidential manner. The faculty and staff who intercept donor checks and credit card information play a critical role in ensuring excellence in the stewardship of these vital gifts.

When a gift first arrives, it should be deposited right away into the correct fund, at which point a series of cascading processes begin -- including drafting thank you notes, presidential acknowledgments, and the issuance of receipts. 

Here are several best practices to follow when handling donor checks or credit card remittance slips:

  • Processing of checks remains the same. It is important for the department to determine the proper method of recording and processing the gift, receipt, or payment through the Gift Transmittals System
  • Please do not take checks or credit cards forms home for processing. Once they are accepted at the Stanford campus, hospital, or Stanford Redwood City campus, the checks and credit card information should be securely stored until they are processed. 
  • Pay attention to when the check was issued. When processing a business check, the donor may request for the check to be deposited by a certain date. If there isn’t a note about depositing right away or the donor sent a personal check, it is good for six months from the issue date. 
  • If the check has expired, the depositor is responsible for having a replacement check sent back to them or the Office of Development.
  • Please scan the checks and any accompanying gift documentation. Do not take pictures with a mobile device or camera because it puts the donor information at risk.
  • If a credit card needs to be charged, the department or depositor is encouraged to call Development Services at 650-725-4360 with the credit card information or forward it to them by U.S. mail.
  • Please do not forward the details by email because it is a payment card industry (PCI) violation.

Reminders and Tips

  • Gifts of $100,000 or more that are not explicitly directed to annual giving funds or capital projects, or are additions to existing named funds from the named donor, should virtually always be deposited in their own named funds.
  • Do not deposit gifts from other donors into a fund with a specific donor name. There may be rare situations where it is appropriate if the original donor has consented to the addition in writing.
  • Instead of receiving cash and checks by mail, please encourage donors to donate electronically.

There are a variety of safe options available to forward check and credit card gifts to Development Services:

  • Deliver envelopes to designated drop boxes on campus 
    • 346 Galvez Street on the Memorial Drive side of the Alumni Center
    • 300 Pasteur Drive at the Edwards building near the old hospital
  • Mail to PO Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309
  • Call Development Services at 650-725-4360 to arrange a time to drop off gifts to University Hall, RWC campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When coming to the office, please follow current health and safety protocols.

For information about gift funds, refer to Topic Overview: Donor Gifts.

For detailed instructions about gift handling, refer to Administrative Guide Policy 4.2.1: Receiving and Processing Gifts. This includes explicit requirements for document handling (don’t throw away the envelope with date stamp) and forwarding of material to the Development Services Department in the Office of Development (OOD), which initiates a transaction in the Gift Transmittals System. That system notifies the recipient org to complete additional processing steps in the Gift Transmittals System.

Research existing gift funds using the following inquiry tools to determine if any have a purpose that is appropriate to accept the new gift, or if possible, find examples of prior similar gifts and to which funds they were deposited. See Topic Overview: Donor Gifts for guidance on adding new gifts to existing awards.

With the award number, use the following table to determine how to process the receipt. The award number may suggest the receipt is not actually a gift.

Processing by Award Type (Gifts and Others)

Awards Starting with... Award Type How Processed
G, H, JA-JL Expendable Gifts Gift Transmittals
JZ Expendable Pending Designation Gift Transmittals
KA-KX, N Endowment Gift Transmittals
KZ Endowment Pending Gift Transmittals
X Plant/Facilities (Capital Projects) Gift Transmittals
ZB Agency: Hospital; ASSU Gift Transmittals
*EA-FZ Designated Revenue

Use Affiliate Income Transmittal Form and forward to Development Services. While this is tracked in PostGrads Interactive (PGI), it is not entered in the Gift Transmittals System.

For Everything else, refer to How to: Process and Deposit Department Receipts

KY, JY Donor Advised Funds (DAF) Office of Planned Giving
*PA-WZ Sponsored Project Office of Sponsored Research
*ZA Student Loans Office of Financial Aid
ZC, ZN, ZT Trusts, Life Income Office of Planned Giving

*These award types are not for gifts.

The Gift Transmittals System is used to process deposits of gifts to Stanford awards. Separate systems are used to keep track of stewardship in order to record who has given what and track pledges and pledge payments.

Approval Requirements
  • If a gift is $1,000 or less or to an annual fund, no department or school/unit approval is required – add/remove approver function not available.
  • If a gift is between $1,000 and $19,999, one approval from either department or school/unit is required.
  • If a gift is $20,000 or more, school/unit approval is required.
  • If a gift is $100,000 or more, VP of Development approval is required.

Refer to Receive Funds for a more complete list of options. If the department or depositor receives any of the following, please follow the alternative instructions.

Checks/Receipts Not Initiated in Gift Transmittals

Do not Initiate in Gift Transmittals Alternative Instructions
Corporate Matching Forward to Development Services
Gifts to Stanford Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) Contact the Office of Planned Giving
Gifts-in-Kind (including Real Estate) Contact the Office of Planned Giving
Gifts to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital or Pediatrics Contact the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health
Gifts to Hillel, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Children's Center of the Stanford Community, or other separate nonprofits that operate on campus Forward standalone gifts to their addresses. If the gift is part of a larger check amount, contact Development Services.
Life Income Gifts (Trusts) Contact the Office of Planned Giving
Highly Anonymous gifts – donor does not want name recorded anywhere in the system Email Development Services for guidance
Recurring Credit Card Gifts (RCCs) Call Development Services at 1-650-725-4360. Never send credit card numbers via email.
Requests to transfer funds from Pending Fund or Donor Advised Funds Email Morgan Mills at @email in the Vice President for Development's office
Stanford Alumni Association Membership payments; payments for Sierra Camp, Travel/Study or other SAA Programs

Forward to:
SAA Membership & Partnerships
326 Galvez St.
Stanford, CA 94305-6105

Send email to: @email


Last Updated: Oct 25, 2023