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This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.

Approving Authority: Board of Governors

Original Approval Date: February 27, 1997

Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: November 24, 2016

Office of Accountability: Vice-President: Development and Alumni Relations

Administrative Responsibility: Office of Advancement Services

Purpose and Scope

1.1 Wilfrid Laurier University welcomes the donation of charitable gifts which enable it to fulfill its mission of advancing knowledge, supporting and enhancing high-quality undergraduate, graduate and professional education, and emphasizing co-curricular development of the whole student. While the University appreciates the generosity of prospective donors, the University may not be able to accept every gift.

1.2 The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on matters of gift acceptance, including the types of gifts we will accept, the process for acceptance, and the roles and responsibilities of those involved in gift acceptance.

1.3 This policy applies solely to philanthropic gifts and prospective gifts; it does not apply to sponsorship, advertising, provincial/federal government grants, commercial or other contractual relationships between the University and third parties.


2.1 Gift: means any voluntary transfer of real or personal property, including in kind property, from individuals, organizations or other sources (“donor”) to the University. A gift is made without expectation of return or benefit to the donor or any individual or organization designated by the donor as a result of acceptance of the gift.

2.2 Gifts-in-kind: also known as non-cash gifts, can be gifts of real property or other tangible or intangible items such as artwork, equipment, securities, cultural or ecological property. Note: per the Canada Revenue Agency, a contribution of service, that is, of time, skills or efforts, is not property and, therefore, does not qualify as a gift or gift-in-kind for purposes of issuing official donation receipts.


3.1 General

3.1.1 The following principles guide decisions made under this policy:

  • Gifts should advance the reputation, mission and priorities of the University in accordance with its values, guiding principles, governing documents and the law.
  • Each donor must be of such a reputation and standing that an association with that individual or organization would not reasonably compromise the University’s reputation, mission, priorities, values, guiding principles, autonomy, integrity or legal compliance.
  • Gifts should not have restrictions placed on them by the donor that are incompatible with Laurier’s mission, priorities, values, guiding principles, governing documents or the law, in particular, human rights or tax law.
  • The ownership and management of all gifts resides with the University, whether for the benefit of the University generally or for some specific purpose.
  • Gifts should not entail unacceptable financial or other risk and burden on the University.
  • Decisions under this policy are independent of appointment, admission, curriculum and other academic and business decisions. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, gifts should not require the University to give special consideration for employment, student registration or business transactions with the donor or any designate, or allow the donor to influence the teaching, learning or scholarship of a student, professor or academic program.
  • Decisions under this policy are strictly confidential until the University makes a public announcement.

3.1.2 The acceptance of gifts under this policy must comply with all applicable laws, University policies and procedures. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, fundraising activities associated with a gift must comply with the Policy 13.7 Policy for Ethical Fundraising Practices; naming must comply with Policy 13.5 Naming of University Assets; and agreements associated with a gift must be negotiated, reviewed, approved and signed in accordance with this policy and Policy 5.7 Signing Authority.

3.2 Roles and Responsibilities

3.2.1 The decision to accept or decline a gift rests with the Board of Governors or the committee or individual to which/whom the authority has been delegated by the Board in accordance with this policy or by resolution. In particular, prior approval by specific resolution or motion of the Board (or its designated committee) will be required with respect to the acceptance of:

(a) any gift the value of which exceeds $5 million;

(b) any gift which in the opinion of the President or Vice-President: Development and Alumni Relations exposes the University to an uncertain and potentially significant liability;

(c) any gift which in the opinion of the President or Vice-President: Development and Alumni Relations is precedent-setting and involves sensitive issues;

(d) any gift which in the opinion of the President or Vice-President: Development and Alumni Relations is of above-average complexity, including gifts involving real property, residual interests, charitable remainder trusts , assets with low liquidity, or certified cultural property;

(e) any gift which a member of the Board of Governors requests be brought before the Board for approval.

3.2.2 For gifts that do not meet the above criteria, the University President has the authority or can delegate this authority to the VP Development and Alumni Relations to accept the gift, provided the approvals under other applicable University policies have been obtained.

3.2.3 The Office of Development and Alumni Relations is responsible for researching and securing gifts that meet the requirements of this policy and ensuring their appropriate approval, receipting, acknowledgement, and recording, and prudent investment through the Board of Governors.

3.2.4 Except as set out herein, members of the University community at large, with the exception of the Seminary, will not engage in any overt fundraising activities and have no authority to accept a gift on behalf of the University. This does not preclude the participation of any party in the identification, cultivation, and eventual solicitation and stewardship of a prospective donor. It is to ensure that the person(s) with the best relationship with the prospective donor, and knowledge of the project to be funded is/are provided with the necessary support with respect to strategy and proposal development. The goal is to present a coordinated, focused and disciplined approach that builds long term relationships and maximizes support.

3.2.5 The Office of Development and Alumni Relations has primary responsibility for the negotiation of gift agreements.

3.2.6 The Office of Development and Alumni Relations is solely responsible for issuing charitable tax receipts for all charitable gifts received by the University. Gift processing will be handled in accordance with the donor’s wishes consistent with University policies, Canada Income Tax Act regulations governing charitable organizations, and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines on charitable donations. All gifts received by any office of the University must be processed through the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, where they will be receipted, acknowledged, and recorded for audit, historic and recognition purposes. The donor may be required to provide an appraisal to support the value of the gift. This does not preclude the University from seeking and relying on another valuation.

3.2.7 With respect to specifically designated gifts that do not correspond with a University-identified priority, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations will consult with relevant administrative or academic departments. If, following consultation, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations deems that a prospective donor’s wishes do not correspond with the University’s goals and priorities, the donor will be asked to re-designate the intended gift. If the prospective donor’s wishes cannot be satisfied within the parameters of the University’s goals and priorities, the intended gift will be declined with thanks.

3.2.8 Endowed gifts will be managed in accordance with the agreement with the donor, the Endowment Guidelines, and the applicable Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures. Namings associated with an endowed gift are governed by Policy 13.5 Naming of University Assets.

3.2.9 The Vice-President: Development and Alumni Relations or delegate is responsible for ensuring that the acceptance of gifts by the University is consistent with this policy. As part of the on-going report of activities to the Board of Governors, the report will include a summary of gifts accepted valued at or above $1 million, or those deemed to have a high cultural or other significance to the University.

Relevant Legislation

  • Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, S.O. 2010, c. 25
  • Charities Accounting Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.10
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31 (“FIPPA”)
  • Income Tax Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. 1 (5th Supp.)
  • Trustee Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. T.23

Related Policies, Procedures and Documents


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