Where does my gift go?

At the core of Emory University are its students. Every gift to Emory not only enriches intellectual horizons, but also expands the global efforts of both the university and Emory Healthcare.

Imagine you have just attended an Emory event that moved you to make a donation to the featured project. That money then has to go somewhere to be handled and processed so that it gets to the right account for the project you intended. How does that happen?

Despite a turbulent economy, since 2005 Campaign Emory has raised more than $1.39 billion to support projects across Emory. In fiscal year 2011, Emory donors gave nearly $148 million in gifts and contributions and the Office of Gift Records (OGR) last year alone processed 57,888 individual gifts. These numbers represent a 14% increase over fiscal year 2010 and do not include pledge commitments.

The number 57,888 is impressive, indeed. More impressive is the fact that whether each gift is $50 or $1 million, the university handling process is the same. Emory’s OGR receives and processes gifts of cash, checks, credit cards, securities and in-kind donations and helps with the documentation of bequests. In an expression of the university’s enduring gratitude, various departments will send thank you letters to donor families, as appropriate.

As Director of the Office of Gift Records Untra Lindsey explains, “When a gift is received, a staff member sorts, organizes and scans each gift for processing and review. The gift information and documentation is uploaded to the donor database (AWA) and the university’s enterprise imaging system (Optix). Any updated biographical information noted on the gift documentation is entered for each gift that is recorded into AWA.”

Lindsey defines next steps. “Once the gifts have been processed, review takes place to ensure application to the donor’s designated areas of support.  The gifts are posted to the university’s financial system (PeopleSoft), and receipts and acknowledgement letters are then generated and mailed. The process is slightly more involved with respect to gifts with associated benefits and gift-in-kind donations, though record keeping requirements are the same.”

Please visit the Campaign Emory website for more information.

A-B-Cs of Giving

To acquaint you with the terminology associated with development, please refer to these definitions as they apply to Emory.

Development: The process of managing all aspects of private awards to benefit an institution that includes building relationships with those who have interest in supporting Emory financially, including alumni, volunteers, and community friends. 

Donor: An individual or organization that gives assets for restricted or unrestricted use to Emory.

Endowment: The property and funds donated to Emory for its use in growing and strengthening the institution, which are held in perpetuity, for which only a percentage of the interest income is expended.

Gift: An unconditional transfer of assets with no contractual requirements, no reciprocal benefit to the donor, and no formal fiscal accountability beyond appropriate progress reports and reports of expenditures.

Gift-in-kind: Charitable giving comprising non-cash goods or services.

Gift record: The electronic documentation created by the university to track any donated gift or gift-in-kind.

Planned giving: To prepare an individual estate through designation, will or trust that bequeaths gifts or gift-in-kind donations to Emory.—Michelle Valigursky