Donations & Other Money In

Take home message: If you are receiving money on behalf of
U-M, generating income on behalf of U-M, or involved in financial activity of any kind, you must ensure you are aware of the fiscal responsibilities and compliance obligations that attach to such activity – and that you understand and act in accordance with the limits of your delegated authority.

U-M Policy and helpful links

  • The Standard Practice Guide Policy on Fiscal Responsibilities (SPG 500.01) delineates the key fiscal responsibilities and principles to be followed by every faculty and staff member involved in any financial activity on behalf of U-M.
  • Money comes into U-M through five primary sources (other than government appropriations): tuition, gifts, hospital income, sponsored work (including grants), and money made on goods, services and property (such as selling merchandise and tickets, leasing property, or licensing intellectual property). Each of these income areas are governed by specific rules, and are operationally supported by different U-M offices.
  • Tuition is received and managed by Student Financial Services.
  • Gifts and donations are received and managed by the University Development Office. Any gift or donation (of any size and to any part of U-M, including the Health System) for which a gift receipt is to be issued must be processed through the Development Office, to ensure compliance with tax laws and other requirements. Refer to the Standard Practice Guide on gift acceptance (SPG 602.02) for more information.
  • Hospital income (including billings) is subject to strict compliance requirements, which are overseen by the U-M Health System Compliance Office – see here for information about hospital billing.
  • Sponsored work and grants are managed by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) in conjunction with the Sponsored Programs department (see the Grant Administration compliance page for more information).
  • If you are involved in selling anything (such as merchandise or tickets) on behalf of U-M, there are specific rules that must be followed to ensure that you do not jeopardize U-M’s status as a not-for-profit institution. See SPG 502.04 (Sales and Cash Collections), SPG 502.03 (Michigan Sales and Use Tax), and SPG 501.06 (Accepting Credit Card Payments) for more information, and contact the University Treasurer’s Office for advice.
  • If you plan to hold a raffle or gaming event to raise funds, there are legislative requirements that you need to be aware of. For more information, see the Office of the General Counsel’s FAQs on raffles, lotteries, gambing and poker.
  • If you are selling U-M assets or plant (such as surplus office or lab equipment) then that must be processed through the Property Disposition department, who will ensure that the assets are disposed of in an accountable and appropriate way.
  • If you are involved in leasing U-M premises to a non-University entity, you should seek advice from the Office of Space Analysis before committing the University to any arrangements (see the Buildings & Equipment compliance page for more information).
  • The sale or licensing of intellectual property owned by U-M is managed by the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). This site gives a good summary of when to contact OTT.
  • Any staff or faculty who make deposits on behalf of U-M are required to go through training: contact the University Treasurer’s Office for more information.

Things to remember

  • If you have delegated financial authority, it is essential that you understand the scope and nature of your authority, and always act within that authority.
  • Any work that you or your Department do for an outside person or entity that generates income for U-M is likely to be considered “sponsored” work, and must be managed through the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) in conjunction with Sponsored Programs. For more information, see Grants & Sponsored Research.
  • Any donations to U-M for which a gift receipt is to be issued must be processed through the Development Office, to ensure compliance with tax laws and other requirements – this is the case regardless of the size, type, or purpose of the donation, and regardless of which part of U-M it is being offered to (including all schools, units and the Health System). Talk to the development staff within your school or unit or in the U-M Health System, or contact the central U-M Development Office for assistance or more information.
  • “Donations” come in forms other than money – such as in-kind or other non-monetary contributions. If you are in doubt about whether something ought to be reported as a source of income or donation, contact the Development Office or the Tax Department.

People to talk to

For questions about gifts or donations to U-M, talk to the development staff within your school or unit, or the development staff within the U-M Health System, or the central U-M Development Office.

For questions about sponsored work, talk to the Sponsored Programs (if your question is financial in nature) or the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) (if your questions is non-financial). You could also talk to the Research Administrator within your area, who you can find by searching for your school or unit in the ORSP Blue Pages.

For compliance questions related to the UM Health System, including hospital billings, contact the U-M Health System Compliance Office.

For legal advice or assistance you can contact one of the following people within the Office of the General Counsel – if your query relates to donations, contact Donna Snyder; if your query relates to sponsored work, contact Maya Kobersy; if your query is hospital related, contact Kara Morgenstern.


Established 3/4/11, last updated 6/26/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated