Philanthropic fundraising policy

Intent and objectives

This policy provides a framework for philanthropic fundraising at RMIT.

The intent of the policy is to support ethical and professional practices and to enable a high quality service to donors in the context of building long-term mutually beneficial relationships.

The policy seeks to be compliant with all relevant charitable and tax legislation.

RMIT recognises the importance of philanthropy at RMIT which over time provides long-term benefits to students, researchers and the broader community. This policy seeks to maximise philanthropic fundraising opportunities and their impact for RMIT.

The objectives of this policy are:

  • To provide transparency for the University and donors with relation to philanthropic income.
  • To provide a framework for effective relationship management to enable sustainable philanthropic fundraising at RMIT.
  • To encourage collaboration and coordination across RMIT in securing and managing philanthropic gifts and relationships

Scope

This policy applies to the management of all philanthropic fundraising activity, gifts and donations across all RMIT campuses, and controlled entities.

RMIT University is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) by the ATO to accept tax-deductible gifts of money and property.

Exclusions

The following are not philanthropic gifts, and are excluded from this policy:

  • Government funds
  • Commercial income including sponsorships (whereby the organisation contributing the income receives a material benefit)
  • Services provided at no charge (pro bono services)
  • Gifts or benefits offered to staff

Policy provisions

Relationship management and university-wide collaboration

  • RMIT seeks to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with donors resulting in ongoing financial support which enables the advancement of RMIT University. For this reason, relationship managers will be assigned to all current and prospective donors with the capacity to give a major gift.
  • RMIT Advancement will undertake assignment in consultation with relevant internal stakeholders. RMIT Advancement will collaborate closely with University stakeholders as significant philanthropic support is underpinned by strong internal partnerships.

Soliciting and accepting philanthropic gifts

  • RMIT will solicit philanthropic gifts from donors in a planned and co-ordinated way. Philanthropic fundraising proposals will be based on an understanding of both the donor's interests and RMIT's priorities. All solicitations must align with RMIT’s academic and strategic objectives. Any solicitations for major gifts (>$25,000) need to be authorised by the Advancement Office prior to being undertaken.
  • All fundraising campaigns and appeals must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, International and Development based on recommendations from Advancement.
  • RMIT University can accept philanthropic gifts of cash or property such as shares, real estate and cultural gifts. Gifts can be donations and/or bequests, which may be outright or pledged commitments.
  • Gifts may be given for general or specific purposes. The donor’s intentions for a donation will be documented and the University will seek to honour those intentions. Subject first to the express wishes of the donor, RMIT has absolute discretion to determine how a gift will be used. Depending on whether the donation was a gift from a living donor or a bequest, Advancement will in conjunction with the Vice Chancellor decide on the future process.
  • Gifts must be adequate for the intended purpose. RMIT will consider any financial impact or risk to RMIT which would result from accepting a gift. RMIT may decide at its absolute discretion to decline a gift. This decision will be undertaken in consultation with the Advancement Office.
  • RMIT will not accept gifts which are the proceeds of criminal activity, gifts obtained by illegal means or gifts from the tobacco and gambling industries or gifts which do not align with RMIT’s values.
  • Prior to formally accepting a major gift, the Advancement Office must be informed and support acceptance.

Endowments

  • An endowment is an investment fund in which the capital is preserved and annual disbursement is restricted to all or a portion of the income from the investment, such that the activity or project funded may be supported in perpetuity.
  • Gifts to be invested as an endowment, where the intention is for funds to be invested to ensure ongoing support for beneficiaries from the investment earnings, may be made to RMIT University. Subject first to the express wishes of the donor, RMIT has absolute discretion to determine how distributions from endowments are to be used. This will be undertaken in consultation with the Advancement office.

Naming and recognition

  • RMIT may choose to recognise significant benefaction via naming which may include but is not limited to facilities, academic appointments and programs. Advancement Office must be consulted prior to any external discussions regarding philanthropic naming recognition, and recognition naming proposals must be in accordance with the Naming University Facilities Policy.
  • All approvals for naming are to be approved by Vice Chancellor or Council as per delegations.

Management of philanthropic income

  • RMIT Financial Services is responsible for the processing and reporting of all philanthropic income for RMIT University. The University is responsible for the acquittal and delivery of philanthropic projects in accordance with donor intentions. Advancement is the central point of contact for support and assistance in managing philanthropic income and donor relations.
  • RMIT must issue receipts for tax-deductible gifts in accordance with ATO requirements.

Privacy

  • RMIT protects a donor’s right to privacy and manages personal information in accordance with the RMIT Privacy Policy and relevant privacy legislation. Donors requesting anonymity will not be publicly recognised.
  • Information on philanthropic gifts donated to RMIT is recorded on RMIT’s central fundraising database (Raiser’s Edge), and financial records are recorded in RMIT’s finance system. These records are used for regulatory reporting.

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