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Non-Employee Non-Cash Gifts Guide

This guide provides information on how to provide a non-cash gift to a non-UC employee.

The information provided in this guide covers gifts presented as a token of appreciation or goodwill to donors or potential donors, visiting dignitaries and scholars, volunteers, members of the local community, and elected and appointed officials. It does not cover non-cash awards presented to employees as tokens of recognition or appreciation. This topic is discussed in the Non-cash Employee Award and Other Gifts Guide. Please contact the FAST/AP Help line at 459-4488 with questions or locate your representative directly.​​​

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  • What you need to know before you start

    A gift of moderate value made on behalf of the University may be presented to an individual who is not a University employee, or to an outside organization if the following criteria are met:

    • The gift benefits the University,
    • is in furtherance of a University business purpose,
    • and is clearly necessary to the University’s fulfillment of its role as a good community citizen.

    Cash gifts are not permitted, other than a donation made to a charitable organization as an expression of sympathy, in lieu of flowers or similar items.

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  • Gift recipients

    Here are examples of prospective gift recipients:

    • A visiting dignitary or scholar to express appreciation.
    • An elected or appointed official to express appreciation or promote goodwill.
    • A donor or potential donor to acknowledge a contribution, service provided, or as an expression of sympathy in the event of the death or major illness of a family member.
    • A volunteer, including a University retiree, to acknowledge a contribution of time or other resources.
    • A student in recognition of a meritorious academic achievement.
    • A student or volunteer for participation in a research study or questionnaire, or for participation in another University-sponsored event.
    • A civic or cultural organization or a member of the local community to promote goodwill.
    • A client to promote good customer relations.

    Here are individuals and organizations not eligible to receive a non-cash gift:

    • University employees, except for a token gift for volunteer service.
    • Near relatives of University employees.
    • Any elected official, candidate for public office, organization, or committee, when the gift is a contribution to a political campaign or referendum.
    • Any person that the gift presenter has an outside business relationship with that could be viewed as a conflict of interest.
      • Under certain circumstances, some of the individuals listed may be eligible to receive non-cash gifts as provided under the Non-cash Employee Award and Other Gifts Guide.
      • Under certain conditions, a non-cash gift that is not a contribution to a political campaign or referendum may be provided to an elected or appointed official. Refer to "Special Situations" for more information.

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  • Allowable gifts

    These types of items may be presented as non-cash gifts. Each cost limitation described below pertains to the item itself and not to any incidental costs, such as engraving, packaging, gift wrapping, shipping and handling, and sales tax.

    • Promotional Items: Tangible personal property bearing the logo of the University or campus with a cost not exceeding $75 per person
    • Appreciation/Recognition/Incentive: Tickets to a single sporting, theatrical, musical or other similar event; books; non-negotiable gift certificates; door prizes and other gifts to encourage participation in a University event; and mementos such as plaques or watches, with a cost less than $600 per person
    • Sympathy Gifts: Flowers, candy, a book, or similar items, with a cost less than $200 per person, presented as an expression of sympathy in the event of the death or major illness of an individual or a member of the individual’s family or household. A cash contribution may be made to a charity in lieu of a gift of tangible personal property provided a transmittal letter on official University letterhead or a card stating that the gift is being made on behalf of the University accompanies the gift.

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  • Authorization and approvals

    Important things to know:

    • Only department heads with officially delegated authority may approve the reimbursement or payment of expenses associated with a gift presented to an eligible, non-UC employee, with the exception of a gift presented to an elected or appointed official.
      • Refer to "Special Situations" for requirements specific to the approval of gifts made to elected or appointed officials
    • The department head may not redelegate this authority.
    • An employee having delegated authority may not approve his or her own reimbursement request.

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  • Ways to pay

    A CruzBuy purchase order is the preferred method for procuring Gifts. However, in the event that the desired Gift is not available through CruzBuy, please use one of the other methods below.

    • Obtain a reimbursement for expenses paid out-of-pocket by completing and submitting a Direct Payment form
    • Campus recharge

    For more information about CruzBuy and the purchase order process, see Procurement Resources.

    Note: The UCSC Purchasing Card may not be used to purchase gifts due to financial control risks involving the default general state funds (“19900”) code that is commonly associated with most purchasing cards.

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  • Receipt and documentation requirements

    The following information must be provided with the reimbursement request form or payment request form.

    • Original, itemized receipt.
    • Name, affiliation, and title of the gift recipient.
    • Description of the gift.
    • The business reason for making the gift, or the business benefit derived or expected to be derived from making the gift.
    • A copy of the transmittal letter or card accompanying the gift.

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  • Funding sources

    A limited number of funds may be used to purchase gifts.

    • State funds (“19900”) may not be used, except for a gift awarded to a student for an academic achievement.
    • Contract or grant funds may be used only if specifically allowed under the terms of the sponsored award.

    Contact your divisional or department business office for more information about funds available for purchasing gifts for non-employees.

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  • Special situations

    Here is information related to special situations:

    Gifts Presented to Elected or Appointed Officials:

    • Payment or reimbursement requests require the approval of the Chancellor, or his or her official designee.
    • Recipients must be advised that California state officials are required to report gifts adding up to $50 or more in a calendar year from a single source.
    • Gifts that would be considered a contribution to a political campaign or referendum cannot be given.
    • Gifts must include a written card specifying the fair market value of the gift, a copy of which is to accompany the request for payment or reimbursement.

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  • Common non-cash gift-related errors

    Ensure a trouble-free experience by avoiding these common errors:

    • Forgetting to submit original receipts with a reimbursement or payment request.
    • Forgetting to forward the completed Direct Payment form to the divisional funding authorizer for review and approval.
    • Forgetting to include account code (FOAPAL) information on the Direct Payment form.
    • Forgetting to sign the reimbursement or payment request.
    • A first-time reimbursement requester forgetting to submit a Payee Setup 204 Form.

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  • Policy references

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  • Where to get help

    Assistance is available for your non-cash gift-related questions from the Financial Administrative Services and Transactions (FAST/AP) Office.

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