The Office for Research and Sponsored Programs

Gift or Sponsored Project

In an effort to provide greater clarity in the distinction between gifts and sponsored projects and to ensure that the University maximizes its efforts in seeking external funds, the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs and the Office for Development have created the following guidelines to help determine the proper classification for a gift or sponsored project.

A GIFT is defined as any item of value given to the University by a donor who expects nothing significant of value in return, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with the donor’s wishes. Gift solicitations should be coordinated through the Office for Development and with the approval of the appropriate University officials (Dean, Provost, President, etc.).

A SPONSORED PROJECT is defined as any externally-funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work or set of objectives, which provides a basis for accountability and sponsor expectations. Sponsored projects should be coordinated though the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs and with the approval of the appropriate University officials (Dean, Provost, President, etc.).

The following lists of characteristics are provided as a means of further clarifying how external funds from non-governmental entities will be classified and processed. The existence of one factor alone may not be determinative. Multiple factors should be considered in order to decide if external funds should be classified as gifts or sponsored projects.

The Office for Research and Sponsored Programs and the Office for Development will work together to make a determination if there is a question about whether external funding should be treated as a gift or a sponsored project. Therefore, all requests must be processed using the appropriate Internal Review Form prior to proposal submission.

For a general or specific purpose, e.g., endowment, capital projects, line of research, faculty support or student financial aid

May be for any activity at the University, e.g., department, library, arts, scholarship, facilities, instruction activities, etc.
For a specific statement of work, e.g., specified protocol, experiments, testing of hypotheses, particular line of inquiry.

Usually for a specified research project but may be for instruction, other sponsored activity.
Proposal Format
Proposal may be informal, e.g., letter from faculty, dean, Provost, President or the Office for Development.

Proposal may be a Letter of Inquiry or in a format designated by the prospective funder.
Sponsor requires formal and detailed proposal and/or contractual agreement.

May require detailed financial and other reports, e.g., scientific reports, invention reports, financial reports on sponsor-specified format, may include the right of sponsor to audit.
Generally there are few contractual requirements are imposed and there are no “deliverables” to the donor. However, the gift may be accompanied by a letter of understanding that outlines its intended use.

May require only general stewardship and communication as a courtesy to donor, e.g., progress reports.
Deliverables defined by agreement, e.g., reports, research results, IP rights, equipment, etc. Funds may be withheld pending delivery.

Publication attribution required, usually with credit to sponsor.
While the gift may be intended for use within a certain timeframe (e.g., semester or academic year), there is no specified “period of performance” or “start/stop” date. The award document specifies beginning and end dates for the use of the funds or the terms under which an award may be terminated in advance of all funds being expended.
Fiscal Accountability
If used for the intended purpose, a gift is irrevocable.

Fiscal accountability to the donor involves periodic progress reports and summary reports of expenditures. These reports may be thought of as requirements of good stewardship, and, as such, may be required by the terms of the gift.

No required pre-approvals for expenditures.

Some gifts may be combined into one fund (if for the same purpose).

Qualifies for tax treatment as a charitable contribution by the donor.
The award document specifies fiduciary responsibilities such as:

Adherence to a line item budget.

Delineation of costs into direct costs and F&A costs.

Audit of the project by the sponsor or a third party.

Payment contingents upon satisfactory programmatic progress.

Return of unexpended funds at the conclusion of the project or guidelines regarding the transfer of funds from one period of time to another.
Office for Development:
Terrence M. Moore
Director for Foundation Relations and Major Gifts
101 Hofstra University, 102F Hofstra Hall
Phone: 516-463-5452
Fax: 516-463-4867
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Office for Research & Sponsored Programs:
Sofia Kakoulidis
Associate Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs
144 Hofstra University, 200 West Library Wing
Phone: 516-463-6810
Fax: 516-463-6505
Send an Email