How to Deposit Cash/Checks Received as Gifts to the University

Make sure that the money you are receiving is a gift. To be a gift it must meet the following tests:

  1. The gift must provide support for broadly defined activities, such as professorships, scholarships, building projects, fellowships, research and instructional programs. The donor may restrict the use of funds to a specific program area or purpose.
  2. No detailed technical reports are required as a condition of the gift. The unit or faculty member involved may provide the donor with a brief summary of the results of supported activities and a statement that expenditures were made in accord with the intent to the gift. If detailed fiscal or technical reports are required, the gift becomes a research contract and must be awarded to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, rather than to the UW Foundation.
  3. All patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights that result from activities supported by the gift are not claimed by the donor.
  4. The gift contains no restrictive provisions, such as delays or advance notice concerning publication or dissemination of data and information derived from activities supported by the gift.
  5. The gift is irrevocable by the donor.

As a general principle, gifts to the University are made through the University of Wisconsin Foundation.

  1. If your department has accounts at the Foundation which accepts gifts for the purpose of the gift being contemplated by a potential donor, ask the donor to make their check payable to the UW Foundation and have the donor send it to the UW Foundation specifying the account into which it should be deposited.
  2. If the donor wishes to make the gift electronically, have the donor use the Foundation's Give Online option on the Foundation's home page at or contact the Foundation's Gift Processing department at 608-263-4545.
  3. If your department does not have a gift account with the Foundation, contact your school/college's development officer to make arrangements for such an account.
  4. If you wish to deposit gift funds directly into University fund 233 projects, rather than an account at the Foundation, then have the donor make the check payable to the University of Wisconsin – Madison and send the check to you and follow the instructions in 3 b) below.

If you receive a gift check from the donor directly.

  1. If the gift is to be put into a UW Foundation account, complete the deposit slip found at, print it, and attach the check and appropriate correspondence. Route through your school/college dean's office to the UW Foundation.
  2. If the gift is to be put into a University fund 233 project, complete a UW Gift Routing Form, print it, and attach the check and appropriate correspondence, including a donor intent letter. Route through your school/college dean's office to Accounting Services.
  3. Gifts should be acknowledged to the donor. The UW Foundation automatically sends an acknowledgement letter to the donor, where can be used for tax documentation. When acknowledging a gift to a donor when the money is put in a 233 project, please use the letter Gift Acknowledgement Letter. The letter may be customized, but the language in the second paragraph must be used to comply with tax codes.

Maintain good internal control practices regarding receipts.

  1. Restrictively endorse the checks “for deposit only” immediately upon receipt.
  2. Deposit checks within five days of receipt.
  3. Store undeposited checks in a locked desk or safe overnight.
  4. Transport checks directly to the Foundation or Accounting Services. Do not use campus mail.
  5. Reconcile deposits you send to the Foundation or the University to ledger records to see that they are credited to the proper account.
  6. Have credit card based donations made directly to the UW Foundation.
  7. Where credit card payments for events are accepted by your department, obliterate the credit card number from any copies of source documents after providing them to the Foundation.

For more complete instructions see UW Madison and UW Foundation Policies.