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Gift Fees

A long-term goal of The Georgia Southern University Foundation 501(c)(3) is to build the institution’s capacity to raise private funds in the future. Upon investigation and assessment by campaign consultant Marts & Lundy, several areas in University Advancement were found to be underfunded in terms of operations. A major goal is to build the infrastructure needed to make sure that the University has the strength to not only get through a forthcoming campaign, but to also maintain that same level of philanthropic investment as it moves into the future. As the University grows in its endowments and gifts, staff needs to grow as well. As the University moves into future campaigns, goals will be set higher and higher, and the need for adequate staffing will continue to increase as well.

The Georgia Southern University Foundation (501c3) strives to utilize an equitable fee structure to cover operations essential to the Foundation’s overall operation. These fees were introduced and adopted by the Georgia Southern University Board of Trustees at their spring Board meeting on April 2, 2011.

Presenting at that meeting, consultant Marts & Lundy addressed combinations of methods typically used to raise funds in support of a campaign. A fee on endowment earnings and a gift reinvestment fee on all non-endowed gifts was presented by the VP for University Advancement, voted on and passed by the Board.

The Georgia Southern University Foundation began assessing a gift reinvestment fee of five percent on non-endowed gifts beginning July 1, 2011. This one-time fee is applied to all gifts and other revenue at month’s end. These fees are redirected to each of the colleges/outreach centers with a development officer to support their travel budget expenses, alumni relations events, and donor relations activities. These accounts were created at the same time the gift fee was established.

A one percent fee based on the endowment’s fair market value is assessed by the Foundation to each endowed fund on July 1 of every year. This fee also helps to support the operational needs for philanthropic growth at Georgia Southern.

Both fees serve to advance the mission of the Georgia Southern University Foundation – to ensure that Georgia Southern University achieves its vision of becoming a nationally recognized public comprehensive university.

  1. More institutionally-related foundations are using a management fee on endowed funds to fund their operations, according to the results of a CASE survey on foundation funding sources and budget restructuring. Eighty-three percent of foundations responding to the survey plan to assess an endowment management fee in fiscal year 2010, up from 68 percent that reported using the fee in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

    The most significant sources of funding for foundation budgets are support from the related institution and the management fee on endowed funds.

    Gift fees are becoming more popular as a source of funding foundation operations; more than one-third of responding foundations use gift fees on non-endowed and endowed gifts. (“More Foundations Relying on Endowment Management Fee to Fund Operations,” CASE, October 2009)

  2. Management fees on endowed gifts are the most common and significant funding sources for institutionally related foundations, according to survey results outlined in a new CASE white paper. A total of 184 foundations affiliated with four-year and two-year public colleges and universities participated in the survey.
    Seventy-three percent of responding foundations assess a management fee on endowed funds. Foundations affiliated with master’s and research/doctoral institutions were much more likely to assess gift fees than foundations affiliated with bachelor’s institutions or community colleges. (“White Paper: Most IRFs Relying on Endowment Management Fees to Fund Operations,” CASE, June 2011)

Gift fees have become a fact of life on the educational fundraising landscape, particularly as the economy forces institutions to look for new revenue sources. In our own state, University of Georgia, Macon State, Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Tech, Valdosta State and Kennesaw State – among others – charge endowment and/or gift fees.

Every other place in which there are investments, fees are charged. It is the price of doing business and an investment in the organization. Most importantly, the University and the Foundation believe that investing in building a stronger philanthropic community is good, if not vitally important,for the future of Georgia Southern University.

Information on our fees is available and accessible in multiple locations – in proposals, fund agreements, in our annual report, and on our website.

Last updated: 1/9/2014