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Gifts for Non Employees

Read the information below to learn about giving gifts to non-employees and organizations outside UC San Diego.

Gifts can be presented to:

  • Visiting dignitaries and scholars
  • Donors and potential donors
  • Volunteers
  • Civic or cultural organizations
  • Members of the local community
  • Clients
  • University officials from foreign countries
  • Appointed and elected officials
  • Students

Gifts cannot be presented to:

  • Relatives of UCSD employees
  • People or organizations engaged in influencing legislation, elections, referendums, or similar activities
  • People or organizations that pose a conflict of interest
  • People whose positions might suggest favoritism
    • Note: Gifts that support a political campaign or referendum cannot be given to any elected official, candidate for public office, organization, or committee.

Approval

  • Department head approval is required.
  • Department heads cannot approve their own reimbursement requests. In such cases, the area vice chancellor approval is required.
  • If cost limits must be exceeded, advance approval is required.

General Guidelines

Guidelines

Gifts to non-employees or organizations must:
  • Have a clear benefit to UCSD
  • Be tangible, personal property (non-cash)
  • Not cost more than appropriate for the expected benefit
  • Not exceed the cost limit for the type of gift (see drawer below).
  • Be accompanied by a transmittal letter or greeting card that states that the gift is being given on behalf of UCSD

Documentation requirements

  • These items must accompany your request for a direct payment or reimbursement for a gift:
  • A statement that includes:
    • Description of the gift
    • Description of the business purpose of the gift
    • Name, title, and occupation of the recipient (if the recipient is a person)
    • Name of the organization (if the recipient is an entity)
  • An original receipt (if you are seeking reimbursement)
  • A copy of the transmittal letter that accompanies the gift
  • A copy of the approval letter from the controller, if the request is an exception to policy

Funding sources

When fund policy is more restrictive than UCSD policy, the fund policy prevails. Follow these guidelines:
  • State funds: Gift expenditures are not allowed except for awards to students for an academic achievement.
  • Non-state funds. Gift expenditures must be allowed under fund guidelines.
  • Contract and grant funds: Gift expenditures must be specifically authorized in the contract or grant.

Elected and Appointed Officials Guidelines

Guidelines

These gifts must:
  • Not be given in support of a campaign or as a campaign contribution
  • Have a clear benefit to UCSD
  • Be tangible, personal property (non-cash)
  • Be accompanied by a transmittal letter that states both the fair market value of the gift and that the gift was made on behalf of UCSD
  • Not cost more than an amount that is appropriate for the expected benefit
  • Not exceed the cost limit for the type of gift

Documentation requirements

The following items must accompany your request for a direct payment or reimbursement for a gift:
  • A statement that includes:
    • A description of the gift
    • A description of the business purpose of the gift
    • The name, title, and occupation of the recipient (if the recipient is a person)
    • The name of the organization (if the recipient is an entity)
  • An original receipt (if you are seeking reimbursement)
  • A copy of the transmittal letter that accompanies the gift

Funding sources

When fund policy is more restrictive than UCSD policy, the fund policy prevails. Follow these guidelines:
  • State funds: Gift expenditures are not allowed.
  • Non-state funds: Gift expenditures must be allowed under fund guidelines.
  • Contract and grant funds: Gift expenditures must be specifically authorized in the contract or grant.

Types of Gifts

Appropriate types of gifts for non-employees and organizations outside of UC San Diego include:

Promotional gifts

  • Must be tangible, personal property (non-cash)
  • Cannot exceed $75 per recipient
  • Examples: T-shirts, caps, pennants, mugs, and pens bearing the UCSD or University logo

Appreciation or recognition gifts

  • Must be tangible, personal property (non-cash)
  • Cannot exceed $600 per recipient
  • Examples: flowers; tickets to a sporting, theatrical, or musical event; a meal; a non-negotiable gift certificate; or a memento such as a plaque, watch, or logo item of more than minimal value

Sympathy gifts

  • Sympathy gifts are presented in the event of death or major illness either to or on the behalf of non-employees or members of their families or households. Sympathy gifts:
  • Must be tangible, personal property (non-cash) if gifted to an individual
  • Cannot exceed $200 per recipient
  • Examples: flowers, candy, book or cash contribution to a charity

Paying for Non Employee Gifts

Verify dollar limits for gifts

  • Review the the cost limit for the type of gift (see drawer above).

Gather documentation

  • Include the following documentation when you submit your payment request:
    • A statement that includes:
      • Description of the gift
      • Description of the business purpose of the gift
      • Name, title, and occupation of the recipient (if the recipient is a person)
      • Name of the organization (if the recipient is an entity)
    • An original receipt if you are seeking reimbursement
    • A copy of the transmittal letter, card, or memo stating the department presenting the gift
    • A copy of the approval letter if the request was an exception to policy  

Request Payment

Requesting an Exception

Department heads have the authority to approve transactions.  Disbursements will review requests for exceptions on a case by case basis to determine if the exception is allowable.

Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.
Notice: UCSD's non-cash award policy is derived from UC Policy and Regulations. Published policy is decisive as it has been adapted to UCSD's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, and chart of accounts.