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tennessee technological university

Advancement Services


TowerFundraising is frequently viewed as simply asking for money. In fact, the "ask" is only one step in the fundraising process that proceeds from the identification of the prospective donor to stewardship following the gift.

The phonathon "ask" requires little direct preparation and is known as transactional fundraising. Minimal interpersonal involvement and generally small gifts characterize transactional fundraising. At the other end of the scale is relationship fundraising that is characterized by a lot of personal interaction and a sometimes lengthy preparation process.

We want to create an environment that makes an individual want to voluntarily support TTU whether it be with a $5 phonathon pledge or a $100,000 endowment. While the university development staff has fundraising as its single purpose, the entire university community is involved in the degree to which we are successful.

Fundraising is a process that is affected by many things such as the student educational experience, departmental and college/school relationships, communications, the alumni experience, and the stewardship that follows giving.

Stewardship is as important as any other element of the fundraising process. The best prospect for a future gift is someone that has already given. Thus, it is very important that we treat each gift and each donor with utmost care. Proper recording of gifts, thank you letters, adherence to letter of agreement guidelines, and timely communication with donors are things that each of us may be involved with. We hope to provide the education and assistance that each of us needs to do the best possible job of serving our donors and donors-to-be.

We want to foster an attitude of cooperation and an understanding that each of us plays an important role in the university’s fundraising success. Communication among all parties is critical to success, even though that communication is sometimes hampered because of the rules we are required to operate within. We are committed to the highest standards of gift reporting and processing and seldom have the latitude to deviate. We are here to support you and help to bring gifts to your school, college, department, or program.

Advancement Services

Advancement Services strives to facilitate and enhance fundraising for the University, and to insure financial accountability/credibility through systems development; data development, maintenance, manipulation, and generation; gifts and pledge income accounting and acknowledgments. Questions about our procedures and processes, and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

In order to support fundraising for the benefit of our students, faculty, and facilities, Advancement Services has designed numerous web sites—to facilitate gifts processing, acknowledgments, and tracking—and forms to facilitate compliance with federal (IRS) and state requirements.

Detailed policies and procedures are located at the Advancement Services web site. You can also access most of the forms necessary for processing gifts at the Advancement Services web site.

The University

  • must raise money.
  • must maintain accountability/credibility (audit trails) for all gifts income and restrictions on that income.
  • Must be good stewards of gifts.
  • Must archive information for future donor solicitation.

A gift is defined as funds or property voluntarily given to the University with no expectation of return or compensation on the part of the donor. (Unlike a grant, which is recorded/reported through the Research Office, where the sponsor retains rights or/and control of the funds usage, and may stand to benefit from the results generated by funds expenditure.)


  • Cash/Check/Credit Card (one-time gift)
  • Stock
  • Gifts in kind (e.g. computers, uniforms, land, etc.)
  • Payroll deductions
  • Electronic Funds Transfer
  • Periodic Credit Card Payments (agreement to make multiple payments)
  • Matching Gifts
  • Pledges
  • Trusts
  • Bequests (wills)
  • Life Insurance Policies

Gifts may be Restricted — either Temporarily Restricted or Permanently Restricted; or they may be Unrestricted.

Funds permanently restricted — Endowments — must always have guidelines, a Letter of Agreement (LOA) (See Sample Annual, Fully Funded, and Pledged Letters of Agreement), for use of the funds. The Letter of Agreement documents the understanding between the donor(s) and the University of the restrictions/appropriate use(s) of the fund. It is also often useful to have LOAs for other funds, such as annual scholarships, to assure understanding between the donor(s) and the university. A University Development Officer should always be involved early in the process with a potential donor and before any document is presented to a donor. Letters of Agreement should be signed by the appropriate donor(s), the administering unit head, and the Vice President for University Advancement. After all signatures are obtained, accounting numbers are assigned through the Advancement Services office, originals are filed with the Gifts/Records center, and copies are sent to all relevant parties. The administering unit is defined in the Letter of Agreement. The administering unit is responsible for making awards and notifying recipients, expenditures, and accounts reconciliation, notification of persons requiring annual reports, and all other administrative functions relevant to the fund. Upon receipt of a copy of a completed Letter of Agreement, the Administering Office office should immediately establish appropriate file(s) and begin accounts reconciliation, etc. At a minimum, the administering unit must report to the donor(s) information relevant to expenditures/awards from the accounts annually.