Charitable Gift and ARD Sponsorship Acceptance and Approval Policy


Council has the sole power to accept gifts, devises, and bequests made to the University whether on trust or otherwise, except where the Council has delegated its power to do so, and subject always to the terms of that delegation, as per The Education Act 1989.

Sponsorships and the granting of them where they involve the use and potential alienation of University assets or interests in assets, oblige the Council or its delegate to express an opinion recording that the function of granting sponsorships will not disadvantage the University's characteristic functions.

Further in cases where an asset is charged with an obligation, or a lease may be involved, the University may be obliged to seek the consent of the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education.


This policy applies to the University as an institution through all its faculties, service divisions, institutes, centres, schools and departments whether academic or administrative, including Alumni Relations and Development (ARD) funding (such as for scholarship funding, student events, research, programmes and facilities funding) and, where appropriate, to donors and sponsors.

Note – Any brand or marketing sponsorships, both inbound and outgoing, are out of scope. Please refer to the Marketing Sponsorship Policy.


This policy seeks to provide procedures, a framework and guidelines under which the University may properly and legally accept gifts and regulate sponsorships and account for them, in particular it aims:

  • to ensure consistent and equitable relationships with donors
  • to record delegated powers of the Council in relation to acceptance of gifts devises and bequests
  • to record the means by which it will receive from management appropriate assurances in respect of transactions which are sponsorships


1. The University may accept gifts and sponsorships that are appropriate to the University’s goals, legal requirements and obligations and management will ensure that sponsorships within those goals will not disadvantage the University's characteristic functions.

2. The University must ensure that it understands the origin, nature and conditions of any gift or sponsorship prior to accepting or concluding it.

3. The University must not accept gifts or sponsorships that are:

  • inconsistent with the maintenance of the highest ethical standards and the need to permit public scrutiny
  • likely to adversely affect the University’s autonomy or academic freedom
  • given with a stated purpose or condition which is inconsistent with the University’s strategic plan and academic and research priorities
  • subject to obligations which would be inconsistent with any University statutes, policy or regulation
  • likely to incur significant undisclosed or unplanned costs and liabilities for the University
  • directed to or conditioned on providing scholarships, fellowships, chairs, lecture series or anything else with restrictive clauses that would require the University to violate The Human Rights Act 1993, or any other applicable Act of Parliament, or that reserve to the donor or provider or his/her representative the sole right to designate the recipient or that do not meet academic criteria stipulated by the University
  • uncertain whether they are for a designated or general purpose fund
  • such that the purpose or object of the gift or sponsorship cannot in the foreseeable future be reasonably established or sustained from the gift or sponsorship property or where the resources or systems of accountability for such use are not present
  • made in consideration of a GST supply by the University whether in form or substance notwithstanding that it is expressed as a gift, and in such cases, and for sponsorships where not covered by a GST invoice
  • not sanctioned or approved as to acceptance by the Vice-Chancellor as the Council’s delegate or a committee or a person or persons delegated that power by the Vice-Chancellor through Council

4. Gifts and sponsorships which are accepted as unspecified or general as to their use must be used for such purposes as will best advance the priorities of the University or as Council determines, or where pursuant to this policy, as determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

5. The University will generally convert all non-cash gifts or sponsorships to cash so that the proceeds may be invested in accordance with its respective investment policies, unless:

  • it can be accommodated within the portfolio of investments from time to time approved by the University, or
  • a specific exception is granted or agreed by the University

6. The person responsible for negotiating a sponsorship or gift must also be responsible for ensuring that any GST and taxation obligations that ensue are appropriately discharged.

7. Council delegates to the Vice-Chancellor the powers of Council in relation to gifts, devises and bequests upon terms of reference as Council may determine, and in the absence of any such determination consistent with this policy.

8. The power to grant and accept sponsorships is an administrative matter to be delegated and managed by the Vice-Chancellor subject only to the obligations expressed in this policy and the asset disposal requirements of the Act.

9. The Vice-Chancellor may elect to be advised by persons of their choosing who may also assist them to:

  • negotiate
  • assess
  • approve
  • accept

or set the terms of any gift or sponsorship.

10. The Vice-Chancellor and any sub-delegate must report regularly to Council on the exercise of the delegation set out in this policy. The report to Council must detail:

  • the origin
  • the amount and nature of gifts or sponsorships accepted (or directed as the case may be to The University of Auckland Foundation)
  • such other details as Council may request from time to time provided that only gifts or sponsorships valued at greater than $5,000 must be reported


The following definitions apply to this document:

ARD funding refers to Alumni Relations and Development (such as for scholarship funding, student events, research, programmes and facilities) funding.

Act refers to the Education Act 1989.

Council means the Council of The University of Auckland constituted and continued under S165 of the Act.

Gift means a donation of any type of property, including goods, real estate, rights or monies, where there is no consideration made or paid to the donor in any form for the making of that donation.

GST Supply means any supply of services or goods by the University whether in substance or form where the University would be bound to charge and account for Goods and Services Tax.

Sponsorship means the payment of money or anything having a monetary value, or the provision of services, rights or any type of property including goods and real estate, to the University where the payer or provider receives a consideration for such payment or provision in the form of advertising, logo use, publicity, naming or such similar rights but is not intended to mean or include normal day to day commercial transactions in which the University, in the ordinary course of business, purchases or otherwise acquires goods and services from another party.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Content manager: Vice-Chancellor’s Office and External Relations
Owned by: University Registrar/Secretary to Council; Director of Finance; University of Auckland Foundation Manager
Approved by: Council
Date approved: 10 December 2007
Review date: December 2013