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Advancement Fee FAQs

What is the advancement fee?

The advancement fee is a one-time contribution to assist development activities in support of West Virginia University’s educational, research and service mission.

How will the advancement fee help West Virginia University?

The advancement fee will improve the capacity to grow private giving for West Virginia University and to reach out to more WVU alumni, friends and business partners for philanthropic support to WVU.

How will the advancement fee be applied?

Upon receipt of a gift, the Foundation will deduct a one-time advancement fee of 5% from the amount gifted subject to a maximum fee of $250,000 on a single gift. While the fee will have only a minor effect on individual funds, its collective impact will encourage sustained growth in private support across the University community.

Is the advancement fee in addition to my donation?

No. The advancement fee is automatically deducted from the amount you choose to donate. You are not expected to increase your gift amount to pay the fee.  Five percent (5%) of your total gift will help administer and support fundraising programs across West Virginia University and 95% will directly benefit the WVU program you chose to support. You will receive full donor credit and tax credit for 100% of your total donation.

Do other foundations or universities have an advancement fee?

Yes, most of our peer institutions apply a similar fee. 

Does the advancement fee affect tax deductibility of contributions?

No. The fee does not affect the tax deductibility of gifts and you will receive full credit for the total contributed amount.

Does the advancement fee apply to pledge payments?

The advancement fee will not apply to gifts and pledges processed before end of business on June 30, 2020.  For pledges processed on or after July 1, 2020, payments will be assessed the advancement fee.

What about gifts of stock?

The advancement fee applies to gifts made by transfer of stock or securities.  Brokerage fees associated with securities transfers are assessed to the benefitting fund. 

Does the advancement fee apply to recurring automatic contributions (credit card, EFT, payroll deduction, etc.)?

Yes. The advancement fee will apply to new recurring gifts established on or after July 1, 2020. The advancement fee will apply to each gift transaction.  Credit card recurring gift plans established prior to July 1, 2020 can receive a 3-year grace period ending June 30, 2023.  Credit card processing fees are assessed to the benefitting fund.

Does the fee apply to gifts to endowed funds?

Yes. Beginning July 1, 2020, the advancement fee applies to gifts and pledge commitments made to establish or contribute to endowed funds. It does not affect donor recognition or naming opportunities, and donors will receive full credit for the total contributed amount.

Will the donor be able to create the endowment with a gift of the minimum amount?

Yes. Endowment minimums are based on the donor’s total gifted amount, and not the amount invested net of the advancement fee. For those endowments established on or after July 1, 2020, the market value of the fund at inception will be net of the 5% advancement fee, but the donor will receive full credit for the total contributed amount and the endowment will be established.

What about matching gifts?

Yes. The advancement fee will apply for matching gifts.

What about real estate and mineral rights gifts?

The WVU Foundation contracts with a variety of professionals when performing the necessary due diligence, research and analysis associated with gifts of real estate and/or minerals. Professionals engaged by the Foundation may include legal counsel, realtors, appraisers, inspectors and engineers. Real estate and/or mineral sales proceeds net of associated fees which includes a 5% advancement fee are directed to the benefitting college, school, or program.  

Does the advancement fee apply to planned gifts?

Yes. A 5% advancement fee will be assessed on all testamentary gifts and matured planned gift distributions from charitable gift annuities, life insurance, charitable remainder trusts, IRA charitable rollovers, donor advised funds, and charitable lead trusts if we were not aware of the gift by July 1, 2020. Gifts establishing or continuing a deferred gift such as a charitable gift annuity or life insurance policy are exempt from the fee.

Does the advancement fee apply to in-kind, non-cash donations?

If an in-kind or non-cash asset is sold and the net proceeds benefit WVU, then the 5% advancement fee will be collected from the net proceeds received in the sale of that item.  If the in-kind contribution or service is not sold, then the advancement fee will not apply.

How about quid pro quo contributions (i.e. fundraising event gifts)?  

The 5% advancement fee will apply to the total contribution.   

Does the advancement fee apply to private grants?

Foundations and corporate foundations vary in their handling of any fees or indirect costs.  Grantor organization wishes regarding fees or assessments are honored.     

Can a donor increase their gift amount to cover the advancement fee?

Yes. A donor may choose to increase their gift amount to offset the advancement fee to ensure that more of their contribution is directed to the WVU area they wish to support.

Are there exemptions to the advancement fee?

Waivers to the fee must be approved by the WVU Foundation President and/or designee and will only occur where there is substantial potential for developing a long-term funding relationship with the donor and the gift’s designated use is compatible with the University’s organizational priorities. Waivers should only be granted in rarest of circumstances. 

The gift fee will not apply in the following circumstances:  foundations that have a pre-existing written policy against providing gifts to institutions where gift fees exist; donor-directed pass-through scholarship/fellowship awards and charitable life insurance premium payments.  

Is adoption of the advancement fee in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. The advancement fee was approved by the WVU Foundation Board of Directors in August 2019. Its adoption occurred well before the pandemic, and is not in response to financial challenges presented by COVID-19.

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