You open your mail and find a check made out to MIT—a donation from a generous alumnus. The question is, what to do with it? The quick answer is to send it immediately to the Office of the Recording Secretary in W98-300. When, why, how? Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Office of the Recording Secretary?
The Office of the Recording Secretary (RSO) receives gifts on behalf of the Institute and provides expertise and consultation on gift policies and procedures. The RSO prepares tax receipts, deposits gifts, and handles official recordkeeping for pledges and gifts of cash, securities, mutual funds, and gifts-in-kind. In addition, the RSO ensures the maintenance, safekeeping, and accessibility of permanent records of gifts, including original documentation of gift memoranda, gift and pledge agreements, trust instruments, and other legal documents associated with gifts. Visit the RSO page on this site.
When to reach out to the RSO
Send gifts of $2,000 or more from individual donors and all gifts from corporations or foundations to the Office of the Recording Secretary,W98-300, or hand deliver them to Brett Conklin, Gift Operations Assistant, in W98-317 (600 Memorial Drive). The only exceptions are gifts under $2,000 and credit card gifts (see below). Never deposit gifts directly into a departmental account or send them to the cashier’s office for deposit.
How to handle questions about bequests
When family members, executors, or attorneys are settling an estate, they’re often not sure whom they need to talk with at the Institute and end up calling around MIT in an attempt to arrange for the transfer of the bequest.
If you receive an inquiry about a bequest, contact Christine Martignetti, Estate & Trust Settlement Specialist, MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) in E48-200. You can reach her at 617.452.3966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Bequests and gifts made from a donor’s estate are complex financial arrangements, so you’ll find Christine’s help invaluable.
Not sure if you’re dealing with a bequest? Here are a few key terms that indicate the donation involves a bequest:
- Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)
- Estate of (or E/)
- For Benefit Of (or FBO)
- Last Will and Testament
- Payable on Death (POD)
- Revocable Trust Agreement
- Transfer on Death (TOD)
- Trust of
- Trust Under Agreement
- Trust Under Authority
- Trust Under Will of (or T/U/W)
- Trustee (or TTEE)
What to do with credit card donations and gifts under $2,000
Hand-deliver or send via interdepartmental mail all gifts from individual donors that total less than $2,000 and all gifts—in any amount—that have been made by credit card to the MIT Alumni Association, Office of Records, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-200. Do not send cash through interdepartmental mail, and be cautious when sending sensitive information. Make sure, for example, that credit card details are not visible through holes in interdepartmental envelopes. If you’d like to consult with staff at the Office of Records, call 617.253.8270 or email email@example.com.
What is the latest a gift can be processed and still qualify as a tax deduction for the current year?
Gifts by Credit Card
All credit card gifts (sent via mail or made online) must be processed by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on December 31 for the gift to be counted within that tax year. Donors making credit card donations should visit http://giving.mit.edu/ until December 31 to make sure their donation is recorded for the present tax year. If you have authorization for a credit card gift, please contact the Alumni Association’s Office of Records at 617.253.8270 by noon on December 31 for processing. In keeping with IRS regulations, any credit card gift that is mailed and postmarked by December 31 but not received by the Office of Records prior to the close of business on December 31 cannot be processed until the new year and thus cannot be used as a tax deduction for the previous year.
Gifts by Check
All gifts by check must have a date of, or prior to, December 31, and the envelope must be postmarked on or before December 31 to qualify as a deduction for the present tax year. It is therefore critical to keep the original envelope and forward it with the gift. Please submit via interdepartmental mail all gifts of $2,000 or less to the Alumni Association’s Office of Records at W98-200. Send gifts $2,000 and over to the Office of the Recording Secretary at W98-300.
If you have questions or concerns about deadlines or about a specific gift, please call the Office of the Recording Secretary at 617.253.5048 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide as much detail as possible about the gift (such as donor name, donor ID, receipt #, date, and amount of gift).