2205 Gifts of Specialized Services

Document purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set forth the University’s policy regarding proposed gifts of specialized services.


July, 2003


April, 2023


May, 2024

Responsible Office





This Policy 2205 sets forth the University’s prohibition on accepting proposed gifts of “Specialized Services.” “Specialized Services” are services performed by professionals and tradespersons with specialized skills, such as services provided by accountants, architects, carpenters, physicians, electricians, lawyers, teachers, nurses, plumbers and other professionals.

Contracting of specialized services by the University is usually undertaken on a paid basis in conjunction with a review by Procurement Services, and may include vendor screening, a request for proposals, a review team, execution of contracts, management and support for the contracted services. Proposed non-paid gifts of services from professionals and tradespersons with specialized skills are generally inconsistent with these processes and may give rise to issues of favoritism.  In addition, gifts of Specialized Services present accounting challenges because they must be recorded on a nonprofit’s financial statements and reported on IRS Form 990 in a way that is different than for ordinary volunteer services.

The University gratefully accepts volunteers in a number of specific endeavors throughout the University and some of its related entities, for example at the Morris Arboretum and the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Volunteer opportunities are generally published, and there are processes for applying for those opportunities.

The University does not provide gift receipts for volunteer service, since no federal income tax deduction is allowable under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code for the value of the services contributed.  The University further does not provide reimbursement for costs associated with volunteering, although a federal income tax deduction may be allowable for such costs.