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A specific donation is one in respect of which the donor has specified restrictions or conditions limiting the way in which the funds can be spent. For accounting purposes, however, donations are still not treated as specific, where the restrictions or conditions can be met by expenditure already committed or planned as part of the department's existing operations.

Note, again it is the donor's instructions which determine the status, not the separate decision which might be made by a department as to how the donation will be used.

Examples of specific donations

  • A donation of £1,000 to a department for the planting of trees in memory of a deceased student.
  • A donation of £20,000 to a department to be spent on books for the library, where the library's annual budget is around £2,000
  • A donation of £3m to be spent over 5 years on a specific initiative
  • A donation of £200,000 towards an appeal for a major laboratory refurbishment

Some specific donations will be used for capital expenditure on buildings or equipment. These will be treated as capital grants in the University's accounts, and any required accounting adjustments will be made by the Finance Division.

Note that the funds created by specific donations are dealt with in the University's financial statements under the heading of "endowments" in accordance with the requirements of the 2015 Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP). The distinction between these and the funds dealt with in the next paragraph remains important for internal purposes.

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