Gifts vs. Grants

Gift vs. Grant

For foundations and non-profit sponsors, it is often difficult to determine at the proposal stage if the resulting award will be a gift or a grant. Many sponsors refer to their awards as gifts even when they are clearly grants, and vice versa. The inclusion of any of the following would suggest that we should plan to receive a grant (i.e., an award that will be funded via an -05 account) rather than a gift: 

  • The sponsor requires a detailed budget, financial reports and/or the return of any unspent funds.
  • The sponsor requires progress reports, interim or final, or other deliverables, particularly if the receipt of such items is a condition of payment.
  • The proposal includes a defined period of performance or specified end date.
  • The sponsor’s call for proposals refers to terms and conditions to be included in a resulting award that govern the use of the funds, ownership of intellectual property, or the use or dissemination of the results of the project.

When in doubt, consult with your pre-award administrator.  In most cases, if there is any uncertainty we will err on the side of caution and prepare the proposal expecting a grant.  For more on the characteristics of gifts and grants, see the Award Management section of our website.  

Sponsored Projects COVID-19 Updates

Several federal sponsors have created websites and issued guidance with FAQs, policy updates, and other information relating to proposals and awards impacted by COVID-19: