Communications & Media Relations Policies

Gift Publicity Policy

Gifts to Franklin & Marshall College reflect confidence in the College and a commitment to its future. Support and investment in F&M often is cause for public celebration, and the College works in partnership with donors to announce their gifts.

Many members of the Franklin & Marshall community will be partners in securing investments for F&M, and this Gift Publicity Policy contains guidelines to ensure that all members of the College community understand the process for official gift recognition. Ensuring that gift announcements follow these guidelines safeguards donor relations and promotes appropriate and effective recognition of gifts, which is essential to the College's success.

Effective gift announcements publicize an important College priority and communicate directly to key constituencies while respecting a donor's desire for recognition. Such announcements also pay homage to our donor community, generally, draw attention to the College's achievements, highlight specific programs, and set an example to inspire others.

The Office of Advancement works in cooperation with the Office of Communications and the Office of the President to officially publicize gifts in ways that are consistent with best practices and effective positioning of the College among external audiences. F&M's gift announcement protocol considers the needs of the College, the wishes of the donor, the interests of various audiences, and the standards and practices of the media.

To assure the accuracy and completeness of news that is released regarding gifts — both internally and externally — the College documents and records gifts fully and in compliance with the College's gift acceptance policy prior to the release of any information about a gift. The guidelines in this Gift Publicity Policy apply to release of any information about a gift that might appear on College websites and in print publications, email messages and newsletters, speeches, presentations, social media, and other communication vehicles employed by F&M programs, departments and offices.



The Gift Publicity Policy is intended to apply to all charitable gifts and grants given to Franklin & Marshall College and accepted under the guidelines outlined in the College's Gift Acceptance Policy. A "donor" shall be defined as any individual, partnership, corporation, foundation or other legal entity that makes a charitable gift to the College, regardless of amount or type of gift. This Gift Announcement Policy pertains to three types of gifts.

Private gifts: Refers to present and future gifts for use by the institution, with emphasis on contributions by individuals. A present gift is one made outright and immediately available for use by Franklin & Marshall College. Present gifts may also be pledged to be paid over a period of up to five years. Future gifts — for example, bequest expectancies, charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities — mature to benefit F&M at a later date.

Private grants: Refers to contributions from a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization with its funds (usually from a single source, such as an individual, family or group of individuals) and program managed by its own trustees or directors. Frequently, such donations will be referred to as having been directed to the College by an alumnus, parent or trustee of the College via a family foundation, donor-advised fund, or community foundation.

Foundation grants: Refers to contributions from corporate foundations and private foundations with a formalized administrative/staff structure, and foundations that make awards primarily through a competitive grants process.

This policy does not apply to exchange transactions (contracts) in which the sponsor receives something of material value in return for giving something that the parties perceive to be of equitable value — a quid pro quo arrangement. Such dealings are not charitable gifts or grants. Academic grants awarded via state or federal sources also are exempt from this policy.


This Gift Announcement Policy outlines guidelines for two types of gift announcements, those focused on informing public audiences beyond the Franklin & Marshall community about gifts to F&M, and internal announcements intended for our campus community.

Public Announcements:

Public announcements include news published in print or online, or distributed electronically, and shared in any combination of the following ways:

    • as part of the College's Web and social media presence via the F&M News online newsroom, the College's homepage news feed, the Bell & Tower campus community news Web page, and Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms;

    • as press releases or news advisories conveyed to the news media (this also may include news shared during press conferences for major gifts);

    • published in Franklin & Marshall Magazine;

    • via newsletter, including Headlines, The Diplomat, Bell & Tower and The Luminary;

    • in email sent to external constituencies including alumni, parents, friends of the College, education advocates and others outside the campus community; and

    • in marketing materials, including brochures, postcards, recruitment publications and donor reports.

Internal Announcements:

Internal announcements include dissemination of gift news to internal stakeholders and members of the campus community, including faculty, professional staff, students and trustees. Dissemination of this news typically is via email, but also may include in-person gatherings and other meetings not open to the general public.


The vice president for advancement has final authority and responsibility for determining the official announcement of gifts to Franklin & Marshall College, and the vice president for communications has responsibility for all aspects of externally facing communications, including content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness and professionalism.

    1. The decision to announce a gift, whether public or internal, should be approved in principle by the vice president for college advancement or his or her designee.

    2. Any gift announcement, whether public or internal, shall be made only with the permission of the donor, sought through the Office of College Advancement, to publicize the gift according to College policy. Requests for anonymity must always be respected.

    3. Consistent with the College's gift-acceptance policy, before any gift is announced publicly or internally, it must be recognized officially as a gift or pledge by the College and must be entered appropriately into the College's gift records system.

    4. Announcements may not be made via F&M departmental websites, newsletters, email, social networks or microblogs, or by outside sites and newsletters until the College itself has officially announced the gift.

To the public:
    1. Public gift announcements generally will be made by the president of the College, but other officers may be asked to serve as spokespersons when appropriate. The donor, relevant faculty members, alumni and/or students may be invited to provide comments to be incorporated into a news story, testimonial or press release.

    2. In general, only gifts of $1 million or more will be announced publicly. Public announcements may be made of gifts of less than $1 million at the request of the president or the vice president for college advancement, or if the vice president for communications believes the gift is likely to attract media interest because of its unusual or local source, nature or circumstances, or because it funds innovative programs or facilities that may in themselves be newsworthy.

    3. Gifts of any amount that bring lifetime giving from a specified donor to a "milestone" level, i.e. >$1 million, >$5 million, or >$10 million, may also be announced publicly, as should inaugural benefactions from sources representing potentially important new relationships between the College and gift-provider/partners.

    4. In certain cases, gift announcements may include notice of multiple gifts in a single announcement, particularly if the contributions support a common area or project.

    5. Public announcement of a gift must include the amount of the gift, even when the donor remains anonymous.

    6. Communications will endeavor to interest the media in any gift that might be regarded by media outlets as newsworthy. (Gifts are most likely to attract media interest if they are large in size, generally $1 million or more, or if they are associated with new or innovative programs or facilities.)

    7. In general, if Franklin & Marshall has previously announced a $1 million+ gift from a donor, that gift should be mentioned in an announcement about a new gift from the same donor. If F&M has previously announced a gift in the $500,000 to $1 million range, it may be appropriate to mention that gift in an announcement of a new gift from the same donor, and appropriate development staff should be consulted.

To internal audiences:

Consideration will be given to the internal announcement of gifts of less than $1 million that are of particular interest to the campus community. Procedures for internal gift announcements will be consistent with the practices used in preparing announcements for public circulation.


    1. The vice president for advancement or his/her designee will notify the Office of Communications and the Office of the President of pending gifts for announcement. The director of advancement communications, anticipating a gift announcement, will confer with the director of campaign relations and stewardship to confirm that a gift will receive publicity — public or internal — to verify the required documentation and official entry in the gift-recording system. 

    2. The director of campaign relations and stewardship will consult with the appropriate member of the development staff regarding any complications in the gift agreement or in F&M's ability to announce the gift.

    3. The vice president for college advancement or the development officer who is the primary liaison to the donor will notify the donor of the College's desire to publicize the gift and seek his, her or their consent to that publicity.

If consent granted for public announcement:

    1. The appropriate members of the Office of Communications' news staff (most often the director of media relations or the associate vice president for communications) will work in consultation with the director of advancement communications and the appropriate member of the development staff to prepare any public gift announcement.

    2. The responsible development officer will advise the donor that an Office of Communications representative will be in touch to discuss the gift announcement, seek the donor's insights about the impact of the gift, and develop suitable comments to be included in the announcement. (A quote from the donor is optional, and an announcement may be issued without one if the donor has no objections to the release of other information about the gift.)

    3. The vice president for communications and/or executive assistant to the president will coordinate the crafting and approval of remarks from the president, if any are to be included.

    4. The associate vice president for communications or his/her designee will oversee the public announcement draft, including any quotes, and will guide it through the internal review process, which should include (in order) the writer in Communications, the director of Advancement Communications, the associate vice president for communications (serving as executive editor), the director of campaign relations and stewardship, and the vice president for communications or executive assistant to the president, who will seek the president's feedback on the draft.

    5. If substantive changes are made to the draft document at any stage, the director of Advancement Communications and/or associate vice president for Communications also shall see that the appropriate parties are asked to provide additional review and assent. The writer shall not send the announcement to the donor for review until it has been reviewed and approved by the senior executives in the Office of Communications, Office of Advancement and Office of the President.

    6. The writer in Communications who has been in touch with the donor during the announcement-development process, with approval from appropriate senior staff, will send the draft to the donor for approval.

    7. The vice president for advancement in coordination, with the vice president for communications and the executive assistant to the president, will discuss any significant changes proposed by the donor. Final decisions about the content and timing of the announcement will respect the wishes of a donor who asks to remain anonymous or who prefers not to be quoted, but who has no objections to the release of other information about the gift.

    8. To ensure alignment with any public announcement, the Office of Communications (deferring to the wishes of the Office of the President) will coordinate an internal announcement by email to the campus community. Generally, this announcement will be made prior to any public announcement, although the Office of Communications may allow for contemporaneous posting to the College website and distribution to news outlets, including the donor's hometown newspaper. No announcement of a gift will occur until the steps outlined above have been completed.

    9. The Office of Communications will coordinate the gift's announcement in selected news media and in official Franklin & Marshall media (F&M News on the College's website, Bell & Tower, The Diplomat, Franklin & Marshall Magazine, F&M Headlines, etc.), and F&M students may choose to run a story about the gift in the student-run campus newspaper, The College Reporter.

If consent granted for internal announcement only:

    1. Internal gift announcements generally will be made by the vice president for advancement or the president of the College in cases in which the vice president for advancement or the president determines that a gift is of interest to the campus community or internal stakeholders.

    2. The executive assistant to the president will shepherd email announcements from the president, while the director of advancement communications will work with the appropriate development officer to shepherd announcement emails from the vice president for advancement. In both cases, the appropriate development officer should advise if the donor requires review of the internal announcement. In the case of grants, the "donor" may be the grant-making foundation or organization.

Policy Maintained by: Office of Communications, Vice President for Communications
Approved by the College's Senior Staff: November 21, 2014
Last Reviewed: November 7, 2017