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  What is the minimum dollar amount to set up a named fund? Frequently Asked Questions

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The minimum for named funds is usually fairly high, especially for named endowments. Generally at least $5,000 and above, and depending on the institution, may be even higher.

For smaller amounts, more often than not each school/department within your institution will have something like a "Deans Discretionary Fund," or "Departmental Reserve Fund." which can be used to capture smaller gifts. However, money going into general discretionary funds is not as easy to ensure that it will be spent as the donor intended.

Memorial gifts are somewhat more problematic, in that donors typically want to donate to a named fund, as opposed to making an in memory donation to a general discretionary fund. In this case, named memorial funds may also be set up for smaller amounts.

It also depends on the level of stewardship and reporting that donors to the institution expect. For example, in the case of a major donor, you may need to open up a fund with a smaller amount in it that they have given just for that special project, and for which they will require stewardship reporting in the future.

One of the keys to determining whether a separate fund will be required is in up front negotiations with the donor and the donor agreement that is signed.

It's always a balancing act to try and determine the amount of maintenance required for smaller funds. The most important consideration in all of these decisions is what level of stewardship will be required for a donor and what is the next gift that could result.
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