Spotlight on Gift Accounting & Agreements

UGA Gift Accounting Team Photo
by Michael James

For many GAIL users, part (or all) of what you do may involve soliciting gifts to your school or department. But who handles all the legwork once the check is written to make sure that money ends up where it is supposed to go? Why, that would be the Gift Accounting & Agreements team, part of the UGA Foundation! Here’s who they are and a fun fact about each one:

Maria Berdon – Accountant
“I am a third generation UGA graduate.”

Brenda Bryant – Accountant, Major Gifts
“I am a true aficionado of the Oxford comma – no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

Jason Burdette – Director, Gift Accounting
“As an undergrad at UGA (years undisclosed), I was a bus driver. I keep my CDL active for nostalgia.”

Clare Cooley – Application Analyst
“Holly has gotten me obsessively interested in jigsaw puzzles again.”

Jennifer Hancock – Associate Director, Gift Agreements
“I am not a Monday person. If you need my full attention, you might want to wait until Tuesday.”

Sheila Mason – Senior Accountant, Deposits
“I love watching horror movies, the scarier the better.”

Wanda Massey – Accounting Technician, Gift Entry
“I am married to my high school sweetheart. We have been married for 44 years. We have 3 children and 2 daughters in law and 1 son in law. We have 5 grandchildren, who are precious.”

Erica Owensby – Gift Agreement Coordinator
“I hail from the great state of Maine. I enjoy embroidery, crafts, card and dice games, volunteer work, and spending time with my family and pets.”

Mike Paulishen – Senior Accountant, Gift Entry
“I cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring.”

Brandon Scott – Senior Director
“I found out the hard way that you shouldn’t park in the back right corner at Milledge Center – my car was underwater during the flood of 2015.”

Lacey Tench – Accountant, Gift Entry
“I graduated from Auburn but ended up working at UGA.”

Ibony Wainscott – Senior Accounting Technician
“I walked over 500 miles in 27 days, doing El Camino de Santiago (Between France and Spain).”

Next time you run into one of the team members, you’ll have an icebreaker topic!

What Does the Gift Accounting & Agreements Team Do?
The Gift Accounting & Agreements team performs several essential functions when it comes to money coming in and ending up where it’s supposed to go. As you might imagine processing and recording gifts and pledges to the University is a high priority for the team. Donations from multiple sources — including thousands of online payments –are entered into GAIL and also matched with the donor’s constituent profile in the system (or a profile is created if there isn’t a profile in the system yet). The Gift Accounting & Agreements team will send out gift receipts and pledge reminders to donors in the mail, too!

Gift Accounting & Agreements also establishes new funds and writes fund agreements. When you have a donor that want to start a new scholarship, for example, Gift Accounting & Agreements will be there to make sure all the paperwork’s in place. They also ensure that all gifts are properly designated to follow the donor’s intent. They handle all approval for paid events (and will connect up your event in GAIL with the right fund), generate fundraising total for the University, and work with the financial accounting team to protect the assets of the Foundation. Gift Accounting & Agreements really know how to stay busy!

Why is Having A Gift Accounting & Agreements Team Important?
To put it as succinctly as possible, the Gift Accounting & Agreements team bridges the gap between money coming in and money being spent! Whether that’s making sure dollars end up in the correct account or through funds being established, without this team we’d be just sitting on revenue but unable to use it! With the help of GAIL, they also make sure that we have a complete, accurate, and vigilantly maintained giving record for all of our donors so that we account for every dollar that the Foundation has received should anyone ask for it.

It’s also important to remember that through setting up funds for all different purposes, we give donors the flexibility to be able to donate to the places and causes on campus that are the most meaningful for them. When a donor can give to something that is close to their heart, then they will be more likely to give — whether that’s the William C. Hartman fund, the Mary Frances Early Graduate Student Support fund, the Stonewall Equality Scholarship fund, or wherever their passion lies.

What Would the Gift Accounting & Agreements Team Like People to Know?
Whenever you need reach out to the Gift Accounting & Agreements team, whether it is about a gift, an event that needs approval, or a fund that needs establishing, don’t skimp on the details. Provide as much information as you can about the situation that you need assistance with. This extra detail often helps resolve the situation much faster, so don’t feel like you’re burdening the team with excessive explanation.

Don’t be afraid to double check the Gift Accounting & Agreements team’s work; they won’t be offended! Truth is, they deal with a large volume of transactions and agreements, so if something isn’t adding up for you, let them know. At the end of the day, if a particular transaction is important to you and your donor then it never hurts to have another set of eyes look over it.

What’s the Best Way to Get in Touch?
If you have questions about fund agreements, you’ll want to speak with Jennifer Hancock. The best way to get in touch is though email: ude.agu@yragj.

If you have questions about anything else — gifts, event approvals, etc. — you can email ude.agu@stfig or call 542-GIFT (706-542-4438).