How to donate your records - organizations (campus and student groups, businesses, non-profits, societies, unions)

If you think you might want to donate records to SFU Archives, you can help us determine whether your organization's records would be a good fit in our repository by preparing some background information about your potential donation.

Following Steps 1-10 below will provide valuable context to your organization's records and aid in our assessment. Don't worry if you cannot provide answers to all of these steps. Just do your best to supply the details that you know. You can download our Donation Assessment Form as a convenient way to record these details.

Alternatively, contact the Staff Archivist to make arrangements for a site visit so that s/he can inspect the records and, with your help, collect the details described below. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate site visits outside British Columbia's Lower Mainland.


* Donation Assessment Form.pdf
Donation Assessment Form

Step 1

Describe the subject areas to which your organization's records might relate. See the subject headings we use to index our holdings for an overview of our collecting strengths. If you are interested in browsing our holdings, see our online catalogue, SFU Atom.

Step 2

Describe the research audiences that might be interested in your records. You know your records better than we do and we value your insights.

Step 3

Prepare a description of the records to be donated. For example:

  • File list (pdf)
  • Descriptive narrative (e.g. records include reports, correspondence, minutes, financial statements, personnel files, etc.)

Step 4

Describe the approximate size of the donation. For example:

  • How many boxes of records?
  • How many GB of data on electronic storage media?
  • How many photographs or films?
  • How many sound recordings?

Step 5

Identify the outside dates of the records (earliest and latest dates of the records as a whole).

Step 6

Describe whether the records are unique and original:

  • Does the proposed donation consist entirely of originals or copies or some mixture of both?
  • Are the records unique or might other individuals, organizations, libraries or archives hold the same records?
  • Does the proposed donation include publications?

Step 7

List the types of records included in the proposed donation. For example:

  • Textual records
  • Architectural drawings
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Films and videos
  • Sound recordings
  • Electronic records

Step 8

Confirm ownership:

  • Are the records the organization's property?
  • Do the records belong to another organization?
  • Can you supply a motion by the organization's governing executive body that documents the approval of the proposed donation to SFU Archives?

Step 9

Describe prior transfers of ownership and custody and control of the records:

  • Did another organization own the records previously (e.g. successor or merged organizations)?
  • Were the records stored in multiple locations over time (e.g. different offices, storage facilities, staff homes)?

Step 10

Are the records fairly complete and representative of the history and operations of the organization? If there are significant gaps, describe them. For example:

  • Your organization does not want to donate its executive correspondence or it meeting minutes.
  • Records from a particular time frame were lost or destroyed.

Step 11

The Staff Archivist will decide whether your organization's records fall within our acquisition mandate. If SFU Archives decides to acquire your organization's records, you can help us by making arrangements for their delivery. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to pick up large donations.

Step 12

The donation process concludes with the signing of a Donation Agreement. The Agreement legally transfers ownership of your records to Simon Fraser University. The particulars of the Agreement are negotiated between you and SFU Archives. Some things for you to consider:

  • Are you empowered to act on behalf of your organization to negotiate the terms and conditions of donation?
  • Does your organization want to place time-limited, public access restrictions on some of the records because they contain sensitive personal information? If yes, please flag those records before sending them to SFU Archives.
  • Does your organization want to retain copyright in the records it authored or would your organization like to assign copyright ownership to SFU Archives?
  • Does your organization want to gift the records to SFU Archives (i.e. donate them without receiving any financial consideration) or does it want a tax receipt in return for the donation? SFU does not purchase records.
  • Does your organization want any material we decide not to preserve permanently returned to the organization or confidentially destroyed? If the former, we ask that you make arrangements to pick up the materials we decide not to keep.
  • Does your organization want to make additional donations over time? If yes, how frequently (e.g. once every 5 years)? Regularizing transfers ensures your organization's documented history continues to be reliably captured and preserved.