Spotlighting Recent Successes – Saving Time and Eliminating Steps by Utilizing the Gift Card Program

Since the initial roll out of the Gift Card Program, that includes six gift card options, in July of 2021, the program has seen great success! 

The new gift card program through Procurement Services has greatly simplified the ordering process.  Purchasing gift cards has become incredibly quick and easy with the new system.” - Ellen McIntosh, Program Specialist, CSSM: Survey Research Services.

The Gift Card Program was created to aid those who are looking to purchase gift cards for university business purposes including participant payments, awards, prizes, and/or for recognition by allowing the gift cards purchased through Procurement Services to be charged directly to a Worktag.

An additional benefit of the Gift Card Program is the elimination of the need to collect Research Participant Receipt Forms or Property Receipt Forms when a department or unit chooses to utilize Electronic Rewards Links to Tango for amounts less than $100 OR VISA electronic gift cards for amounts less than $100.  In these two cases, the recipient templates required to submit the orders through the program are all of the documentation required from the department or unit requesting the electronic gift cards. 

Individuals who order electronic gift cards under $100, like Kate Garretson, Administrative Assistant II, Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering, have found this additional benefit to be a significant time saver.  Kate shared that “with the built-in reminders about all the little details right on the site--like when I need to collect PRFs, how to attach them in Workday, which countries accept the Tango reward links, etc., correctly completing orders has been a lot easier and has saved me a lot of time.  I also absolutely love the fact that I don’t have to track who has received their e-gift card (as long as it’s a Tango reward link under $100), and I don’t have to ask anyone to come in person to pick anything up.” 

This would also apply to the VISA electronic gift cards for amounts less than $100 purchased through the Gift Card Program, but Kate chooses to utilize the Electronic Rewards Links to Tango because she has found that the students enjoy the flexibility provided by Tango. 

“From the students’ point of view, I think their favorite thing is choosing where they can spend their gift card.  Card Services has also been really supportive and helpful for the handful of students who have had difficulty with their reward link.  I haven’t heard anyone complaining about not having to come to the office to pick up a physical gift card either.  Having the reward link sent directly to their email saves them time and effort in getting their gift card, and saves them from my pestering gentle email reminders to make sure they pick it up in a timely manner.” – Kate Garretson, Administrative Assistant II, Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering

In addition to the electronic gift card options, the Gift Card Program also offers physical (plastic) gift card options for VISA Gift Cards and Amazon Gift Cards that are kept on hand and ready for distribution.  Rita Case, Director, Veteran’s Center said the following about her experience purchasing physical (plastic) gift cards through the Gift Card Program.

“Being new to ISU and learning my way around procurement processes, I was a little intimidated to purchase gift cards. However, the online form was easy to find and complete, and I was able to get gift cards the next day by choosing cards the procurement office already had in stock.” - Rita Case, Director, Veteran's Center

Sarah Pippin, Administrative Assistant, Virtual Reality Applications Center also shared her appreciation for the “user-friendly format, ample helpful resources, and options for customization” in addition to the Card Services Team and the Gift Card Program overall.

“The entire Card Services Team has been exceptionally helpful and friendly.  They do an excellent job keeping you updated throughout the process.  There's a gift card option for every need and every award amount.” - Sarah Pippin, Administrative Assistant, Virtual Reality Applications Center


The Gift Card Program offered by Procurement Services is the result of a collaboration with the Office of Research Ethics, the Office of the Vice President for Research, Sponsored Programs Accounting, the Treasurer’s Office, and the Controller’s Office to assure all requirements are met for gift card purchases made for participant payments, awards, prizes, and/or for recognition.  Gift Cards, including those purchased through the Gift Card Program, must have a legitimate university business purpose, comply with Iowa State University policies regarding cash, gift certificates, and other property, and cannot be used to pay suppliers for goods or services, to pay any type of wages or compensation, or to be used for personal purchases.


Additional information can be found on the Gift Card Program Website including how to buy and the documentation required for each type of gift card offered through the Gift Card Program.

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