Office of Advancement

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered below, please call the Advancement Office at 253-535-7177 or email A member of our staff will be happy to assist you.

Giving Basics

Is my gift tax deductible?

Yes! The IRS encourages support of charitable organizations by allowing an income tax charitable deduction to those who itemize their taxes. Here’s how it works:

  • Charitable gifts of cash may be deducted up to a maximum of 50 percent of your adjusted gross income.
  • There is a five-year carry over of unused deduction amounts, enabling you to spread the deduction over as many as six years.
  • There are other rules governing charitable deductions for other types of gifts.

It is worth a call to the Office of Advancement to discuss the tax impact of various gift strategies. We encourage all donors to seek outside legal or financial advice.

What is PLU’s Tax Identification Number?

The PLU Tax Identification Number is 91-0565571.

Why is giving important; will my small gift really make a difference?

Yes! Every gift makes a difference! Each gift, no matter the size, combines to further the experiences of students on campus by providing funding for educational and co-curricular pursuits, as well as allowing access to student scholarships.

Additionally, PLU is rated by organizations such as U.S. News & World Report each year, and the number of alumni donors factors into the overall ranking of PLU. When major philanthropic organizations are considering PLU for a grant, the alumni giving percentage is valued highly in the selection process as it indicates the level of satisfaction among our alumni and whether PLU is a sound investment.

What is PLU’s fiscal year, and how might that affect my giving?

PLU runs on a fiscal year from June 1 to May 31, similar to a school year. Giving and participation data are calculated and recorded based upon those dates. All gifts given to the PLU Fund, will be used to support the university within the fiscal year they were donated. PLU’s fiscal year has no affect on the tax year (calendar year, January 1 to December 31) or how tax deductions are calculated.

Can I give anonymously?

Yes! If you wish you may give without being publicly recognized for your gift. Giving anonymously means you will not be listed in print or online lists recognizing donors

You will receive a receipt and acknowledgement from the university along with our gratitude for your generosity.

If you are giving online there is a section in the donation form titled “Gift Recognition Information,” and the first question includes a drop down box where you may choose the option to remain anonymous for your gift. If you are giving by mail there is a section on our donate by mail form titled “Gift Information” and a subsection called “Optional Gift Instructions” with a check box for anonymous giving.

How is the Endowment at PLU doing?

Check out the Finance and Administration page for information about the financial status of PLU. The Endowment value as of May 31, 2015 was more than $85.6 million.

What’s the IRS Disclosure Statement for PLU?

IRS Disclosure Statement: Beginning with the 1994 tax year, the Internal Revenue Service requires non-profit organizations to provide donors with a good faith estimate of the value of any benefits received as a result of their gifts. When a donor calculates a charitable deduction, the value of any related benefits must be subtracted from the amount of the contribution. Benefits valued at 2% of the gift amount or $106 (in 2016), whichever is less, and certain low cost, token items are viewed by the IRS as insubstantial and do not need to be considered when determining the tax deductibility of a contribution. Consult your tax advisor with any specific questions or concerns.

Unless it is stated otherwise on your acknowledgement, no goods or services were provided in consideration of this contribution. If you receive a benefit at a later date as a result of this gift, you will be informed of its fair market value at that time.

What is the Electronic Funds Transfer program (EFT)?

The Electronic Funds Transfer program makes giving to PLU even easier. With your consent, PLU establishes a relationship with your bank. On the 12th of each month (or the next business day) your gift will be electronically deducted from your checking account and transferred to PLU. A record of your contribution will be on your bank statement each month. Using our EFT program saves you personal time and money by eliminating the need to write and mail checks each month.

What is the PLU Fund?

The PLU Fund is an unrestricted fund that provides support to the university throughout the academic year. By giving to the PLU Fund you provide the university with the flexibility to use your gift to support areas that need it most. Most significant of those areas is student scholarships.

Additionally, gifts to the PLU Fund help provide opportunities for current Lutes to get involved in student-led clubs and organizations, athletics, internships, leadership development programs, and gives the university the ability to update classrooms for the 21st century and recruit exceptional faculty.

Records & Personal Information

How do I change/update my records?

If any of your personal information has changed, you can simply fill out this biographical information update form and submit it to our advancement operations team who will ensure that your information is updated in our system and for all further PLU communication.

How does PLU protect my personal information? Do they sell or rent it to any third parties?

Personal records and information of PLU constituents are completely confidential and used only for communication from the university. This information is never sold, rented or given to any third parties for use.

The PLU Fund

What is the PLU Fund?

The PLU Fund provides vital support used by the university during the academic school year (June 1 – May 31) in which they are received. Gifts to the PLU Fund are unrestricted, giving the university the flexibility to use the gifts to support areas that need it most.

How are my PLU Fund contributions used?

Contributions made to the PLU Fund are essential in helping the university address top priorities  such as student scholarships, leadership development programs, and faculty recruitment

Who participates?

Alumni, parents, friends, PLU faculty and staff, corporations, foundations and congregations all contribute to the PLU Fund and aid in the success of students at Pacific Lutheran University.

Is there a minimum contribution amount?

There is no minimum contribution to the PLU Fund. Donors give $5, $10, or $25 to $1,000, $5,000 or $25,000. Participation is one of the most important metrics by which the university is measured. Your gift of any amount makes a difference for current and future Lutes!

Lute Club

What is Lute Club?

Lute Club is PLU’s annual athletics fund. Gifts to Lute Club are used to meet current needs within PLU athletics by providing the opportunities and resources for student-athletes to compete at a high level.

How are my Lute Club contributions used?

Contributions made to Lute Club support various aspects of the athletics program, from uniforms to equipment to travel costs for PLU teams.

Is there a minimum contribution?

There is no minimum contribution to Lute Club. Donors give $5, $10, or $25 to $1,000, $5,000 or $25,000. Participation is one of the most important metrics by which the university is measured. Your gift of any amount makes a difference for current and future Lute athletes!

Can I give a gift to a specific team?

Yes! Gifts to Lute Club can be designated to general athletic support, specific teams or specific endowed funds. Options are available on our online giving form.


What is an endowment fund?

An endowment is a permanent, self sustaining fund. Endowments are invested, and each year a portion of the investment income is spent to ensure academic excellence, provide access and opportunity, and sustain the University’s mission. Currently, the endowment spending rate is equal to 5% of the fund’s average assets during the last three fiscal years.

How are endowment funds invested?

The PLU endowment is invested in highly diversified asset classes, providing stability in principal. This stability has allowed the university to continue to provide a 5 percent payout each year even during the volatile markets of the early and late 2000s.The Endowment Investment and Spending Policy can be viewed in full here.

How much does it cost to establish a named endowment?

While the PLU Board of Regents has set different minimum funding levels for different types of endowments, final endowment amounts may vary with each individual situation. We work closely with the appropriate faculty/administrators to determine the funding needs for each position and program. Currently, the minimum amount to establish a named endowed scholarship is $25,000. A full list of endowment options and corresponding amounts can be found on our Named Endowments page.

What can an endowment support? Is it just scholarships?

You can endow much more than scholarships. Endowment options range from student scholarships to endowed professorships and chairs to student-faculty research. A full list can be found on our Named Endowments page.

What does it take to start an endowment?

First, you should contact an Advancement Officer to discuss what type of endowment is best for you. Then you will sign an endowment agreement. This agreement between the donor and the university permanently defines the purpose of the fund.

Whose name is on the endowment?

You can name an endowment for yourself, your family, your friend, your favorite professor, or whoever you please!

Can I meet the students who benefit from my endowed scholarship?

In most cases, yes. Each year, PLU hosts an endowed scholarship reception that brings together scholarship recipients and donors. You will also receive an Impact Statement each year with a message from the student who received the scholarship in your name. If the student so chooses, they will share their contact information with this statement. If you do not have an opportunity to meet your student on your own or at a campus event, the PLU Donors Relations team can arrange a visit for you if you are ever on campus.

Can I contribute to an endowment without starting one myself?

Yes! PLU is always seeking additional gifts to the endowment – and there are existing funds and projects that should interest everyone! Contributions of any size may be given to these endowment funds.  Please contact our Gift Planning Team at for information about gifts to existing endowment funds or how you can create your own fund by contributing over a period of years or through deferred gifts.

Planned Giving

How can I find out how much income I can receive from a Charitable Gift Annuity?

A Charitable Gift Annuity provides a guaranteed stream of income for the lifetime of one or two individuals. The amount of income is based on the age(s) of the annuity income recipient(s) at the time the charitable gift annuity is established. Visit the Charitable Gift Annuity page to learn more, or contact PLU’s Gift Planning Team at for a confidential illustration of how a charitable gift annuity will work for you.

Does PLU have to be the trustee of a Charitable Remainder Trust?

No. While the university does serve as trustee for many charitable remainder trusts, an individual, a bank, trust company or other financial institution can serve as trustee of a charitable trust.

Can I leave PLU a portion of my IRA?

Yes – and by doing so you not only provide a gift to PLU but you save potential taxes for your heirs!  Most IRA custodians can provide you with a form that allows you to name PLU as a partial beneficiary of your IRA. Visit for more information. If you have questions or require assistance, please contact our Gift Planning Team at