Fundraising Policies

Only recognized and registered student clubs/organizations may sponsor a fundraising activity. There are three different types of fundraising activities: internal fundraisers, external fundraisers, and solicitations, donations, or in-kind contributions.

Student Engagement must approve all fundraising activities sponsored by student organizations through completion and acceptance of an Event Planning Form. Fundraising activities must be consistent with the mission of PLU, and adhere to all local, state, and Federal laws and ordinances.

Internal Fundraisers

Internal fundraisers are defined as events sponsored to raise money for internal organizational use (e.g., operating expenses, organizational activities, etc.) Student clubs and organizations may collect money via cash or check ONLY.

    • Unless a student club or organization has an approved Gift Account, contributions to internal fundraisers are not tax deductible. Student organizations may not rely on the University’s tax exempt status in organizing or operating such an event and shall in no way imply that the University is a sponsor of the event.
    • The net proceeds of the fundraiser are to be dedicated only to funding the organization’s activities that comport with the organization’s stated purpose(s).
    • No raffles, lotteries or sweepstakes may be held. An event involving all three of the following: (1) an entry fee (2) a prize (3) chance/luck, may fall under the legal definition of gaming, which is regulated by state law. Please contact Student Engagement to determine if a proposed event would be considered a “raffle” or illegal gambling.
    • Fundraisers that promote the use and/or sale of alcohol (e.g., happy hours) will not be approved.
    • Fundraisers involving credit cards (e.g., credit card applications) will not be approved.
    • All fundraising plans must be submitted to Student Engagement for approval at least three weeks prior to the fundraising activity by completing an Event Planning Form.

External Fundraisers

External fundraisers are defined as events sponsored to raise money for charitable, tax-exempt organizations external to the University.

The following policy allows recognized student organizations to use University facilities and sponsor events to raise money for another tax-exempt charitable, educational, or religious off-campus organization as defined under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3).

    • The proposed recipient must be an IRS-recognized 501 (c) (3) organization. A copy of the IRS determination letter verifying this status must be submitted with the Event Planning Form. All commercial or political activities or organizations as well as unorganized or unrecognized public groups irrespective of their avowed aims or purposes are strictly excluded as recipients.
    • The funds devoted to such purposes are to be confined to the net amounts realized from voluntary contributions made to such activity.
    • Contributions to external fundraisers must be made payable directly to the external charitable organization and charitable organization. Contributions may not be made payable to the University. The student organization and charitable organization shall in no way imply that the University is a sponsor of the event.
    • No raffles, lotteries or sweepstakes may be held. An event involving all three of the following: (1) an entry fee (2) a prize (3) chance/luck, may fall under the legal definition of gaming, which is regulated by state law. Please contact Student Engagement to determine if a proposed event would be considered a “raffle” or illegal gambling.
    • Fundraisers that promote the use and/or sale of alcohol (e.g., happy hours) will not be approved.
    • Fundraisers involving credit cards (e.g., credit card applications) will not be approved.
    • Student clubs and organizations may collect money via cash or check ONLY.
    • All fundraising plans must be submitted for approval at least three weeks prior to the fundraising activity by completing an Event Planning Form, and include a copy of the Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3) form obtained from that organization.

Solicitations, Donations or In-Kind Contributions

Asking for funds or donations of goods or services either for internal organizational use, activity, or in support of an approved internal or external fundraiser.

The following policy provides a means for recognized student organizations to occasionally solicit funds or contributions (in contrast with conducting a fundraising activity or event) from students, faculty/staff, alumni, individuals who are not alumni, parents, corporations, and/or foundations, for the student organization’s internal use directly related to its stated purposes, for an approved campus event, or in support of an approved internal fundraiser.

In addition to the guidelines delineated in this handbook for Internal Fundraisers, requests for solicitation of monies by recognized student clubs/organizations may be considered for approval by Student Engagement provided they meet at least the following requirements:

  • The net proceeds of the fundraiser are to be dedicated only to funding the organization’s activities that comport with the organization’s stated purpose(s), or for a previously approved campus project.
  • No solicitations will be made or given for the benefit of another tax-exempt charitable, educational, or religious off-campus organization; or any commercial or political organizations or activities; or unorganized
    public or private groups irrespective of their avowed aims or purposes.
  • Funds requested are to be derived from voluntary contributions specifically made to meet the purposes of the approved solicitation.
  • Solicitation of a student clubs/organization’s own members does not require approval from Student Engagement. Solicitations of any person or entity other than a student organization member (e.g. faculty/staff, alumni, individuals who are not alumni, parents, corporations, foundations) require review and approval from Student Engagement, in consultation with University Advancement as appropriate.
  • All plans for fundraising must be submitted for approval at least three weeks prior to the fundraising activity by completing an Event Planning Form.
  • Solicitations or in-kind contributions (e.g., donations of gift certificates, products or services) must also comply with this policy.

Auction Guidelines

At the event/auction, each bid sheet/program and signage must provide the total fair market value of the items. In order to provide an opportunity to prospective bidders to claim a deduction, bidders must know the fair market value (FMV) of each auction item.

Bidders will be able to claim a charitable donation for the amount paid in excess of the FMV, provided the bidder knew the FMV in advance of the auction. PLU will provide a receipt reflecting this net deductible amount.

There can be no listing of an item as “priceless,” unless there is no desire or intent to provide the winning bidder with a possible tax-deduction. In such a case, the winning bid establishes the value and, thus, the bidder receives something of equal value for their payment. Please make all efforts to identify the FMV of auction items. Prior similar auctions and eBay are good sources of values.

Please DO NOT tie a raffle or door prizes to auction events. The IRS considers these games of chance. Therefore, any admission price or purchase that qualifies an attendance for such a game of chance disqualifies any portion of that fee for a deduction.

Items contributed for an auction may be tax-deductible. There are two underlying rules:

  1. The item must be a gift in the eyes of the IRS. This excludes contributions recognized as either a service or partial interest. Examples of non-deductible services include free massages, legal advice, tax preparation, etc. Partial interest gifts include the use of a vacation home, free rounds of golf, free airline tickets, or stays at a hotel.
  2. The item must actually sell at the auction. Therefore, we do not provide receipts for donated items until after the conclusion of the auction. Those receipts will describe, without indicating value, what was given.

Donated auction items fall under the IRS definition for unrelated use property. Any contributed property not put into service by PLU falls under this category. A related use gift would be a piece of medical equipment donated to the School
of Nursing. Converting contributed items is a good way to generate more resources for PLU, but the law requires a reduction in a donor’s deduction for unrelated use property. Advancement Officers need to advise donors when soliciting auction items of the unrelated aspect of their donation.

Advancement Officers/University Representatives must advise donors of items estimated to be worth $500+ of the possible need for them to file IRS Form 8283 with their itemized tax return. They should be encouraged to seek tax
guidance and, if required, obtain a copy of the latest version of this form, complete their required portion, and deliver to PLU’s Division of Advancement for signature and return.

Advancement Officers/University Representatives must advise donors of items estimated to be worth $5,000+ of their possible requirement to obtain the signature of qualified appraiser on their 8283, prior to the delivery of the 8283 to the Division of Advancement for signature. The donors should also be informed of PLU’s requirement to file Form 8282 with the IRS whenever we sell donated property of $5,000+ within three years of donation, this will likely be true for donated auction items. Advancement Officers/University Representatives must notify PLU’s Advancement Division when such
events occur.

Last Modified: July 31, 2019 at 9:03 am