Gift Accounts

Student clubs and organizations may receive support from alumni and private contributors as well as corporate donations. Most Pacific Lutheran University student clubs and organizations are not incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations and are therefore unable to accept tax-deductible contributions, some student clubs and organizations may wish to open a Gift Account with the University. By opening a Gift Account and depositing donor contributions directly into this account, Pacific Lutheran University accepts tax-deductible contributions from donors on behalf of the student club or organization. The donor receives an acknowledgement of the receipt of the gift from the University’s Division of Advancement.

Clubs & Orgs associated with outside non-profit organizations may not open open a Gift Account through the University nor may they donate funds from their existing general club account. If clubs wish to donate to a parent or other organization which is unaffiliated with the University, they must do so via cash or money order.

In order to establish a gift account, student clubs/organizations must demonstrate a foreseeable long-term contribution to the University community and a need for such an account. To begin the process, an organization completes the Fundraising and Gift Account Request form. Once completed, the form is submitted along with a current organization budget, solicitation/donor letter (if fundraising), and any other relevant supporting documents the organization wishes to include. When physically utilizing the gift account for fundraising, an Event Planning Form must be submitted that highlights the type of activity that will take place along with other event logistics (date(s), etc.). All documents should be submitted via email to  Student Engagement. Once the documents are reviewed, a meeting will be scheduled with the student club/organization leaders to review the request.

If approved for a gift account, student clubs/organizations must submit an initial deposit in order to establish the fund. Once the fund is established, student club/organization leaders can monitor balances and make requests for withdrawals and deposits by contacting Aryn at the email above.

The process for requesting gift accounts involves several steps and offices throughout the University. Student club/organization leaders should allow at least 4-6 weeks for the fund to be fully established and ready to receive donations.

In order to establish a gift account with the University, you must first receive permission from Student Engagement. Once approved, you must bring your first donation check in person to Student Engagement for processing. This first gift will be used to establish the gift account and all subsequent gifts will be placed into this new account. Each account has a number and will be given to the officers of the club or organization. This account number needs to be referred to when making requests for withdrawal. The University will consider requests to establish a gift account for those clubs and organizations on a case-by-case basis. For information about how to make a gift account deposit, please see the Clubs and Organizations website.

Gift Account Policies

Donations are being made to Pacific Lutheran University for your student club or organization and therefore Pacific Lutheran University has the fiduciary responsibility for those gifts on behalf of your club/organization. Acting for Pacific Lutheran University, the Director for Student Engagement must approve all expenses made with these funds to confirm that gifts are spent for appropriate expenses. All receipts and invoices should be kept, as these may be required for IRS auditors.

It is important for student clubs/organizations to allow plenty of time for a check to be cut from these accounts once your request for funds is made. Typical processing from the time funds are requested to the time a check is ready may take three weeks. There are periods of the University’s fiscal year when processing may take longer. Please plan ahead. For information about how to make a gift account withdrawal, please see the Clubs and Organizations website.


Due to the tax-deductible nature of gift accounts, withdrawal requests must be approved. Requests should include an itemized explanation of how requested funds will be spent or, receipts if the withdrawal is being requested to provide reimbursements. For example, if the funds are being used for student organization travel, the request should include travel dates, number of travelers, and cost per ticket.

Requests will be processed within one week and can take up to three weeks for the Business Office to produce the check. The check will be delivered directly to the Office for Student Engagement and the requestor will be notified once it is ready for pick up. Student club/organization leaders should submit requests promptly to ensure necessary funds are received in time. Checks must be picked up and deposited into the organization’s account within 30 days.

All withdrawals must be processed in through the Office for Student Engagement. Only club/organization leadership can request withdrawals. To submit a request, submit the Gift Account Withdrawal Form found on the Clubs/Organizations website under Documents and Forms.


Donations can be received via check or online credit card donations. For credit card donation instructions please view the section below. All donations should be acknowledged within two (2) days of receiving them and should always be processed within the calendar year of the date on the check. Please go to to complete the form. If a year-end receipt is needed for tax purposes, the Division of Advancement will need verification that the donation came in before December 31st including a postmark on an envelope or in hand delivery of the donations.

Donations Checks Must

Be made payable to “Pacific Lutheran University” with the student club/organization’s name in the memo line of the check. Terms or a brief description of the gift purpose should also be included.

The check should be delivered to the Division of Advancement.

Include the complete address of the donor. If the check only includes the name (the [Donor] Family Foundation), include a letter accompanying each check with the full name and address of each donor. A complete address on each check is required so that the Division of Advancement can send a receipt to the donor. Without an address, all gifts will be returned to the student organization without being processed.

If a donor wishes to make a gift to you as well as a matching gift through an employer, both the check and all of the matching gift paperwork must be turned in to the Division of Advancement.

Credit Card Donation Instructions

Visit the PLU online giving form.
Select “Other (please specify in donation comment box)” under Designations.
Include student organization name “Donation Comment” box.
Donors whose employers have matching gift programs, should contact the employer’s personnel or employee benefits office to obtain a matching gift form. Completed forms should be sent to the address below:

Pacific Lutheran University, Division of Advancement, 12180 Park Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98447.

Please be aware that matching gifts can take longer than a direct check to be deposited and may take six to eight weeks to appear, and companies may only allow their matching contribution to go to the PLU Fund.

Gift receipts are sent to all donors by the Division of Advancement as an acknowledgment of their gift and as their tax receipt for the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to this tax receipt provided by PLU, student organizations are encouraged to thank donors directly in a more personal way through a thank you letter or card.

Please remember that sales from advertising or other goods and membership dues are not donations, and should be deposited directly into the organization’s PLU bank account.

In order to accept donations made by credit card, clubs and organizations must have an already established Gift Account and work in conjunction with the Office of Advancement.

Gifts in Kind

Donors wishing to make a gift other than cash (gifts of property, gifts in kind, gifts of stock), should contact the Division of Advancement directly to inquire if the gift is possible. They need to mention the student club/organization and gift account number if possible, so that the club/organization will receive any monetary value of the gift. The Division of Advancement will also send an acknowledgement to the donor for this gift for their tax purposes. The Division of Advancement can be reached at 253-535-7177.

Tax Deductible Contributions

Funds raised and deposited into Gift Accounts must be solicited in compliance with the tax-exempt status of Pacific Lutheran University, furthering the mission of an educational institution. Only contributions and gifts may be deposited into these gift accounts (no sales income, ticket profits, etc). Contributions need to be for activities of the club or organization, and, usually, no goods or services may be provided in exchange for these gifts (subscriptions, tickets, t-shirts, etc). If goods or services are provided to a donor, the donor must be notified of the cost of those services so that he or she may deduct them from the overall total gift for tax deduction purposes. (IRS Publication 526 describes certain membership benefits and tokens that do not affect tax deductibility.)

Please remember that sales from advertising and other goods are not donations and should be deposited directly into your club or organization FOAP account. Membership dues are also not considered gifts, are not tax deductible, and cannot be deposited into Gift Accounts.

If your club or organization is conducting a phone-a-thon, you should not at anytime accept a donor’s credit card number. Rather, you should direct your donor to the Pacific Lutheran University Division of Advancement site at If the donor is having difficulty charging on-line, direct them to contact the Division of Advancement at (253) 535-7177 for assistance. In accordance with University policies and procedures, clubs and organizations should not accept, store, or transact credit card gifts.