Student Organization Fundraising Guidance

Student Organizations fundraise in a variety of ways and for many purposes, but in all cases they should do so with a full awareness of the university’s expectations about student fundraising activities.

Role of University Advancement in Student Organization Fundraising

University Advancement (UA) is responsible for all fundraising activity at WFU. All charitable contributions must be processed through the UA gifts team. UA will deposit all charitable contributions and issue gift receipts for cash contributions and other gift acknowledgements for non-cash contributions. Additionally, UA may offer advice and guidance on:

  • What constitutes as a charitable gift
  • The processing of non-cash contributions
  • Fundraising campaigns

Role of SOFO in Student Organization Fundraising

SOFO assists University Advancement by:

  • Providing a point of contact for student organizations that are holding fundraisers
  • Answering fundraising questions
  • Facilitating the transfer of donated funds and other requirements to UA staff

If SOFO is unable to answer your question, our staff will consult with UA, and sometimes initiate contact between your group and their experts when more detailed discussions are required.

Fundraising Topics

What to do when your group wants to hold a fundraiser
Fundraising Sale Guidelines
Fundraising to Donate to a Charitable Organization or Nonprofit
Accepting “In-Kind” or Non-Monetary Donations
Crowdfunding
Receiving Direct Donations
Are Raffles Allowed?
Hosting Silent Auctions and Date Auctions
Partnering with a Business to Receive a Percentage of Sales
Corporate Sponsorships
Receiving Awards and Grants

What to do when your group wants to hold a fundraiser

1. Register your fundraiser with SOFO.
2. If you have questions about the rules that guide your fundraiser (detailed below) schedule a meeting here.
3. If you are holding a sale, review this information and request the appropriate services from SOFO.


Fundraising Sale Guidelines

Often student groups sell items like t-shirts or cookies, to raise funds for their group activities. The sale of items is not considered to be charitable activity. No gift receipts will be given for such activity. Even so, student groups are expected to abide by a set of guidelines when holding a sale.

The sale guidelines below apply to:

  • Chartered Student Organizations
  • Fraternities/Sororities holding on-campus events
  • Student events or initiatives funded by the Student Activity Fee

Sale Guidelines

  • To accept electronic payments, groups must use the payment solutions provided by SOFO and detailed on this page.*
  • Sale proceeds may not be channeled through the personal accounts (Venmo, PayPal, bank accounts) of students, staff or faculty.
  • If your group is selling items on behalf of a charitable organization, and those items are also available for purchase on the charitable organization’s website, you may promote the items and the organization to other students, but purchasers must order and pay for the items directly from the charitable organization’s website, not through payment methods and accounts provided by WFU.

The proceeds from these types of sales should be deposited into an Agency Fund. If your group needs to establish one, contact SOFO.

*Organizations that are chapters of a national organization must first determine if their national organization provides online payment platforms and/or ticketing services. If not, or if the services provided do not meet the needs of the sale or event, then those organizations must utilize the payment acceptance solutions provided by SOFO.


Fundraising to Make a Monetary Donation to a Charitable Organization or Nonprofit

Depending on the scenario, procedures and guidance will vary:

Scenario One: Your groups holds a sale or puts out a donation jar in order to donate to a charity.
In this scenario, WFU cannot provide receipts to donors.

  1. Deposit all donated funds to your unrestricted (FD1111) 129xxx Cost Center, then request a payment from SOFO to be issued to the charity for the full amount collected. Please do not deposit into a restricted gift (SPxxxx) or endowment (ENxxxx).
  2. The charity will need to be set up in WFU payment system as a “supplier” in order to receive a check. Provide a contact name and email for your charitable organization so we can request any needed information.

Why can’t we deposit the proceeds to our Agency fund?
Because your group collected the money for the purpose of donating it, it cannot be deposited to an Agency Fund, which is not regulated in the same way as a unrestricted (FD1111) Cost Center.

Scenario 2: Your group is soliciting donations for a charitable organization or non-profit that has its own website with a payment platform.
Your group may promote the organization and direct others to its website to make a donation. The charitable organization will be responsible for providing appropriate receipts to donors.


Accepting “In-Kind” or Non-Monetary Donations

Sometimes businesses or alumni agree to donate items to your group, anything from baked goods for a bake sale to a major piece of athletic or electronic equipment. Some in-kind donations must be reported to UA and others do not. The Fair Market Value of the item is how UA determines whether the donor should receive a receipt.

Fair Market Value is defined as the price that the property donated would sell for on the open market. For additional information, please see IRS Publication 561 here.

  • While it is not a requirement, it is standard practice of the University to issue gift confirmation statements for all contributions, including non-cash gifts. For contributions of less than $250 in value, simply provide a detailed description of the item(s) donated and the intended use of such items to SOFO. SOFO will forward this information to UA, who will provide an appropriate gift confirmation to the donor.
  • If the value of the item(s) donated is between $250 and $5,000, your group must report the donation to SOFO, along with the name and address of the donor, what was donated, the date of donation, and the value of the items donated.
  • If the value of the item(s) donated is greater than or equal to $500, the donor must complete the appropriate section of IRS Form 8283 and provide the University with a copy of this form. SOFO will forward this information to UA, who will provide an appropriate gift confirmation to the donor.
  • If the value of the item(s) donated is over $5,000, your group must report the donation to SOFO. The donor must complete the appropriate sections of IRS Form 8283 and provide a qualified, third-party appraisal of the donated item(s). Wake Forest is required to complete a section on the form and return the fully executed form to the donor. SOFO will forward this information to UA, who will provide an appropriate gift confirmation to the donor. If desired, UA will guide your group in the appropriate steps to accept a high-value non-monetary donation.
  • For contributions of automobiles, aircraft, boats and other vehicles, please contact SOFO to request assistance from UA.

Crowdfunding

University Advancement provides student groups with access to a crowdfunding platform called Amplo. It is available to student groups wishing to solicit charitable donations to fund qualifying group activities. To request an Amplo campaign, you must first register your fundraiser, then request and attend a fundraising meeting. SOFO and University Advancement staff will work with your group directly to set up and administer the campaign.

For additional information, please see the Crowdfunding Policy.


Receiving Direct Donations

Donors wishing to make a direct donation to your group can proceed in a variety of ways:

  • By credit card online: Donors should visit the University Giving Page. In the “Gift Information” section at the top of the page, they will specify the amount to be donated, then select “I would like to specify another fund/department” and type in the name of your group before continuing with credit card information.
  • By check: Please make checks payable to “Wake Forest University” and specify the name of the group on the memo line. Checks should be sent to: WFU Gifts, PO Box 7227, Winston Salem, NC 27109. University Advancement will provide your donor with a gift receipt. Should your group receive a check, please bring it to SOFO who will forward it to The Gifts Team in UA. Do not deposit donations at the cashier’s window.
  • Other ways to give through UA are listed on this page.

Direct donations will be deposited to a special account known as a “gift designation” and will be assigned a worktag that indicates your group is the owner of the funds. To spend your gift funds, simply use the text box on any SOFO request form (DB Card request, Payment Request, Reimbursement, etc.) to indicate your group has donated funds available and wishes to spend from them.

In some cases, direct donations can be deposited to your group’s unrestricted (FD1111) 129xxx Cost Center. In this case, the funds must be spent within the current fiscal year.

Parent Donations

Parent donations are no different from other direct donations and must be submitted through UA. However, the donation must benefit the entire group and may not be directed to an individual student.

Collecting Small Cash Donations during Events & Tabling

When your group solicits small cash donations for purposes other than donating to a charity, the funds may be deposited to an Agency Fund. Bring all cash received to SOFO within one business day of receiving the donations. SOFO will take cash contributions to the Gifts Team in UA. Cash donors will not receive a receipt. These types of donations will not go into a gift, and will only be deposited into your Agency Fund.


Are Raffles Allowed?

That depends. Traditionally, a “raffle” is a game of chance in which purchasers exchange money for tickets that are then entered into a drawing for a prize. If this is the type of raffle your group is interested in having, then the answer is no.

The State of North Carolina restricts the number of raffles that may be held by a single tax entity during one calendar year. For tax purposes, Wake Forest University is a single entity. Therefore, it is not possible to allow student organizations to hold raffles at WFU.

But many types of random drawings for prizes are called “raffles” by students.

If your drawing does not involve selling tickets for money, then it is not prohibited. For example, if every contestant who finishes a race will be entered in a drawing to win a special prize, the entry was not the result of a payment being received. This type of drawing is allowed.

If you are not sure if your drawing qualifies as a “raffle” under the law, contact SOFO. We are happy to help.


Silent Auctions and Date Auctions

If your group solicits donations of items and services to be included in a silent auction, the rules above for in-kind donations also apply. To keep things simple, it is best to focus on acquiring items under $250 in value. The donor should determine the value of the item and inform you at the time of the donation.

Some of the rules for Silent Auctions also apply to Date Auctions. See Auction Record-Keeping and Proceeds below.

Donated Items

  • Items donated to a silent auction can be declared by the donor as a charitable contribution. As above, UA will provide an appropriate gift confirmation. Please report these donations to SOFO.
  • If your group receives a silent auction donation of an item or service valued over $250, immediately notify SOFO, as additional steps may need to be taken.
  • If the value of the item(s) donated is greater than or equal to $500, the donor must complete the appropriate section of IRS Form 8283 and provide the University with a copy of this form. SOFO will forward this information to UA, who will provide an appropriate gift confirmation to the donor.
  • If your group receives a silent auction donation of an item valued over $5,000, immediately notify SOFO, as additional steps may need to be taken. The donor must complete the appropriate sections of IRS Form 8283 and provide a qualified, third-party appraisal of the donated item(s). Wake Forest is required to complete a section on the form and return the fully executed form to the donor.

Auction Record-Keeping and Proceeds

  • Your group must maintain an auction spreadsheet including the sale item, its value, sale price and the name of purchaser. Provide a copy to SOFO when turning over your proceeds for deposit.
  • Proceeds from auctions must be provided to SOFO for deposit by UA. Depending on the amount raised, auction proceeds may be deposited to a gift designation, or to your group’s unrestricted (FD1111) 129xxx Cost Center, to be spent within the current fiscal year.

Partnering with a Business to Receive a Percentage of Sales

When your group agrees to promote a restaurant or host a trunk show in order to receive a percentage of the sales, the resulting payment from that business is considered a donation and must be delivered to SOFO for deposit by UA. The proceeds must be deposited into your group’s unrestricted (FD1111) 129xxx Cost Center and spent within the current fiscal year.

Why can’t the check be deposited to an Agency Fund?
Businesses typically donate funds to the university with the understanding that the funds will be used in accordance with the mission of the university. Because Agency Funds are not regulated by the university in the same way that 129xxx Cost Centers are, it is most appropriate to deposit these types of donations into a 129xxx Cost Center.


Corporate Sponsorships

If your group receives a corporate sponsorship, please report it to SOFO. It is likely that University Advancement will then contact you about the details of the sponsorship, to determine if the sponsorship can be considered a donation.

Sponsorship checks must be delivered to SOFO for delivery to UA. Sponsorship funds must be deposited to your group’s unrestricted (FD1111) 129xxx Cost Center and spent in the current fiscal year.

Sometimes, when the sponsorship amount crosses a specific dollar threshold, UA will create a gift designation for the sponsorship money. In this case, the funds may be retained by the group from year to year as long as they are spent in accordance with the terms of the sponsorship.


Receiving Awards and Grants

If your group receives an award or grant from a business, government entity or nonprofit (as opposed to an individual) the group must forward a copy of the award/grant notification to SOFO for delivery to UA. Checks should be brought to SOFO for forwarding to UA when received.