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Off-Campus Fundraising Policy

University policy governs all off-campus fundraising activities. Student organizations must receive prior university approval prior to any and all solicitations.


University policy governs all fundraising activities for cash, goods or services done by departments and student groups targeting off-campus entities including local businesses, corporations, foundations or individuals. Off-campus fundraising activities by any Stanford entity including student organizations is restricted and requires prior university approval from the Office of Development, with preliminary approval from Office of Student Engagement. The university has such policies in order to coordinate fundraising efforts and to ensure good stewardship.

Before seeking off-campus funding, you are expected to first exhaust on-campus sources. On-campus fundraising is easier, faster, and engages the university community. For those who also wish to fundraise off-campus, the following guidelines apply.  

Crowd sourcing activities do not meet university policy and are not permitted.


Funding Source Notes Max Yearly Amount Approval
Local Businesses
  • Donations from locally owned or franchised businesses such as Mike’s Bikes, Hobee's or Jamba Juice (local corporations, e.g.. Google, excluded).
  • One $2,000 per local business per year.
  • University receipts cannot be provided.
  • Monies to be directly deposited into your ASSU account.
  • Typically the easiest way to raise funds off-campus.
 $2,000 None needed.
  • One $ 3,000 donation per corporation, per year.
  • Solicitation must be for annual support of student org programming, not for a specific event.
  • Request to be submitted to OSE for review of program plan, then to Development for review and approval of donor.
  • 6-8  weeks required for review and approval provided you have a well-developed plan, budget and fundraising targets. If not, review and approval can take 8 to 12 weeks.
  • All checks deposited to Development. Transfers from Development are done monthly and usually take six weeks to be transferred to your account once approval is given.

Approval required prior to any contact.

Parent Organizations
  • Groups that are chapters of national organizations or religious groups affiliated with a local church may receive donations directly to their ASSU account. 
 $3,000 Approval required prior to any contact. Connect with your OSE advisor to review.
Foundations & Governmental Agencies
  • Most foundation and governmental agencies are reserved for key academic programs and cannot be approved.  Any request that requires broad university sponsorship and a PI (principal investigator or reporting party) can only be submitted by an academic department or university office - -and requires final approval by the Office Sponsored Research. Non-profits that routinely provide funding to campus student organizations can be considered if they do not require a PI and view their gift as a general charitable contribution.
  On occasion, with adequate notice and prior approval.
Individuals (parents, alumni, friends and current students)
  • The Office of Development restricts most access to alumni and friends although the Stanford Fund Partnership does provide $500,000 per year to student groups from alumni fundraising. Remember, we don't want individual students using their own money to fund events. Instead seek advice from OSE.
  Only in rare cases.

Student Organization Expectations

Your student group must:

  • Be a currently recognized student group in good standing with the university.
  • Have a successful history at Stanford, including sound financial management.
  • Be capable of successfully executing the fundraising effort by demonstrating good pre-planning, organization and adequate lead-time prior to planned event or activity.
  • Have previously exhausted funding from on-campus sources.
  • Have refrained from approaching possible sources until university approval has been granted.
  • Promote this activity as a charitable donation and activity and not a business relationship.  Students charged with this responsibility should not be described as leads for Business Development, Corporate Development or other similar titles since Stanford is a non-profit entity. Instead Sponsorship lead is a more appropriate title.


  • Graduate groups directly affiliated with their professional schools are prohibited from conducting off-campus fundraising activities except for programs that actively support the educational mission of their schools, involve their faculty where appropriate and are targeted primarily to the students in their professional school. In these circumstances, the Dean or the Dean’s designee may grant an exception provided that all relevant policies regarding event planning and financial management are followed. 
  • Newly recognized groups are not permitted to raise funds from off-campus sources during their first-year.

The proposed activities and programming plan must:

  • Be student-led and represent the initiative of students acting independently of off-campus entities.
  • Follow event planning policies and all other requirements of student activities.
  • Have a detailed, realistic and frugal budget with estimates of all income and expense projections.
  • Meet general reimbursement criteria, see below.

The fundraising effort must:

  • Be targeted toward corporations related to the group.
  • Have a specific and reasonable timeline.
  • Are clear charitable donations that do not require written agreements or contracts. Written agreements will not be considered, except under rare circumstances such a signficant gift, involving a long-term relationshis that is not characterized as commercial activity.  Any such agreement requires active consultation with OSE prior to any request.
  • Include a contingency plan if efforts not be as successful as expected.
  • Be approved before solicitations occur.

Reimbursable Expenses

It is a privilege to raise funds from off-campus sources.  All funds raised must be used to directly enhance educational activities for Stanford students, be stewarded well and meet university guidelines for reasonable expenses.

Acceptable expenses include

  • Event planning expenses including technical services, on-campus room fees, custodial and security expenses, honoraria, modest event supplies and advertising.
  • Reimbursable food and beverage costs are not intended for meetings or individual coffee or lunch dates.  Fundable requests include special one-time events provided the costs are reasonable and generally within ASSU funding guidelines.  These include  a fall welcome/orientation, a year-end recogntion event, up to two banquets that have a strong educational component with speaker,  community service events. faculty lunches open to all members, speaker series open to all students, conferences and hackathons. Food and beverage expenses for invited speaker should not exceed the university's per diem rate.
  • Invited speaker gifts or "end-of-the-year" member gifts should be no more than $50. Member gifts should not exceed more than one gift per year.
  • Retreats that have a clear educational component involving expenses with a thoughtfully planned educational program are reimbursable provided food and beverages guidelines are followed up to a maximum of $ 25 per person.
  • Reasonable domestic travel expenses for plane, car rental, hotel and modest meals for attendance at a structured educational conference or a competition. Expenses for nearby travel to local companies or nonprofits are also acceptable. Such expenses are designed for Stanford students traveling away from campus and for a limited number of students from other colleges coming to Stanford for an approved university program. Funding the full travel costs of conference particants is not the best use of off-campus fundraising dollars, instead we suggest offering a limited number of scholarships based on financial need or other compelling criteria.  In all cases, funding priority is for Stanford students.

Unacceptable expenses include

  • Alcohol, except for a party that has been pre-approved by OAPE, follows all university policies and included in the initial fundraising proposal.
  • Gifts of more than $50, see other guidelines above.
  • T-shirts or other similar clothing apparel more than $40 per student member, per year.
  • International travel.
  • Other than educational retreats, off-campus events will not be funded nor reimbursed.
  • Solicitations of sources for direct funding of third party entities such as charities. The university does not permit "pass-throughs", soliciting funds for a non-Stanford entity in the name of Stanford.

Note: The university will audit an organization's account statement from time to time. Failure to follow funding and reimbursement guidelines could result in loss of external fundraising privileges as well as loss of access to the Stanford Fund Partnership Program.

To Apply