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It's Time to Transition Leaders

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The deadline to request off-campus fundraising approval for the 2024-2025 academic year has been extended to Monday, June 17, 2024.

Golden Gate Bridge with SF in the distance. Credit: @f11photo, via Freepik

Off-Campus Fundraising Guidelines

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University policy governs all off-campus fundraising activities. Student organizations must receive prior university approval prior to soliciting corporations. Approval must be requested in Spring Quarter to fundraise for the next academic year. See the corporate fundraising timeline and approval steps for more information. Orgs interested in fundraising off-campus must consult with OSE prior to Spring quarter to receive proper guidance.

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Pour painting. Credit: @freepik

Overview

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. Corporate fundraising by any Stanford entity, including student organizations, is restricted and requires university approval from the Office of Development, with preliminary approval from the 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 explore 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.

Fundraising Guidelines

Funding Source Notes Max Yearly Amount Approval
Local Businesses
  • Donations from locally owned or franchised businesses such as Mike’s Bikes, Safeway, 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 deposited directly into your ASSU account.
  • Typically the easiest way to raise funds off-campus.
 $2,000 None needed.
Corporations
  • One $3,000 donation per corporation, per year.
  • Approval must be requested in Spring Quarter to fundraise for the next academic year. Consult with OSE prior to Spring.
  • Officer elections must occur in Winter quarter. Newly elected leadership must attend a synchronous training held in April of Spring quarter.
  • Solicitation must be in support of student org's annual programming, not for a specific activity or event.
  • Submit fundraising proposal to OSE and Office of Development for approval by the deadline (see checklist).
  • All gifts are processed by Development. Transfers from Development are done monthly and usually take six weeks to be transferred to your ASSU account.
  • Long-standing groups with extra-large budgets who have additional oversight are given an exception to fundraise above the limit with prior approval.
 $3,000

Approval required prior to any contact. See checklist.

Parent Organizations
  • Groups that are chapters of national organizations or religious groups affiliated with a local church may deposit 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.
  Not permitted.
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.
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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. Consult with OSE prior to Spring quarter for proper guidance.
  • Have previously explored 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 not a business relationship. Fundraising efforts must be in line with the university’s mission and dedication to education and research.
  • Be good stewards and responsible for ensuring resources are used efficiently by your organization to fulfill its mission.

Exclusions 

  • Graduate groups directly affiliated with their professional schools must consult with the professional school’s Office of Development.
  • Newly recognized groups are not permitted to raise funds from off-campus sources during their first-year. Contact an OSE advisor for initial guidance if your group is interested in future fundraising.

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.
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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

  • 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 individual coffee or lunch dates.  Fundable requests include special events provided the costs are reasonable. The allowable food and beverage maximum amount is $ 25 per person, per meal.
    • Event examples: fall welcomes/orientations, year-end recognition events, banquets that have a strong educational component, community service events. faculty lunches open to all members, speaker series open to all students, conferences, hackathons, and educational retreats.
  • Moderately priced retreats that have a clear educational component involving expenses with a thoughtfully planned educational program are reimbursable.
  • Invited speaker gifts or member gifts should cost no more than $50 total.
  • Reasonable travel expenses for plane, car rental, hotel and modest meals for attendance at a structured educational conference or competition. Expenses to visit nearby 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 visiting Stanford for an approved university program. Funding the full travel costs of conference participants 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.
  • The majority of funds raised must be used to support the organization’s operations. A fraction of funds can be used for prize money in proportion to the scale of the event. Donors cannot fund specific event prizes, however, they can donate to your org and part of the funding can be used toward prizes.

Unacceptable expenses

  • Alcohol, except for a party that has been pre-approved by OAPE and follows all university policies.
  • Gifts or member giveaways of more than $50.
  • Domestic or international travel that has not been approved by OSE.
  • 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.
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See