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Fundraising Basics

When Companies Make Requests

Having an established sponsorship package is the best way to respond to companies who express an interest in getting involved with your student group. This provides a ready-made response that will set a precedent and encourage funding the group. It will also mitigate the hassle of negotiating sponsorship terms on an individual basis.

A sponsorship package clearly defining the costs and benefits of support sets expectations and suggests that the student group is organized and aware of their value.

If a company approaches or responds to your student group with sponsorship terms and a document that requires a signature, contact us and a staff advisor (if available). A company should not expect a student to enter into terms on behalf of Northwestern, and the student should never enter into an agreement that cannot be honored by the University.

In-Kind Donations

Many businesses unable to provide monetary support may be willing to assist your organization through donating material goods and services such as beverages, food, plates and cups, door prizes, etc. Treat these donors with the same attention and respect as your cash contributors. All types of donations are important to the success of major campus events.

If you receive an in-kind donation from a company, please report this information using our gift-in-kind form.

Donor Benefits: Ensuring the Gift is Tax-Deductible

IRS regulations surrounding tax deductible donations can be complicated, therefore, be careful about offering donor premiums as an incentive to acquire gifts.

To qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation, gifts must be made payable to Northwestern University and processed through the Gifts and Records Services office. No goods or services can be promised or exchanged for the donation to be considered tax-deductible.

Should your organization wish to offer a benefit or premium in exchange for the donation, the fair market value of the premium must be subtracted from the total amount contributed to arrive at the gifted, or tax-deductible amount. This must also be duly noted in event publicity, gift receipts and thank-you letters. Corporate Engagement is always here to help with these requests. Please reach out if you need assistance.

If you need to know the difference between gifts, sponsorship and advertising, view our understanding funding page.