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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Sports Clubs Fundraising, Sponsorship and Donations

Alumni Outreach and Fundraising Guidelines

One of the ways that Sport Clubs can increase the funds available to support their activities is through fundraising. As a University Student Organization, your group has limited ability to approach outside entities for contributions to support your activities using the University's not-for-profit, 501-(c)3 status. You can do some fundraising on your own; however, certain fundraising activities require University approval.

The University can work with you to plan your approach and identify groups that you might contact for support. If you would like to pursue outside sources of funding, please talk with your student organization advisor and the Assistant Vice President for Student Life before you approach the prospective donor. We will work with you to ensure that you have the greatest chance of success.

Fundraising Activities That Sport Clubs Can Do On Their Own

  • Sell program ads or ask local businesses for less than $500
  • Ask local businesses to make in-kind donations (food, supplies, etc.)
  • Sell items in the Reynolds Club Marketplace or Bartlett Lobby

If your group is going to fundraise in this way, please:

  • Contact your group advisor for advice on how to approach the companies and a list of contact information for local businesses.
  • Offer local businesses public recognition in exchange for their donation. Companies are more likely to make a gift if they receive recognition on posters, in programs, etc.
  • If the company wants the gift to be officially acknowledged by the University for tax purposes then you must deposit the gift through ORCSA's Financial Operations area (Reynolds Club 006).
  • We strongly urge you to send a thank you letter to the business that provides you support. A thank you letter can go a long way to encourage the business to donate in the future.

Fundraising Activities That Require University Approval
A few groups may also want to spend more time and effort to:

  • Contact your group's alumni, friends, and parents and ask them for support
  • Ask a company to for sponsorship over $500
  • Apply for grants from foundations

We Can Help
Your student organization advisor and the Assistant Vice President for Student Life can help you with these fundraising efforts. Working closely with the University's Development Office, Alumni Association, and the College, the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Life can:

  • Meet with you to discuss your fundraising goals and possible sources of donations
  • Provide required approval for the project and permission to reach out to possible donors
  • Connect your group to resource guides which list foundation and corporation funding sources, provide information on the types of projects they fund and sample letters and proposals
  • Ensure that gifts to your organization are processed correctly so that the donor receives a University of Chicago receipt for tax purposes

Detailed Fundraising Guidelines

Fundraising activities require that you work closely with the University. We can provide a number of resources that will help make your efforts more successful. These activities take a great deal of planning and work. The Assistant Vice President for Student Life would be happy to meet with you and your student group advisor to discuss your project and the fundraising possibilities.

Some questions you want to answer before you consider conducting fundraising activities include:

  • Are the purposes of your organization and your fundraising goals clearly articulated?
  • By when do you need to raise the money? At a minimum, fundraising activities take three months and often longer.
  • Have you fully tapped available University resources? Outside entities are usually only interested in funding projects that can't be funded by the University.
  • Do you have time as an organization to do the follow-up that is required from fundraising (e.g. thank you letters, required final grant reports, and follow-up reports to donors on your accomplishments)?

Fundraising Efforts from Alumni, Parents, and Friends

  • All fundraising approaches to alumni, parents, and friends of the University must be approved by the Development Office of the University through the Assistant Vice President for Student Life – whatever the amount.
  • The Alumni Association can help provide organization alumni lists with current contact information through our alumni database.
  • The Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Life and the University Development Office can work with you to develop effective content for your mailings and solicitations and can provide mailing lists and labels.
  • The timing of the mailings must be coordinated with other University mailings so that alumni do not receive multiple mailings at the same time. If you are interested in sending a mailing, please work with your student organization adviser and the Assistant Vice President for Student Life to develop a schedule that fits in with other University mailings.
  • On occasion we will ask you not to contact certain alumni because of their engagement with other University efforts or because they have requested that we limit the communication they receive from the University.
  • All gifts (solicited and unsolicited) must be processed by ORCSA's Financial Operations area so that they receive appropriate tax receipts and are tracked in the development database system.

Fundraising Efforts with Corporations and Foundations

  • Solicitations of all foundations, of all non-local companies, and of local companies for more than $500 must be approved and cleared by the University Development Office through the Assistant Vice President for Student Life. In general, you will need at least six months to solicit this type of support.
  • The Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Life and the University's Development Office can provide foundation and corporation giving resource guides to help to develop a prospective donors list.
  • When creating a prospective donors list, you should consider the implication, if any, of having your organization and the University affiliated with the corporation / foundation that you would like to solicit.
  • Once your prospective donors list has been approved by the University Development Office through the Assistant Vice President for Student Life, we will work with you and your student organization advisor to contact the company or foundation and write any necessary letters of intent and proposals.
  • If receiving support from an organization that would like to publicize its gift in the media please be sure to coordinate with your student organization advisor.