Student Fundraising


The college supports and encourages efforts to raise funds for approved annual mission/service projects and student fundraising activities, particularly from friends, family, and your home church. You will receive specific instruction and guidance from your director or coordinator.

Additionally, you may need to work with the office of college advancement (OCA). This department is responsible for seeing that constituents are treated appropriately, year and after, while overseeing solicitations and ensuring donors get receipts in a timely manner, are thanked, and receive updates on what their funds are accomplishing.

Office of College Advancement

The Office of College Advancement (OCA) raises funds for the operational, capital, and endowment priorities of Westmont in order to ensure Westmont remains and grows as a quality institution and experience for students. OCA’s responsibility is to manage the relationship between the college and its donors. All student fundraising efforts approved by OCA operate under Westmont, and by virtue of that relationship and the processing of gifts through Westmont, are able to offer tax benefits to their donors. OCA’s involvement in the solicitation process is threefold:

Donor Relations

Once a person donates to the college, they are on the path of giving. Some may continue to give only to a particular project (e.g. Potter’s Clay), while others may expand their support to other areas. It is the role of OCA to properly attend to all giving interests of the donors, to appropriately acknowledge all gifts in a timely manner, and to prevent the inundation of multiple requests. For example, to help eliminate multiple solicitations, OCA and annual mission/service project directors jointly develop and mail an annual brochure highlighting each project, its needs, and prayer requests to local churches, staff and faculty, current parents, and alumni as a primary solicitation effort. Students are permitted to send letters only to personal friends and family asking for additional support of their specific project.

Preserving Non-Profit Status

Westmont’s designation as a non-profit educational institution allows donors to claim charitable deductions on their tax returns provided that the college abides by IRS regulations. Our failure to abide by these regulations would jeopardize our tax-exempt status. Losing this status would have devastating consequences for our donors and, ultimately, for the college.

Approval of Language and Response

When a group fundraises under the college umbrella, an individual receiving the solicitation from a student group does not differentiate between that request and other Westmont solicitations; they seem the same. We therefore must be concerned with the content, appearance, timeliness, and accuracy of what goes to our donors. The program director or coordinator should first review all fundraising components including:

  • Solicitation letter
  • Donor reply card
  • Follow-up correspondence

The program director or coordinator reserves the right to submit fundraising materials to OCA for final review and approval.

Student FAQs

Other common questions

Is my group approved to fundraise?

Ministries and student fundraising activities must receive approval from the departments listed below. To conduct fundraising associated with Westmont, choose the area that best fits your project and contact the director of the department.

Make sure that you have institutional approval to pursue significant fundraising related to the college. The college will not process checks for unapproved groups. Even if you are an approved group under a student-led organization such as WCSA or WAC, receiving funds from their budget, if your goal is to raise a significant amount of funds (more than $500), you will need to be approved by the college. Even established ministry groups are typically asked to renew their group’s statement of purpose and other items each year to their staff coordinator, to be deemed approved for the current year.

  • Student service, missions or campus activities : Campus Life Office
    • Reviews, approves and oversees budgets for student organizations that involve service, missions and campus activities. These include intercultural service projects, including but not limited to Potter’s Clay, Spring Break in the City and Summer Mission Trips (Emmaus Road). Clubs and ministries are not currently permitted to fundraise except through the process determined by the Campus Life Office.
  • Intercultural teams: Office of Intercultural Programs
    • Reviews, approves and administers budget for the Racial Equality & Justice student service project and intercultural organizations (Asia Student Association, BSU, etc.)
  • Projects not clearly intercultural or student service or approved projects that require extra-ordinary fundraising: Donor Relations Office

Bake sale or similar fundraiser

Bake sales do not typically involve an official non-profit receipt (which would be used for tax-deductions). You can work directly with Student Life to organize this.


While Westmont approves raffles as a means to fundraise, state of California regulations (California Penal Code 320.5(H)(8)) must be adhered to:

  • Tickets must be sold with a detachable coupon or stub both bearing unique, matching identifier.
  • The winner of prizes must be determined by draw from among coupons or stubs that have been detached.
  • The draw must be conducted under the supervision of someone 18 years or older.
  • At least 90% of gross receipts the raffle generates must be used to benefit or provide support for beneficial or charitable purposes or to benefit or provide support to another eligible organization.
  • No funds generated from the raffle can be used to support charitable or beneficial purposes outside of California.

Restrictions on the means of conducting the raffle include refraining from the use of the Internet to conduct any portion of the raffle sales or the drawing.  Additionally, those using this means of charitable solicitation should understand that the 90% rule means that fundraisers may use no more than 10% of raffle proceeds toward the cost of conducting the raffle.  Further, under no circumstances may fundraisers use raffle proceeds to support charitable activities outside of California.

The amount paid to enter contests of this sort are not tax-deductible charitable donations and individuals collecting winnings from a raffle must count the value of those winnings as income.  The college will issue winners IRS Form 1099 for miscellaneous income.

Students wishing to fundraise using a raffle should contact Angela D'Amour, Director of Campus Life x 7089, or Dan Thomas, Assistant Vice President of Advancement at x 6851.

Silent auction

If your approved group is planning a silent auction that will depend on donations from any local businesses, contact Dan Thomas.

Fundraising letters

For approved groups, the bulk of your fundraising will be from family, friends and your home church. Your staff coordinator will help to ensure that your letters contain important language related to their tax-deductible gift.

Solicit alumni

OCA will not provide lists of Westmont’s alumni and/or donors. Aside from personal contacts, students (individuals or groups) may not contact alumni / donors independently to solicit them, whether the contact is by email, phone call, letter, etc.

Solicit local businesses

Approved fundraising groups should contact Dan Thomas well in advance of any contact with local businesses, bringing a list of potential businesses to solicit. This office coordinates your list with that of other student groups, as well as the college’s overall relationship with the business — so your list will undergo review and recommendations (including recommendation not to solicit when needed).

Solicit for supplies

For groups approved to solicit, any “gifts-in-kind” received, that is, a noncash donation such as lumber, gift certificates, or other supplies, involves documentation. The college must have information about these gifts in order to issue donor receipts and give recognition.

Solicit local churches

While students are encouraged to turn primarily to their home church for support, students groups may ask their local church family for funds. For approved fundraising groups, you are encouraged to ensure that only one appeal is sent per team as many students attend local churches. In addition, one appeal is sent annually to local churches on behalf of current student service/mission projects.

Developing solicitation materials

Students leading first-time service projects should contact the director of annual giving for assistance with the solicitation letter, donor reply card, and return envelope. General guidelines for all solicitation materials include the following:

  • Alert donors that checks must be made payable to Westmont College. Designation (not student fundraiser’s name) can go in memo line.
  • Ensure that the donor response card includes an opt-out option to the effect of, “Please do not add my name to Westmont’s mailing list.”
  • Avoid using phrases that could be incorrectly interpreted as known support groups of the college, i.e. Friends of Westmont, Warrior Sports, etc.

Processing gifts

  • Once a group is approved, the approving program director or coordinator sets up a gift account with OCA for handling funds raised.
  • All gifts must be processed through OCA (not deposited directly through the business office). If, for any reason, a student ministry office receives a check, it must be delivered to OCA on the day it is received (in the postmarked envelope if there is one).
  • OCA is solely responsible for generating and mailing receipts for donations. A standard thank-you insert is mailed with all receipts.
  • All funds raised and spent by the student group must be accounted for through the college business office in accordance with the Fiscal Accountability Policy.
  • During the fundraising period, the program director or coordinator will work with OCA to receive a weekly report for student fundraisers that includes the amount of money raised that week and total raised to-date.

Thanking donors

  • The program director or coordinator can request that OCA return all response cards so the student fundraiser may write thank you notes shortly after the gifts are received.
  • Students send a follow up letter to all donors when the event is over to explain how their gift helped ensure the project’s success. Students should consider including a return envelope with each letter that would enable the donor to make another gift if they so choose.
  • To facilitate the follow-up mailing, the program director or coordinator can work with OCA to generate a mail merge list of donors.
  • An “annual report” or “thank you” piece may be sent to donors as a follow up, at the discretion of the Annual Giving and Student Life offices.

How should the donor write a check?

Make checks out to “Westmont College”, (as the tax-exempt nonprofit), designation (“Potter’s Clay”) noted in the memo line.

Can donors give online?

Your supporters can give online using the online donation form. They can fill in the team name they wish to support.

Are gifts to Westmont tax-deductible?

Westmont is a not for profit, and gifts are fully tax-deductible as allowed by law. Donors should consult their tax advisor.

What happens to donor funds if my group (student ministry team, for example) has been fully funded?

Generally, if the team is fully funded, the gifts will go to current unfunded teams. Each mailing should include language that notifies the donor about what will happen to additional funds that year.

Will donors be added to Westmont mailings?

Westmont will assume that friends do not wish to receive college publications. The letters sent from students should always give an “opt-in” option only. If the college makes an error and sends unwanted publications, direct them to notify Dan Thomas to correct the error. Westmont never shares its mailing lists and puts the highest value on donor confidentiality.

Will your fundraising effort require receipt?

For approved activities, fundraising efforts will fall into two broad categories:

  • Those not requiring receipts for donors (bake sales, etc.) – contact Angela D'Amour, Campus Life Office
  • Those requiring receipts for donors (checks sent in response to letters, etc.) – contact Dan Thomas . When goods or services are exchanged for money, as in a bake sale, donors do not receive a receipt from the college for tax purposes. However, any time a donor makes a charitable gift to Westmont their gift will be receipted, thereby involving OCA in the fundraising process. If a student is unsure as to whether or not a gift is “charitable” they may contact Dan Thomas for clarification.

For Help or other questions

Questions related to fundraising topics (whether or not listed above), direct to: Dan Thomasi, Assistant Vice President of Advancement at or ext. 6261.

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Message from the President

President Gayle BeebeYour investment in Westmont helps us accomplish our distinctive mission as a rigorous undergraduate, liberal arts college with a deep Christian commitment where students live in a close residential community and develop a broad global perspective.

The genius of Westmont lies in connecting these five essential characteristics in a unique educational experience that transforms young men and women into leaders inspired to change the world for Jesus Christ.

Students grow deeper in all areas of their lives -- intellectual, spiritual and personal -- while they develop their talents, discover their calling and prepare for a lifetime of service meeting the great, pressing needs of our time.

Gayle Beebe