Student organizations can receive vital financial support from alumni, private contributors, and corporate donations, and many donors express an interest in making tax-deductible gifts. However, since most Harvard College student organizations are not separately incorporated as 501(c)3 charity organizations, funds they receive directly do not qualify as tax-deductible. Instead, a student organization may establish a gift account or endowment fund in order to offer their donors a receipt for their tax-deductible donations.
Student organizations may wish to establish a gift account if they have regular donations/fundraising income and they would like to offer their donors tax deductible donations. A gift account is a Harvard University owned account, meaning the University receives donations on behalf of the organization which allows the donations to be applicable with Harvard’s 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. Donors will receive a gift acknowledgement from the Alumni and Development Services (ADS) office that they may use for tax reporting.
Student organizations earn interest on the money in their Gift Accounts, which is credited to their HUECU bank accounts at the end of the fiscal year in August. Student organizations are not charged a federal tax on their gift funds.
An endowment fund also offers donors tax deductible donations, and is established with a long-term goal of providing yearly income to subsequent members of the student organization. Unlike a gift account, funds are held in perpetuity and only the income generated by investing the gift may be spent.
Organizations should be aware that donors should never expect to receive any benefit in return for contributions to an organization.
The Dean of Students Office will entertain requests to establish gift and endowment funds for student organizations with proven and sustained contributions to the College community, and whose history at the College suggests long-term existence. Rarely will gift or endowment requests be approved for new student organizations. For more information on gift accounts and endowment funds contact the DSO at firstname.lastname@example.org .