Frequently Asked Questions
This section provides answers to frequently asked questions about the WSU Foundation and making private gifts and contributions to support Washington State University. If you have a specific question not addressed here, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I make a gift?
- Credit or Debit Card. You can mail in your credit or debit card number with gift information, or make a credit card gift online.
- Phone. Every year our Call-A-Coug student callers conduct a series of important telephone campaigns to raise funds for college and departmental needs and for other special projects. You may pledge your support when a student calls during one of these campaigns. Or, if you'd like to contact the Foundation by phone to arrange a gift, you can reach us at 800-448-2978.
- Stock. Gifts of marketable stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares that have appreciated (increased in value) can have an immediate impact on the WSU programs you wish to supportand also create an immediate income tax deduction for you based on the stock's current value.
- Charitable bequests, life income gifts, real estate, life insurance, charitable lead trust, retirement plan assets, personal property. For information on these giving opportunities, see our gift planning section.
How do I make a gift online?
The first step is to select the area you would most like to support. On the first page of the WSU Foundation's online giving site you will see a short listing of WSU's top University-wide funding priorities. You may select one of these or choose the last option, which reads "Search for fund by college, keyword, or program."
Once you select a fund to support, you will be sent to a page with that fund's name at the top and you will be prompted to fill in the gift amount.
Once you have filled in a gift amount and clicked "add to gift list", you'll be asked to verify the fund name and dollar amount. You can continue looking at other giving options at this point, adding or deleting funds on this screen. Once you are satisfied that the details of your gift are accurate, select a payment method (credit card, electronic funds transfer, or pledge) and click "Continue." Complete the short payment form to complete your transaction.
When you completed your transactions and submitted the payment form, the information will be securely encoded and sent to WSU's controller's office for processing. You will receive an email confirmation of your gift or pledge. A printed receipt of your gift will be mailed to you for your future reference or tax purposes.
What if I want to make a gift but do not see a fund that fits my wishes?
If the department or college where you'd like your gift to be made is not listed, contact a WSU Foundation representative or call 800-448-2978. We'll work with you to determine the best way to proceed.
To whom do I write my check?
Washington State University Foundation
Where do I send my check?
PO Box 641927
Pullman, WA 99164-1927
How do I participate in a matching gift program?
Many employers will match their employees' gifts to Washington State University. Some employers will even match the gifts of retired employees, spouses, parents, and even gifts from their board of directors. All matched funds will be designated to the area to which you originally contributed your gift. To find out if your employer participates in a gift matching program, please visit our matching gift website or contact WSU Foundation Advancement Services at 509-335-1686.
I'm not comfortable giving online. Is it really safe?
When you select an amount to give, you'll notice a padlock icon appears at the bottom of the screen. This means the information sent is encrypted in code recognizable only by our server. WSU subscribes to VeriSign encrypted technology, a recognized leader in online security. Your information including credit card, name, gift amount and designation will all be completely secure and confidential.
What are my rights as a donor to WSU?
The WSU Foundation adheres to the Donor Bill of Rights developed by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the American Association of fundraising Counsel, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, and the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. The purpose of the policy is to "assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support."
How do I direct my gift to a WSU college, campus, or program of my choice?
You may select from any of the areas on the Colleges and Programs page.
Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes, to the extent allowable by law. You must claim the gift as an itemized deduction on your tax return.
The WSU Foundation is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is structurally separate from Washington State University and exists solely for WSU's benefit, serving as the preferred channel for private gifts to all areas of the University.
The WSU Foundation's taxpayer identification number is 91-1075542.
What credit cards do you accept?
We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.
How does the Foundation match online donations with its donor records?
The Foundation's gift accounting department carefully analyzes each online gift to verify whether the donor is a graduate, long-time supporter, and or a new donor to the site. Staff members review name and address information (residence and business), graduation dates, and any other comments associated with the gift to correctly match the online donation with the correct donor.
Will I receive a receipt for my gift?
After you make a gift online, you will receive an email from the Foundation confirming your gift. Approximately one to two weeks after making your gift, you will be mailed a tax receipt from the Foundation.
Can I make a memorial or honorary gift online?
Yes. After you've chosen the area you'd like to support and indicated the amount of your gift, you may provide information to make your gift in honor or memory of someone.
Can I request that my gift be refunded?
Yes. If you have made an error in making your donation or would prefer to make your contribution in a different manner, we will honor requests for a refund within 15 days of the donation. To request a refund please call 1-800-Giv-2-WSU (448-2978). Refunds are returned using the original method of payment. If you made your donation by credit card, your refund will be credited to the same card.
Does the Foundation share my personal information with others?
I have more questions about making a gift. Whom do I contact?
If you have additional questions about making a gift, please contact us at:
Washington State University Foundation
Town Centre, Suite 301
PO Box 641927
Pullman, WA 99164-1925
Why does a state university need private support?
State support is critically important, but it continues to decline as a percentage of the University's total operating budget, making private contributions from alumni and friends increasingly important if WSU is to fulfill its mission of excellence in scholarship, research, and outreach.
How does the Foundation serve the University?
The WSU Foundation exists solely for WSUs benefit and serves as the preferred conduit for private gifts to all areas of the University. The WSU Foundation is governed by a Board of Governors.
Through annual giving programs, planned gifts (via wills, trusts, and other methods of giving), and special-purpose campaigns, the Foundation works with all twelve WSU colleges and many other units, including WSU Libraries, the Museum of Art, Cougar Athletics, International Programs, 4H/Extension, as well as each branch campus in Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver, to generate private support from alumni and friends.
What does the Foundation do with contributions?
We direct your gifts exactly as you specify. Expenditures of these gift funds are made by WSU administrators, faculty, and staff, according to strict guidelines for the use of the money as specified by the donor. Donors often allow the University to direct their gifts where they're needed most. These are called unrestricted gifts. WSU typically uses unrestricted funds to help provide scholarships; recruit outstanding faculty; facilitate student and faculty research; help defray the costs of traveling to present research, and support important University initiatives for which other funding is not available.
How does the Foundation ensure that donor intent is followed?
If WSU is to continue to thrive in the years ahead, private support is essential. At the WSU Foundation, our job is to do everything we can to maximize that support, now and into the futurewhich means that earning and keeping our donors' trust is among our very highest priorities.
Most of the 60,000+ contributions received by the WSU Foundation annually are cash or credit card gifts made in response to annual mailings and Call-A-Coug telephone outreach campaigns. In those cases, checks or credit card authorizations usually are accompanied by a gift form that has been filled out by the donor either in writing or online, indicating to us that the gift is to be directed to a specific account in support of the WSU program of the donors choosing.
When a contributor wishes to make a more complex gift (such as those involving real estate, a variety of non-cash assets, or through a bequest or trust), he or she often contacts the Foundation well in advance so we can work more closely with the donor and his or her financial advisor. In these cases, a "Gift Use Agreement" is developed to assure that all involvedthe donor and his/her family and advisors, the WSU Foundation, and often the WSU unit(s) that will benefit from the donor's giftare in agreement about the nature and designation of the contribution.
What does the Foundation's IRS Form 990 contain?
As is true of all 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, the WSU Foundation is required by federal law to file an annual income tax returnIRS Forms 990 and 990-Tand to make that report available to the public upon request. Our Forms 990 and 990-T contains detailed data such as:
- The WSU Foundation's revenues and changes in net assets or fund balances for the year
- A detailed statement of our yearly operational expenses
- A description of our major program accomplishments for the year (in our case, the amount of private funding we provide to Washington State University)
- Detailed balance sheets for the current and previous fiscal year
- Information about our audited financial statements (reconciliation of revenue and expenses per return)
- An analysis of income-producing activities and the relationship of those activities to our exempt purpose (ie., raising funds to benefit WSU)
The WSU Foundations IRS Form 990 is available as a PDF online. Printed copies can also be obtained by calling the Foundation or visiting the Foundation's offices in Pullman.
How does the Foundation manage its endowment?
An endowment provides financial support for WSU's immediate and future needs. Endowed funds may be unrestricted, which means they can be used wherever the need is greatest, or specified for use in a particular college, campus, or program. Unlike legislative appropriations or annual contributions, endowed funds are invested to protect their "purchasing power" so the fund will continue to fulfill the donor's specified purpose over the long term.
What is the size of the Foundation's endowment?
As of November 30, 2012, the market value of the WSU Foundations endowment was $333.3 million. Of this, the vast majority of the endowment is restricted to donor-specified uses, meaning the funds are designated to support specific WSU colleges, campuses, or programs. Therefore, neither the principal nor the income can be directed to other needs within the University, even during times of budget shortfalls.