Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MSU Shares?
The MSU Shares is a fundraising campaign to help local charities provide services to students and residents right in our own community. Donations from faculty, staff and students support charities that serve more than 120,000 people annually in our tri-county region. With the assistance of Capital Area United Way, employee volunteers from across campus seek donations from their peers and help spread awareness of this annual campaign.
Is MSU Shares different from the Advancement Campaign?
Yes. The charitable campaign serves a very different purpose than the “Empower Extraordinary” campaign through the Advancement Office...and both are important!

  • The MSU Shares campaign provides donations for “local charities” and is organized by employee volunteers. People and students in our own community often need help beyond what their own paycheck can provide and local charities are available to them because of donations like those through the MSU Shares.
  • The Empower Extraordinary campaign helps fund facilities and projects at MSU and around the world, such as endowed chairs, building expansion and renovation, research support and even scholarships and fellowships. This is organized by the Advancement Office.

What is the mission of MSU Shares?
To support the many charitable causes in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, especially charities close to or on campus that serve students and local residents. 

Our History
MSU raised more than $6 million in the past 14 years for local charities! While a charitable campaign has occurred for many decades, in 1991 a formal agreement between MSU and the Capital Area United Way was developed to create an annual process to give to many causes at once. This campaign is sanctioned and approved by the university.
How can I donate?
Planning is underway for the current MSU Shares Campaign. Additional information will be posted when the Campaign launches.

Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. If you itemize on your federal tax return, you can take a deduction through Capital Area United Way, which is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Any agency listed in the campaign website is also eligible. Everyone should consult with their tax consultant  just to be sure.
Is MSU Shares a nonprofit organization?
While the MSU Shares is NOT an organization itself (it is a volunteer effort at Michigan State University), MSU has a written contract with Capital Area United Way, which is a nonprofit based in Michigan and is eligible to accept charitable donations. 
Why is there a minimum pledge of $50 when I donate to a specific charity?
The is a complex question, therefore this link will help answer it for you .
How much of the money goes to the charity I choose? 
If you designate to an organization, 85% goes directly to your chosen charity. A small amount of 15% is used by United Way to offset the cost of raising money for other organizations, processing your pledge and/or donation, accounting for incremental payments from MSU’s payroll deductions, and distributing the dollars incrementally throughout a given year. This rate is well below the accepted national standard for charities, which is between 20-35%.  
What if I do not designate a charity for my pledge? 
Your donation will make a HUGE impact on lives in the categories of health/basic needs, education and financial stability for people in the tri-county. Volunteers from MSU and the community determine where these funds are invested using a strict grant process. Because United Way keeps track of the most significant current needs in our community, they guide volunteer panelists through a detailed process to determine which local programs have the best record of impacting lives. The programs that receive grants are required to report their successes and progress to United Way every six months or risk losing the balance of their grant.
I do not live in the tri-county; should I still pledge?
Yes…and you are encouraged to donate to your local United Way if you prefer your gift to stay in your own community.
I am limited on financial resources; do only large amounts have an impact?
Any amount makes a different because our collective gifts last year totaled more than $400,000! Think of it this way, if every employee at MSU donated just $40 each year (which is less than a cup of coffee per week) we would raise almost $500,000!
Where can I obtain a printed pledge form?
Download and print a pledge form here: Make A Pledge

Then mail the form to:

Michigan State University
MSU Shares
Administration Bldg.
426 Auditorium Rd, Room 140
East Lansing, MI 48824
How to I make a pledge online?
Please go to MSU Shares Online Instruction Form page for assistance on making a pledge online.
Can I give to my church through the MSU Shares campaign?
You can donate to any official non-profit organization with a license to solicit issued by a state. Remember, money donated through payroll deduction is sent in increments by MSU to the Capital Area United Way. They disburse the donations to each organization after a certain amount is collected, or the total amount has been donated, to keep administrative costs low. This process can take up to 12 months or so if you donate small amounts from each paycheck.
If I designate my gift to a specific organization, who decides what program my gift supports?
The organization itself determines how to use those funds. We encourage you to research each organization carefully before and after you donate for their successes, annual reports, board of directors list, etc. When you give through United Way, they continuously monitor the programs that receive funding on your behalf.
Can I pay on my pledge one time?
Yes. Just indicate this request under “Other” and then “Bill Me.” You will receive an invoice from Capital Area United Way for your gift.
More Questions on  Capital Area United Way