Tips on Fundraising
Why fundraise? We know that organizations need money in order to program. It is good to keep in mind that fundraising is not just a method of making money or securing donations for your programs, it also involves the community and gets the word out about your organization. Establishing community connections is one of the most beneficial aspects of fundraising for a student organization. It creates relationships with the people that you are trying to reach out to, and once they know who you are, they might make an extra effort to attend your programs.
Before you begin a campaign to raise money; familiarize yourself with the fundraising rules and regulations of your campus. This will give you a framework from which to start. Soliciting money at certain times and from certain people may have restrictions.
- It is best to have a plan for your fundraising efforts. Always know how the donation will be used so you can be specific with the business from which you are requesting the donation.
- Always look for local businesses to co-sponsor your events, by donating money, prizes, food, or other services to make the event a little better. Always be professional, thank them profusely for their sponsorship, and give them high visibility at your event and in any promotional materials.
- Ask other groups and organizations on campus to co-sponsor events. Co-sponsoring can mean many different things; it may just be a clever way of asking for money or the partnership may look good to administrators or community members. Be sure to acknowledge the other organization by putting their name/logo on your event advertisements.
- Have an auction. Ask students, businesses, faculty, staff and other people in the community to donate things they do not want, and see if you can get some money for these items. Having an auction can be fun. Tacky items often bring in the most money!
- Hold a fair of some sort where area businesses or vendors can set up booths on campus. You could have a “Taste of (your town)” festival where area restaurants donate food. Charge for each table and have your members on hand throughout the event to help the vendors.
- Hold a free car wash. Wash people’s cars and ask them to make a donation. Promoting a free car wash often gets more attention, and you’ll probably make more money. Or use gimmicks such as “Free Topless Car Wash” to get attention. You wash the entire care for free except “the top," which then you wash for a set price.
- Have a parents' night out! Promote this event to faculty, staff, graduate students, and any other students who may have children. On a Friday or Saturday night, get a big room on campus and provide a baby-sitting service. Your members entertain the kids while mom and dad enjoy a night out. You should get your campus nurse in on the act as a measure of security for married parents. Have lots of games, videos, and activities.
- Hold a smoke-free casino night. Give everyone fake money and action off prizes (donated from area businesses) at the end of the night. The casino games can be rented from local rental companies; check your yellow pages.
- Sell buttons. This is particularly a good idea if you have a successful athletic team that people support. You can also sell them around issues, such as tobacco, alcohol and AIDS awareness. Buy them cheap or make them yourself, and sell them at 100% markup. Remember that it is better to buy a small quantity to start with, and make extra later.
- Have a bake sale. Baked goods will be easy to sell to hungry students. Your group can have fun making products. Make sure you charge enough to make back the money you spend.
- Host an ice cream social on campus. Work with your food service and/or local businesses to have them donate the ice cream and toppings.
- Host a wellness walk or run to benefit a specific tobacco cause or programming need. Charge an entry fee and give away donated prizes.