External Events: Fund-Raising

The best fund-raising events are well planned, efficiently executed, and provide value to your donors.

To a certain extent, all student organizations need to fund-raise depending on the difference between your provided budget and your expected expenditures. Most groups will start off with ad-hoc fundraising events like selling baked good. However, the best fund-raising events follow the rules for effective events. They need to be well planned and executed. Often times, this involves combining your ask with an event that provides value to your donors.
  1. Style of Event – Determine what type of fundraising you’d like to do. People tend to be more generous when you provide them with a service or gift before you ask them for a donation. Consider your people and what skills they might be able to provide. For instance, if you have a avid photographer, you might set up a photo booth. Set up your website or collection box so that the process for donations is simple and quick. It’s a good idea to get contact information as well. Previous donors make good future donors. Alternatively, schools generally offer options for students to make money. Most science departments will pay students to participate in studies (though you should try to steer away from anything named Milgram or Prison Experiment). Making a group trip to one of these study sites – as opposed to asking individuals to go by themselves – would be an efficient way of collecting revenue.
  2. Audience – Consider the financial means of your donors. You should structure your event so that you’re around generous people with means – aka parents and alumni. Most of the time, you can find these individuals during pre-planned events held by your school. For example, homecoming, alumni receptions, and parent visiting days are all excellent opportunities to set up a booth either independently or in conjunction with a school event. These folks are likely to be excited to visit the school, meet new students, and donate to student causes.
  3. Partnerships – Who do you need to partner with to get access to the appropriate audience and/or venue? Think about what your partner will get out of the event and how you can make it worth their while. Corporate sponsors might be amenable to advertising on your website or at your events; school sponsors might be interested in high-achieving and passionate students they can show off to prospective newcomers. Perhaps you already have leverage with a partner who might have funds (hint hint parents of current organization members)?

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