There are many components to successful fundraising. Your approach might include running a popular annual event or enlisting sponsorship local businesses and ways to appeal to them.
Effective fundraising depends on the request: don’t be afraid to ask. Remember that friends and family like to be involved in the causes that you support, and this is a good way for them to contribute. Local businesses like to be associated with student activities. Grantmakers have to make grants, so why not to you? Still nervous about asking? Tell yourself, “They won’t give unless I ask.”
Present a sincere and straightforward request, deliver on what you promise, and don’t forget to thank your supporters! This will help you build relationships over time so that you feel relaxed and confident about asking for help, and the donor enjoys the interaction and will want to give again. The Appendices section of the Welcome Packet Toolkit includes sample fundraising request letters you can modify for your chapter’s use.
Sources for Financial and Material Support
- Grants: Grants may be available through your school, or may reward based on your geographical community (such as city foundations) or the goals of your work. To search for grants, ask for help at your school’s office of career services or student activities office. Some grants can be found on online databases such as foundationcenter.com or foundationsearch.com. When applying, answer each question clearly, be explicit about how you intend to reach your goals, and use any Technical Assistance that the funder offers.
- Sponsorship: Remember grade school bowl-a-thons? Ask supporters to sponsor something new: a stair climb in the tallest building on campus, a bike- or walk-a-thon, or a penny for every mile you’re traveling this summer to practice your clinical skills.
- Group dues are also a good source of financial support.
- In-kind donations: Donors may have items or services that can help your chapter, or may be willing to make financial donations.
Ideas for Fundraisers
- Art Exhibits (with refreshments)
- Benefit Concerts
- Benefit Nights (working with local sports venues, clubs or restaurants, have a benefit night on a specific issue)
- VIP Dinners, cocktail reception, a speech, a dunking booth, or a car wash with a guest expert or local celebrity
- Casino or poker Nights
- Food can attract people: food festivals for local specialties, like a chili cookoff.
- Spare Change Drive (make it competitive among years or departments on your campus, with a prize for the winner)
- Walk, Run, or Bike-a-thons… or even Bowl-a-thons
An event does not have to solely be a fundraiser; you can include a fundraising component to an action or event. Some examples of fund raising additions:
- Entrance fee to an entertaining or exclusive event
- Merchandise Sales (shirts, buttons, bags, hats, etc)
- Refreshments Sales
- Donation Solicitation (save money by not paying for services or goods)
These are some common fundraiser ideas. When deciding what the chapter wants to organize, it is also important to consider who your targeted audience is to assure the most participation. Generally speaking, the more creative an event is, the more successful it will be.