A college fundraising event can be a joy to take part in, especially if the cause your organization is espousing is something you believe in.
However, you need to know the right way to conduct your fundraising event in college. Proper planning will help you get maximum donations for your cause.
The good news is that there are some practical ways to assure that your college fundraising efforts pay off big time. Here are some of them.
1. Volunteer to Be Part of the Planning Committee
Not everyone realizes this but being part of the planning committee for a college fundraiser is a big responsibility.
You’ll have to be on top of every good idea so that you can guide efforts towards implementing the master plan meticulously.
Remember that you’ll be carrying the name of your organization when you’re a representative of the planning committee. Being a volunteer means you may never get recognized or compensated for the time, energy, and resources you devote to your preferred cause.
But at least you’ll be able to steer the fundraising through stormy waters without any major problems.
2. Develop a Website for Your Fundraising Organization
Though this is the age of the Internet, some fundraising organizations haven’t tapped the power of the online world to bring in donations yet.
If you’re computer savvy enough, you can start your fundraising activities by developing a website exclusively for the fundraising organization you represent.
This will help give a face to your organization and make it easy for you to track the pledges.
3. Approach Fundraising Experts
One way to make sure your fundraising activities will be successful is to get experienced fundraising organizations, like Adrenaline Fundraising, to help you. You can check out their programs to see if they have any strategies that you can adopt for your fundraising effort.
For instance, they may have some unique products that can be personalized for your fundraising so that people will know it’s your organization behind the activity.
Some products can be sold to the public with a portion of each sale going to your activity. This helps in making your activity unique and easy to recall so that people will have your efforts in mind all the time.
4. Identify the Cause that You Know Many People Relate Well To
It’s important to note that not all causes will raise the public’s sympathies to a fever pitch. You need to know which cause will tug at people’s heartstrings so they will be motivated to donate.
One good cause for a college fundraiser is raising money for scholarships to benefit low-income and ethnic groups who want to get their college degrees.
You need people to relate to your cause if you want to succeed at bringing in donations.
You also have to tell the truth about that cause so that your organization is credible in the eyes of the public.
5. Be Specific About What You Are Attempting
You should be certain about what you’re aiming to accomplish through the event you will be hosting.
For instance, if you aim to raise money for college scholarships, you must tell the public specific details.
You can say that “The scholarships will support the college education of students from Latino families that live in the area. These Latino families are from low-income groups that need our assistance to create a better future for their college-age youth.
To avail of the scholarships, these Latino students should apply at (insert name of college here)”.
When you’re specific about your event’s goals, it gets easier to know how to talk to people about it.
6. Get Alumni Involved
There are two main points behind getting alumni to support your cause.
First, they have undergone the same trials and stress at your college, so they can identify with your school spirit.
Second, they are probably well-employed and well-compensated by now so they may be inclined to contribute significantly to your donation drive.
Tapping into the psyche of alumni will help the general public realize that your college is a vital contributor to community affairs. This will create a ripple effect throughout the community.
In turn, the alumni get to expand their network such as being able to post their Linkedin profiles on your fundraising website.
7. Make Sure Your Fundraiser Benefits the Community
Your fundraising activities should always aim at providing multiple benefits to the surrounding community.
So, you’re not just after the donations. You want the community to improve in tangible ways. You want people to remember that the benefits in their lives started at your college through that fundraising event.
For instance, if you want to set up a gardening club for students at your college, you can host a plant sale as your fundraiser.
The plants to be sold can be solicited from gardening supplies stores that operate within your community.
These stores get free advertising of their products and services and the people get to buy the plants at discounted prices. All proceeds should be considered donations to the cause.
8. Ask for Reasonable Amounts for Donations
Since times are somewhat difficult right now for most people, it’s advisable to solicit reasonable amounts as donations to your cause.
If your organization is targeting a specific amount for one particular fundraising event, try to imagine how many people you need to make a specific donation.
For example, if you’re hosting a college-wide car wash day, then you can ask each car owner to donate $10 for each car wash. This is a reasonable amount that won’t strain their budgets but will make a difference when all the individual donations are collected and accounted for.
Be sure that there’s a definite set of people who will be handling the funds collected. There shouldn’t be any allegations of pilferage after the event is over.
9. Make It Easy to Donate
Sometimes, there are community members who want to donate but can’t be at the fundraising event due to other commitments.
You can make it easy for them by setting up a bank account for donations. Post the details of the bank accounts on the event website prominently so that donors find it easy to donate.
Ask them also to post their names and the amount they have donated on a specific form on the event website. This will make it easier for you to account for the funds received. Take note that some may prefer to donate anonymously.
So, this has to be noted as well when auditing the funds that came in. You’ll also have to provide proof that the money is going where the fundraising committee promised.
For instance, if you’re raising funds for the college scholarships, you may need to post the photos of the students who later availed of those scholarships.
Be sure to post a short write-up about each of these students on the event website as well. This is a good way to be inclusive in the community.
These students will remember you and spread the word about your event when they graduate and enter the workforce as professionals.
These real-life testimonials will help you in your future fundraising efforts. People will know that you’ve successfully used past donations for the promised purpose.
10. Go for Visual Impact on the Fundraising Website
If you develop a fundraising website just for your event, don’t underestimate the power of visual content.
This means having a volunteer photographer take rounds during the event to take photos of actual participants getting involved.
The photographer may be accompanied by a volunteer videographer since some people may like to view videos of the event as it unfolded. The photos and videos can be posted on the website so that everyone can see what happened.
This can be especially interesting to members of the community, such as the elderly or those who are convalescing, who are unable to attend the event but want to know how it progressed anyway.
11. Tap the Power of Social Media
If you’re interested in widening the net of your fundraising efforts, it’s a good idea to rely on social media.
Social media has proven to be a potent channel through which one can foster interest in socio-civic causes. It’s a quick, agile, comfortable, and popular way to get into the social networks of everyone involved in the event.
You may want to create a digital poster that’ll give the details of the event, such as why it’s important to support this particular cause.
Get the volunteers to disseminate the digital poster to their networks. If many people get interested in your event, they can then easily share the digital poster with their contacts – and this means free publicity.
12. Ask the Public What They Think
Since you may already have a website for the organization you represent, you may want to conduct a survey online to ask people how they perceived the event that they participated in.
The survey can be targeted at specific groups like parents, senior citizens, people with disabilities, alumni, and members of the faculty of the college you attend.
Be sure to break down the metrics about the event so that you can adequately measure how effective the event was.
It’s equally important to ask if everyone who responds will be interested in getting involved or support the same event in the next school year. That way, when it’s your turn to graduate, you can hand over the details of your fundraising efforts to the next set of college students who will volunteer.
This can make the fundraising event an annual activity. Years down the line, you’ll be proud of starting a great tradition for the benefit of the needy.
13. Be Accountable
You should post the success of your fundraiser on the website. This makes the community that participated in the event aware of how important their participation was.
So, you need to post vital details of the progression of the event, such as the names of the volunteers who made the event go smoothly, the names of the donors and their donations (if the donors agree to the posting), and the total amount raised.
Make sure to post a photo of the person in charge of the fundraiser handing over the funds to the officer in charge of the cause supported by the event.
Details like this help the community see that they can come together and achieve a greater good. They will believe that one fundraiser can make a difference in many lives.
Most importantly, they’ll believe that your fundraising event was genuinely about the purported cause and you have the capability to make such events successful.
Who Benefits from a Fundraising Event?
Fundraisers are a good way to benefit several people within a particular community.
First, the people who volunteer to organize and implement the event gain experience in setting up an activity without expecting monetary compensation for themselves. These volunteers can cite this accomplishment in their respective resumes which is always a positive factor after they graduate.
Then the people who take part in the fundraiser (namely, the residents in the community who donate money or items) benefit because they know that their money is being put to a worthy cause.
The beneficiaries of the donated funds are able to use the money for the intended purpose. For example, when qualified students avail of college scholarships funded by the event, they can change their lives for the better by overcoming financial barriers.
Of course, the entire community benefits from the goodwill shown by all those involved before, during, and after the event.
The bonus benefit is that the event can be replicated year after year, as each graduating class hands over the reins of the annual event to the next batch of volunteer college students.
This may even become a long-term tradition at that particular college that students, alumni, faculty, and college administrative officials look forward to.
Successful fundraising will encourage organizers to hold the event annually and help community members.