| Fundraising for Your Group
to try somewhere else
Back to the Skills
There’s virtually an infinite number of ways to raise money.
However, some fundraising strategies are more effective for students
than others. When you begin to develop a fundraising plan, consider
what personal connections, resources, and skills are available within
your group's membership. For example, does your group have connections
to many small business owners, who might be interested in sponsoring
your campaign? Is someone in your group a member of a popular local
band who they could convince to do a benefit concert? Does the group
have any ties to the budget or appropriations committee of the student
government that you could lobby for support?
When devising a fundraising plan, use your imagination to create
fundraising initiatives that will be lucrative, fun, and will take
advantage of the varied talents and skills that your membership
has to offer. Also, if you intend to use multiple approaches to
raise money, try to reach out to many different kinds of people
in many different ways. Even low-income people will donate money
to an organization that they care about. Even students.
Remember that the best things on campus are free - or at least
cheap! The issue of funding often stands in the way of the biggest
ambitions. Yet it need not be so. Raising funds for any organization
requires a great amount of time and human resources, something that
may be hard to gather at a campus full of busy students. Keep in
mind that there are a vast number of events that can be conducted
with very limited funding - or without any funding at all.
These are several fundraising strategies commonly used by students.
Use these ideas to help you get started, but don't limit yourself
– assess your own group's possibilities and let your creativity
for Campus Money
Applying for organizational funding from your student government
is often one of the easiest ways to raise money. The willingness
and the ability of student governments to provide financial support
to student organizations, of course, varies immensely depending
on the type of institution. Some student governments are awash in
money to distribute, whereas others can only afford to sponsor "all-campus"
events and not individual organizations.
The first step towards receiving campus funding is to visit your
student government and to find out their application procedures.
Frequently, organizations need to submit a proposed budget outlining
how they intend to use the requested funds. Try to anticipate all
the financial needs you may encounter over the course of the school
year. Be sure to include such expenses as copies for flyers and
literature, materials for signs and banners, food and drinks for
meetings and events, travel money to the national SfB conference,
and stipends and travel money to bring speakers and organizing trainers
to campus. Aim high in your estimates because budgetary committees
often scale back funding requests. Remember that most schools will
only give money to officially recognized clubs.
At the same time, don’t limit your scope to the main student
government source. Reach out to other organizations and departments
within your school (like a political science student association
or women's rights organization) that may be willing to sponsor a
a Benefit Event
Benefit events are a great source of money because they are fun
to plan and attend, can raise quite a bit of money, and can raise
awareness of your campaign as well. When organizing any benefit
event, be sure to lay out your goals. Obviously, you'll want to
set a fundraising goal ($100, $500, $1,000), but you should also
set awareness-raising and recruiting goals. And try your best to
mix different types of music and activities so that your benefit
appeals to people of all races and genders.
A benefit event does not need to be complicated or huge in order
to be successful. It can be as grand or as simple as you want it
Another super easy event idea is to just attach yourself to an
event that is already being planned. If you know members of a band
or hip-hop group that has a scheduled show, ask them if they would
donate the proceeds to your campus group. Or simply ask if they
would mind you making a quick pitch in the middle of their set and
passing a box or two around the crowd.
If you have the time and resources to actually plan and execute
a benefit concert or event, by all means, go for it! You’ll
then have creative control; you can set it up to include short speeches
as well as musical groups, you can decorate the event location however
you like and you can organize the event as cheaply as possible to
make the largest possible profit.
Your group's fundraising potential is limited only by your collective
creativity. Spend a little time at a meeting with some butcher paper
and markers and brainstorm. Design tee-shirts, buttons, or other
propaganda for your organization or current campaign, produce them
cheaply (but make sure your materials don't come from sweatshops!),
and sell them for $10. Sell services like raking or lawn mowing
or car washing. Have a bake sale - get every member to donate a
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Planning & Budgeting
Planning for an event
Make a list of all the jobs that need to be done.
the room reservations, guest speakers, and entertainment.
a permit for food and merchandise sales.
in newspapers and send public service announcements to radio stations.
group members distribute and post flyers.
and confirm microphones, tables, VCR, and other equipment.
information regarding the cases or actions to be presented, including
general Bhopal literature.
other organizations and their members.
a volunteer to take responsibility for seeing that each task is
For jobs that require more than one person, find a volunteer coordinator
and as many workers as needed.
deadline dates for each task.
for “disasters.” Something will surely go wrong, so
anticipate all the possible disruptions of the event (e.g. rain,
not enough food, performers not showing up, etc.). Brainstorm a
list of all the possible “disasters” and then brainstorm
measures that can be taken as prevention or solution to each (e.g.
“get indoor space in case of rain”).
A poor fundraising
As you create your fundraising plan, you should keep in mind the
Fundraising activities should be fun for the donors and for the
members who have put it together. Activities that are a drag burn
out your members and make people who give feel like they’ve
Keep it simple. The more bells and whistles you add to the plan,
the more things can go wrong.
Hazards: Beware of fundraising that requires large up-front
investment, includes a high-risk of losing money, or could harm
your group’s reputation if you fail to meet expectations.
Explore options for reducing high-priced overhead items, such as
getting food donated.
Involve members and others in a positive way, without drawing time
and resources from other necessary work.
..........• Donor Appreciation:
Make donors feel good about giving. Thank them and, when appropriate,
do so publicly.
..........• Other Events:
Add fundraising to what your group is already doing. Consider how
you can add a fundraising element to already planned actions and
Celebrate victories and achievements. Reward friends, allies, and
hard-working group members.
Make a budget for your event and do your best to stick to it. In
order to come up with your budget, make a list of all items that
will involve some expense. Estimate the cost of each (call vendors
to confirm estimates) and determine if any of the items could be
donated. Total all costs, subtract donated items, and you have a
A Note on Potential Hazards: When deciding how to raise
funds, your group should consider factors such as the amount of
money it will need to invest up-front and how much risk is involved.
Events that require little investment and offer high returns include
car washes, bake sales, raffles, flea markets, auctions, and canvassing/membership
drives. Events such as dances or dinners require slightly more investment
and more risk.
Fundraisers requiring high investment and high risk include bingo,
selling big-ticket items such as Christmas trees, selling calendars
(they only sell for a short period of time), races, walk-a-thons,
and concerts. Many of these fundraisers not only require a large
up-front investment, but are costly and time-consuming to organize
and promote. While celebrity events such as concerts can be successful,
you should carefully consider the monetary and time investments
required to produce such an event.
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Raffles are a fun and simple way to earn money. Ask local businesses
prizes and sell tickets for a certain period of time. Some of the
businesses that donated might also be willing to sell tickets. Incorporate
the raffle into the group’s work by having the drawing during
a special event.
A-Thons”. Draw-a-thons, dance-a-thons, skate-a-thons,
etc. take a little extra organizing but can be extremely profitable.
Try to collect pledges in advance. You can ask for a block pledge
($10 for the event) or agree to have a certain number of drawings,
dance a certain number of hours, etc. and ask for payment up-front.
Include a speaker or show a Bhopal-related movie during a draw-a-thon.
Set up a “thermometer” poster that is updated frequently
to indicate how close the group is to reaching its goals.
Meals. These can range in scope and price. A more elaborate
benefit meal might be an Indian dinner, featuring food, music, and
speakers from India. A more simple variation of this theme would
be to hold a pancake breakfast or spaghetti dinner followed by a
movie or speaker.
Concerts can be fun, but need to be planned carefully because they
can easily lose money. There are many ways to hold events with music,
and the music you use can vary widely. Check to verify the musical
tastes of your target audience before you arrange the music. Make
the location fun. Consider holding the concert outdoors in a park
during the summer or at popular venue, such as a bookstore, bar,
Consider putting on performances either using group members or members
of a local drama club or theatre as performers. Charge admission
for the show and then sell refreshments and Bhopal merchandise.
Also, be sure to have a table with
information on Bhopal and your group at the show.
for Bhopal. Get friends, professors, and family to sponsor
your group in a bowlathon.
or Run. Organize a Walk, Jog, Scoot, Bicycle or Levitate
for Justice in Bhopal.
Merchandise. Although the Bhopal campaign does have some
merchandise available which
you can sell to raise money, you may decide to make and sell your
own items, such as recycled notebooks, buttons, candles, artistic
creations or holiday gifts. For groups just starting out, it’s
prudent to sell small-ticket items that don’t require a heavy
overhead. Advice: for such small items, request donations
and then give items away. For example, you might be able to sell
buttons for 50 cents, but if you request a donation for that same
pin, many people are likely to put a dollar or some larger amount
into your collection jar.
No matter what you may choose to do, look at each fundraising expense
and think about ways you can get those needs met for free or at
a discount. Examples of in kind donations include food from a restaurant,
printing from a printer, bowling from a bowler, and penguins from
a penguiner. Always remember to thank donors (with a letter) and
with free publicity if they don’t want to remain anonymous
(e.g. an ad in your program or a letter to the editor after an event).
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One Hundred More Fundraising
One hundred at very least: raffles, bazaars, egg and spoon races,
karaoke evenings, bring and buy sales, auctions of promises, sweepstakes,
spelling competitions, dog and cat shows, pony rides, hoopla, cake
stall, sell home made jams, ditto fruit wines, second hand book
sale, run a marathon or a minithon, car boot sale, sponsored walk,
scalextric racing, garage sale, tug-of-war, worst tie fine, swearing
jar, donate a service, collecting tin in pub, celebrity auctions
(ask them to donate a personal item or give an autograph), put on
a play, singing contest, musical evening, archery contest, make
Christmas cards, organize a Bhopal Day, publish your own poetry
mag, have an art exhibition, vintage car rides, sponsored swim,
face painting, fashion show, summer barbecue, trivia quiz, wishing
well, chess tournament, stage a football match, meet-a-celebrity
dinner (if you can persuade a celebrity, and if you happen to be
a celebrity you could have a quick whip round among your mates),
have an open day in your garden, plant sale, home-made lemonade
stall, guess the weight of the cake (or vegetable marrow), animal
bingo (mark out a field in numbered squares, sell correspondingly
numbered tickets, let loose a cow, if she dungs in your square you
win), barn dance, make and sell paper flowers, hire a band and organize
a local gig, write and publish your own cook book, design a calendar,
organize teams to wash cars, mow lawns, trim hedges, walk dogs and
offer sundry other useful services, stage a talent show, hold a
gurning championship (can't resist sticking in a pic for this one),
have a sponsored haircut, shave off that beard for Bhopal, heck
shave off your eyebrows, give a foot massage, polish shoes, pub
crawl, fancy dress disco, manicure, lunchtime concert in the park,
school play or concert, walk round Wales with a fridge (someone
is actually doing this!). Here are a couple of websites with ideas:
("Kidnap the senior pastor" and "Kiss the cow"!)
an Aussie site with some offbeat thoughts.
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..........• Try this wrap-around
for your donation cans!
an educational resource
and fact sheets about Bhopal
Media Advisory/Press Release
Posters & Graphics
..........• Draft Bhopal Quartersheets:
One & Two
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