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Money is always a nice thing to have, especially when you’re battling a $40 billion company. Funding is needed to support the international campaign, the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, and essential development work for gas-affected communities. Host a benefit concert, a silent auction, or a community drive to support the struggle for justice in Bhopal.

Why Fundraising? Fundraising Ideas
How it Makes a Difference 100 More Fundrasing Ideas
Campaign Outline Resources
Before You Start Making the Contribution
Planning & Budgeting  

Why Fundraising?

Fundraising is a direct way to support the campaign for justice in Bhopal, and make a difference in people’s lives. Because it’s so direct, and also because it’s easy to understand, you may find it easier to rally folks in support of the campaign – both group members and potential contributors. Although your efforts won’t necessarily pressure Dow or the Indian Government to agree to the survivors’ demands, fundraising is critical to supporting the ongoing efforts of ICJB, the Sambhavna Clinic, and others working to improve the condition of the people of Bhopal.

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How it Makes a Difference

Winning an additional $330 million in compensation

Much of what we do requires significant funding, and depending on whom you decide to support with your efforts – the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, the Sambhavna Clinic, or possibly both – you’ll be making a direct contribution to ongoing, critical work on behalf of the people of Bhopal.

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
..........• Won an additional $330 million in compensation for Bhopal victims
..........• Successfully pressured the Indian Council for Medical Research to restart the comprehensive medical studies discontinued in 1994.
..........Found Warren Anderson, the former Chairman of Union Carbide and international fugitive from justice, after more than a decade in hiding, leading to a formal request for his extradition.
..........• For more information, see www.bhopal.net

The new Sambhavna Clinic building & medicinal garden

Sambhavna Clinic
..........• Has provided free medical care to over 16,000 gas-affected people, and has served a similar number through community health initiatives in the neighborhoods bordering the abandoned factory
..........• Offers a unique combination of treatments including allopathy, ayurveda (an indigenous system of medicine based on herbs) and Yoga
..........• Has conducted path-breaking medical research, including a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicating that the effects of the gas are multi-generational.
..........• For more information, see www.bhopal.org

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Campaign Outline

Directly support the work of the Bhopal campaign and help improve the condition of the people of Bhopal.

..........1. Foster greater awareness about Bhopal within your community
..........2. Raise a specific amount of money for the Sambhavna Clinic or international campaign

..........1. Make sure that all your fundraising events include an element of education – folks want to know that their money is going to a good cause!
..........2. Reach out to a variety of communities with an array of fundraising events
..........3. Don’t forget the most important part of fundraising: asking.

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Before You Start

The basic principles of fundraising are fairly simple:
..........• You don’t get money unless you ask for it.
..........• The best approach is the direct, personal approach.
..........• You should always give people something for their money – even if it’s only an understanding of how it will be spent, and the knowledge that it’s going to a good cause
..........• When you do fundraising right, people give you money because they want to, not because they’re trying to do you a favor.

One of the first things you should do is set a goal: how much money would you like to raise? Once you’ve decided, you have to figure out how to get it. Make an assessment of your group, asking questions such as:
..........• What material resources do we have?
..........• Who do people in our group know? Public officials, religious leaders, college faculty, entertainers, and local merchants are examples of contacts who may donate time, materials, or food for your event.
..........• What do we like to do? Are there group members with special talents? Are any group members artists, musicians, or experienced speakers?
..........• What other organizations do members belong to that may want to collaborate?

A poor fundraising choice

As you create your fundraising plan, you should keep in mind the following:
..........Fun: 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 been burned.
..........Simplicity: Keep it simple. The more bells and whistles you add to the plan, the more things can go wrong.
..........Potential 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.
..........Involvement: 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 activities.
..........Celebration: Celebrate victories and achievements. Reward friends, allies, and hard-working group members.

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Planning & Budgeting

Planning for an event
Make a list of all the jobs that need to be done.
..........Confirm the room reservations, guest speakers, and entertainment.
..........Get a permit for food and merchandise sales.
..........Advertise in newspapers and send public service announcements to radio stations.
..........Have group members distribute and post flyers.
..........Reserve and confirm microphones, tables, VCR, and other equipment.
..........Photocopy information regarding the cases or actions to be presented, including general Bhopal literature.
..........Invite other organizations and their members.

Ask a volunteer to take responsibility for seeing that each task is completed.

For jobs that require more than one person, find a volunteer coordinator and as many workers as needed.

Assign deadline dates for each task.

Plan 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”).

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 budget.

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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Fundraising Ideas

Donation Cans! Have you ever seen a can or jar asking for donations? Of course you have – they’re common in coffee shops, restaurants, and other local businesses. Often they ask for tips, but sometimes they’re raising money for worthy causes like tsunami relief, cancer research, or muscular dystrophy. And though it may not seem so from looking at the nickels and pennies inside, donation cans like these can raise a lot of money.

Find out more

Raffles. Raffles are a fun and simple way to earn money. Ask local businesses to donate
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.

Benefit 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. 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, or restaurant.

Find out more

Performances. 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.

Levitate for Bhopal

Bowling for Bhopal. Get friends, professors, and family to sponsor your group in a bowlathon.

Walk or Run. Organize a Walk, Jog, Scoot, Bicycle or Levitate for Justice in Bhopal.

Sell 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 Ideas

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: http://community.gospelcom.net/Brix?pageID=5276 ("Kidnap the senior pastor" and "Kiss the cow"!) and www.home.gil.com.au/~dnash/html/frameSet.htm, an Aussie site with some offbeat thoughts.

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..........• Try this wrap-around for your donation cans!
..........Request an educational resource
..........Handouts and fact sheets about Bhopal
..........Draft Media Advisory/Press Release
..........Bhopal Posters & Graphics
..........Draft advertising poster
..........• Draft Bhopal Quartersheets: One & Two
..........Survivor testimonials

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Making the Contribution

For small amounts, see our donations page. For questions about larger contributions, contact Ryan.

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The international student campaign to hold Dow accountable for Bhopal, and its other toxic legacies around the world.
For more information about the campaign, or for problems regarding this website, contact
Shana Ortman, the US Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
Last updated: April 30, 2008


"The year 2003 was a special year in the history of the campaign for justice in Bhopal. It was the year when student and youth supporters from at least 30 campuses in the US and India took action against Dow Chemical or in support of the demands of the Bhopal survivors. As we enter the 20th year of the unfolding Bhopal disaster, we can, with your support, convey to Dow Chemical that the fight for justice in Bhopal is getting stronger and will continue till justice is done. We look forward to your continued support and good wishes, and hope that our joint struggle will pave the way for a just world free of the abuse of corporate power."

Signed/ Rasheeda Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Employees Union
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal