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First things first! A well-planned fundraiser dramatically increases your chances of bringing in needed funds. Planning out the following aspects of your fundraiser will help you stay on track and send a clear message to your target audience.
Since fundraisers can take the form of various events, your timeframe will depend on which type of fundraiser you hold.
Set a dollar value on how much you hope to raise. You can divide that by your number of attendees to calculate the minimum each person should bring in.
Deadlines depend on the type of event you’re hosting, but usually three weeks from start to finish is a sufficient length of time. An activities consultant can help you determine how long it will take to prepare for your event.
Advertising is key to meeting your fundraising goals. Take advantage of any opportunities to promote your group and get exposure for your fundraiser. Some of the things you can do:
- Submit press releases to your local papers and radio/TV news stations.
- See if other group publications will give you exposure.
- Make sure you place your fundraiser front-and-center in any social media, emails, or publications for your group.
Some members of your group will be glad to volunteer. Emphasize how much their talents will contribute to meeting the fundraiser’s goals.
If it seems like you’re not getting enough volunteers, ask around among your members about some incentives or initiatives that might make it more exciting.
A little time and energy can go a long way. Your group members may have varied availability and talents to offer, but if you set realistic goals and choose a good type of fundraiser for your group, you should be able to pull it off just fine.
Showing your appreciation is important not just for politeness but because even a simple thank-you can be great motivation to your volunteers.
Stimulate your volunteers with playful daily rewards for jobs well done—whether it’s gold stars or a gift card for the person who brings in the most funds.
While there are many ways to raise funds for your organization, two of the most common and successful for student groups are sales and activities/services. Below are a few of the things past groups have sold or participated in to bring in some dollars for their activities and favorite causes.
There are many items you can customize and sell. Look in our Vendor Book for providers for many of these items. Remember, if you want to use the BU name and/or logo, only approved vendors can produce your merchandise. All purchases should be made with a purchase order.
A few items often selected for fundraising:
- clothing (T-shirts, hoodies, jackets)
- mugs, glasses, or travel cups
- seasonal or holiday-themed cards, candy, or flowers
- flower bulbs and seeds
- discount cards
- food, especially baked goods
- gently used books (textbooks)
Hosting an event for an evening or over a weekend is often an energizing and fun way to raise awareness of your group and bring in funds. Many times, groups combine events with sales items mentioned above.
Remember, any ticket sales must follow our ticket-selling procedure.
Some activities past groups have organized:
- bake sales
- garage sales
- contests—i.e., pumpkin carving at Halloween
- car wash
- dog wash
- students for hire (odd jobs)
- sporting events, tournaments, or marathons (triathlons/bikeathons/walkathons, etc.)
- rockathon (rocking chair marathon)
- talent show
- booths—i.e., cream pie booth, kissing booth, etc.
Before you get started, though, there are a few policies you should be aware of and adhere to.
Raising Funds for a Charity or Cause
Interested in donating to a charitable organization? We love it. Just make sure everything is in accordance with the following regulations and procedures, and hand us your completed Fundraising Event Form.
- The parent group for which funds are raised must be registered with the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a nonprofit organization, and be classified as a 501(c)3 organization by the IRS.
- No more than 20 percent of the monies raised by the parent group may go toward administrative costs.
- Operational costs for a fundraising event must not exceed 25 percent of the projected income.
- The sponsoring student organization is responsible for all costs incurred by the operation of the program.
- Fundraising events must include educational programs about the charity and the services it provides.
- Funds may not be raised for a political candidate, but may be raised for a political party.
- Student organizers of fundraising events should not receive any payment from the charities for which they are raising funds.
- When collecting monetary donations, groups must request a cash collection bag.
- Any Student Fee money (Allocations Board or direct funding) used to cover expenses for the event must be returned before any donation is made.
- Donations to a high school’s athletic program, or otherwise assisting with fundraising for a high school’s athletics program by an institution is in violation of NCAA recruiting regulations. This includes all institutional departments or groups.
Any raffles must be carried out in compliance with Massachusetts laws and our office’s raffle procedure. A form must be filed with Student Activities prior to hosting any raffle.
If you’re collecting cash, you must first pick up a cash collection bag from our office. Cash bag must be requested at least two weeks in advance. Complete the Cash Collection Form and return it to Student Activities with the rest of your event paperwork.
The bag must be returned to our office within one week. You must return it to the Student Activities Business Office and a member of your group must complete the reconciliation process, including any deposits.