Get Organized

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 Goals

Set a dollar value on how much you hope to raise. Keep in mind what your expenses will be.  Determine a reasonable amount above and beyond that as your fundraising goal.  You can divide this amount by your anticipated number of attendees to calculate the minimum each person should bring in.

Establish Deadlines

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 Activity Consultant can help you determine how long it will take to prepare for your event.  Visit them at SAO to discuss the specifics of your fundraising program.

Emphasize Promotion/Anticipation

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.
  • Once the event is approved on Engage it can be advertised on BU calendars.

Recognize/Recruit Volunteers

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.

Fundraiser Ideas

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 must be made via a request in the Engage Treasury.

A few items often selected for fundraising:

  • clothing (T-shirts, hoodies, jackets)
  • mugs, glasses, or travel cups
  • calendars
  • seasonal or holiday-themed cards, candy, or flowers
  • flower bulbs and seeds
  • discount cards
  • food, especially baked goods
  • cookbooks/recipes
  • gently used books (textbooks)

Fundraising Through BU

Student groups registered with the Student Activities Office also have the ability to receive funds from BU donors, to support your club or organization’s activities. People can give to your group by selecting the “Student Clubs & Organizations” designation on a BU giving form, and typing in your group’s name. If your group already has a web presence with videos and other info about your group, you can post the giving form link there, too. Donated funds will be released to your group via the Student Activities Business Office.


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)
  • raffles
  • sporting events, tournaments, or marathons (triathlons/bikeathons/walkathons, etc.)
  • rockathon (rocking chair marathon)
  • talent show
  • booths—i.e., cream pie booth, kissing booth, etc.