How to plan a fundraiser
As it states in Murphy’s Law, “everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” When planning my first fundraiser, this was exactly what happened. It was time consuming and stressful to fix all the last minute details. But in figuring it out, I learned a few tips along the way that might help you too.
Phase 1: Planning
- Know how much time you have
The amount of time you have to plan can determine the size of your fundraiser. A small fundraiser, such as selling candy, can take a few days to a week to plan. A larger fundraiser such as a raffle, dinner, or dance may take weeks or months. Organizing is very time consuming, so plan accordingly.
- Know how much you can spend
The quality of your fundraiser will depend on how much you can spend. If you do not have much money to spend, it will be better to start with small fundraisers and work your way up. On the other hand, if you have lots to invest, go all out! However, if you are in desperate need of money and need to do a bigger fundraiser, reach out tolocal businesses for sponsorships. A lot of local businesses like to engage in their community, especially if it is good publicity for them. So contact as many businesses as you can!
It is important to price your product correctly to make a good profit. But realistically, you are selling to college students. Not many of us are willing to spend over $5, $20 if you are lucky. This is also an important factor to consider while brainstorming. You do not want to sell $50 chocolates to average college students because no one will buy it. Make sure your fundraising is reasonably priced so you can actually make a profit.
Once you know how much you need, you can search for ideas within a reasonable price range. This is the most fun part of the process. Fundraisers can be anything from holiday gift bags, selling snacks during finals, or even doing a 5k. There are so many different routes you can go down. It is important to remember that you need to sell things that people want to buy. Here are some fun Ideas:
Small fundraisers: candy grams, donut deliveries, flowers sales, face painting
Medium fundraisers: raffles, movie nights, dodgeball tournaments
Big fundraisers: dances, auctions, themed dinners, 5ks
- Make a spreadsheet and written plan
Often Fundraisers need to be approved. The best way to do this is by being organized and having a clear plan of action. This spreadsheet should include expenses for each item and a graph for each profit. In addition, have a written plan on how you intend to advertise and sell..
- Make a team
Doing a fundraiser is already tough enough, doing it on your own will be even harder. Enlist others to support you. There should be one person for advertising, one for budgeting, and one for organizing. Even within these groups, there should be multiple people helping out.
Phase 2: Tech
- Set up a Google form/website
Once you are all ready to announce your event, people need ways to order or sign up. Google forms are easy to make and turn into Google sheets to see results. If you are really dedicated, you can even make a personalized website.
- QR codes
Always remember to make a QR code linked to the website/form that you can put on posters. People do not care enough to look up a website. People may stop for a second to scan the QR code. There are many websites that you can use to create QR codes.
- Set up payment
Having a digital payment system broadens the amount of potential customers. A lot of college students do not carry cash on them, and this way parents can buy from home. To accommodate, use club members or set up a new Venmo or Zelle account.
Phase 3: Advertising
Make fun and visually appealing flyers, because a white page with black lettering will not draw the eye. Bright colors, cool fonts, and fun images are a must. There are many websites that can help you with this: my favorite is Canva. Remember to add a QR code to the flyers linking it to the form/website.
- Social media
Get everyone you know to repost your flyers on Instagram, Snapchat, and any other media you use. Even though not everyone will buy, any and all exposure can help.
- Send posters to parents Facebook
Parents love to send their kids presents whenever they can, especially for the holidays. Ask your parents to send it to the parents Facebook page for your campus.
- Set up a table
Sitting on the green or infront of the dining hall at a table smiling at people awkwardly is very humbling, but also necessary. If you talk to people and address them, they are more likely to buy from you. Even if you see a classmate or acquaintance, yell at them to come over and rope them into buying.
Though fundraising can be tough, with effort and teamwork it will all work out. Hopefully these tips have helped!