Student organizations have developed a number of ways to raise funds for their organizations through activities that allow other students to participate. Fundraising on campus requires a variety of permissions depending on the type of event, be sure to work with your campus advisor to ensure your organization is following the proper procedures and guidelines for student organization fundraising.
Auctions, benefit concerts, working campus events, donations by other student organizations, and sales of t-shirts and merchandise all have the potential to raise funds for the student organization and publicize the work of the group through wide student-involvement.
Student organizations are allowed and encouraged to charge membership fees as a component of membership in student organizations. The membership fees may be used to fund student organization operations, programs and activities.
Your fellow students are frequently interested in supporting activities by their peers and often respond to special events (e.g. benefit concerts, films, dances) as well as requests to contribute their time.
Student Government Association
Student Government Association assists organizations in funding their projects, operations, and programs. To request funding from SGA, your group must participate in the standard allocation process. SGA does not generally fund donations or gifts to charity. This defeats the purpose of a group’s efforts to raise money for a cause.
One of the oldest and most important maxims in fundraising is that “people give to people.” When you consider that nearly 90% of all money contributed to non-profit organizations in the U.S. (including bequests) comes from individual donors, it becomes abundantly clear why individual donors are extremely important.
In addition to the total amounts contributed, individuals also provide the most flexibility in their terms. Usually there are no special restrictions on the type of things to which individuals will donate, unlike most corporations and foundations. Individuals will give to support annual operating expenses, projects, salaries, special projects, or other needs. Individuals also are goodwill ambassadors for your organization, helping to spread the word about your organization to friends, family, and alumni. (Individuals also work in corporations and foundations and can influence decisions!)
Common sense suggests, and fundraising experience confirms, that people are more likely to give when they have a personal connection to the organization or the solicitor. It is also true that the person most likely to contribute to your organization is someone who has already donated once. Therefore, when generating a list of people to solicit, start with your organization’s core supporters and work outward to friends, relatives, alumni, clients, and then to the friends of those people.
Successful fundraising starts with identifying your alumni, communicating with them regularly, and keeping accurate records of their contributions and their addresses. The Office of Student Involvement (in combination with the Office of Annual Giving Alumni and Development) can help by providing mailing lists and spreadsheets of your alumni (if they recorded membership in your group on their graduation checklist). Please allow two weeks for the processing of mailing labels and spreadsheet requests.
You may contact your alumni and other donors by e-mail once you have received permission for fundraising from the Office of Student Involvement and the Office of Annual Giving Alumni and Development. If you intend to solicit contributions by e-mail you should include an “opt out” link by which individuals can request to be removed from the e-mail list.
Your group may request donations from businesses. Business should be provided with a professional letter on university or organization letterhead in addition to a visit from a representative of the student organization. Group, program, or event descriptions and donations requested should be included in the letter. The Office of Student Involvement must approve the letter prior to providing it to businesses.
Depending on the nature of your organization or programs, grants may be available for your organization to use. To learn more about grant opportunities, contact the Office of Student Involvement or the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.