Fundraising is an important part of a chapter’s health and is something all chapters struggle with. During the SAA Fall Regional Call Meeting, we (the Development Committee) discussed ways to help your chapter fundraise. Successful fundraisers involve key steps at the initial planning stage including determination of how to best engage chapter members, analysis of the cost effectiveness, and establishment of goals, while also being cognizant of your university’s specific regulations for events.
A fundraiser is most likely to be successful when many or most chapter members are actively involved, which has a two-fold impact. Not only does it help to encourage each member to feel committed to the task at hand, but it also helps to spread the workload that may otherwise fall on a small group of executive leaders alone.
Cost-effectiveness is crucial for chapters to consider for any fundraiser at the onset of planning as it can help a chapter to discern whether an idea is profitable enough given the time, energy, and monetary costs involved. While the exact amount of profit may not be fully predictable, realistic results should be considered to prevent from disappointment and dissatisfaction. One specific example of something to consider with cost-effectiveness is keeping in mind your university’s schedule in order to optimize participation. Holding a fundraiser during finals week or on a Saturday during a home football game is unlikely to have maximum participation.
Establishing goals goes hand-in-hand with being able to have a realistic vision for a fundraiser. Likely the first thing included here is what your minimum goal is for a given fundraiser. Deciding the minimum goal can help to make the goal reasonable, and should your chapter exceed that goal, it is a nice bonus! A second component in the goal establishment stage is to choose how to spend the money raised through the fundraiser: will it go towards a specific cause, or general chapter funds?
While considering all of these aspects, it is essential to not lose sight of your university’s regulations for student groups. A social activity involving alcohol, for example, may be highly successful for a chapter at one university, but may not be feasible given restrictions at another university. If you do not already have access to such information, seek the advice of an individual involved with the student group rules and procedures.
Considering these various factors while pursuing a new fundraising idea can assist in greater likelihood for success. Here are a few fundraising ideas your chapter may consider!
- Take advantage of the seasons and holidays! For example, a fundraiser with a Halloween theme held in October can set your chapter up for success.
- Bake sales are a classic option that can be taken up to the next level with advertisement.
- Apparel fundraisers can be highly profitable option; however, they do require design as well as very detailed organization.
- Local businesses may be motivated to donate to your cause, you simply need to be willing to ask!
- Seek out a fundraiser with a local restaurant! Many may be willing to donate somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-20% of profits to non-profit organizations.
- Plan a social outing! This can be as simple as a dinner or going bowling.
Molly Mochel is a third-year AuD student at Purdue University. She is the past president of the Student Academy of Audiology chapter at Purdue and currently serves as a member of the SAA Development Committee. Some of her interests include adult diagnostics, hearing aids, and cochlear implants.
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