I was recently texting a SAA member from another state, and she said something that really stuck with me. “We have such amazing ideas, but we can’t get the numbers.” She was talking about the divide between having great fundraising ideas, yet having disappointing member and community turn out. Alternatively, I’m also aware of other chapters who struggle to come up with exciting ideas, yet have a community that’s excited to support them. Basically, fundraising is hard no matter how you flip the coin!
Thankfully, there is hope in achieving great fundraising initiatives despite these difficulties. My local SAA chapter at the University of Washington experienced overwhelming success this summer as we fundraised for our department’s annual trip to Guatemala, and I think that there are valuable lessons to be learned from the achievements (and setbacks ) we had along the journey. I’ve come up with a short list of what I think are the most important things to keep in mind as you plan.
- Fundraise small and often. A fundraiser doesn’t have to be a huge event. As we raised funds for our trip to Guatemala, we had many ongoing events, – some even overlapping. That way, even if one didn’t see a ton of success, there was always another avenue to be pursued and something else to turn the focus toward. It kept morale high and the momentum going.
- Delegate tasks and do your part. While you may have a fundraising chair, it is so helpful to have a team of individuals willing to brainstorm ideas, come up with action plans, and run the events. I know that our success was a team effort: everyone pitched in their time, ideas, and resources to make the fundraisers work.
- Pick a cause that matters and let people know about it. This cause should matter to you and your target audience, and you should make the purpose of your fundraising clear. For example, at UW we are currently going to host a sponsored bake sale. Proceeds will help our chapter purchase fleece and other materials needed to make tie-blankets for our local Project Linus chapter. By setting up a tent in our clinic and at our campus union for a couple of days, we will be able to promote a local bakery, meet people on our campus and hopefully garner more interest in audiology, and we will earn funds to host a blanket-making event. A win-win-win!
- Do your research. It can be tempting to do restaurant fundraisers, like Chipotle, or other business sponsored events, but be sure that you understand exactly what is required for attendance. We have been burned before by not meeting a minimum quota and the entire fundraiser ended up being for naught.
- Finally, be creative! There is absolutely nothing wrong with a bake sale (who doesn’t love treats??) or a food drive, but sometimes to get numbers up you need to try something new. Some of our most successful fundraisers have been ones that we never tried before: a Paint & Sip event at a brewery, a t-shirt fundraiser through Bonfire, and a silent (and regular) auction in conjunction with our local Rotary Club.
Fundraising is a necessary but sometimes daunting task. Striking a balance between thoughtful ideas and great turnout can be challenging. However, it isn’t impossible, and hopefully these tips and tricks can help you get closer to that harmony.
Anna Hutton is a second-year audiology student at the University of Washington. She is the SAA State Ambassador for Washington as well as the secretary of her local SAA chapter. Her interests are in pediatric diagnostics and rehabilitation. When not working on becoming America’s Next Top Audiologist, you can probably find her at a hot yoga studio, reading at Starbucks, or at home cooking.
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 SAA 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…
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…