If you belong to any university clubs or groups, you know that you need to come up with new ways to raise funds every so often. Not all fundraising methods are created equal, though. While every club is different, these tried-and-true options almost always come through.
1. Bake Sales – They might be old-fashioned, but bake sales have a nearly unbeatable track record. Just about everyone loves sweets, especially when they are homemade. Time the sale during lunchtime, when everyone is hungry, and advertise well in advance. It’s hard to go wrong.
2. Naming Rights – Many companies and individuals jump at the chance to name something after themselves. Why not give them the opportunity to do so on campus? You can sell naming rights to something as basic as a desk or as grand as an entire department – provided there are plans to rename it.
3. Theme Parties – You can really have fun with this fundraising idea, and the possibilities are virtually endless. Popular ways to raise funds at theme parties include charging admission at the door, auctioning off items, running a 50/50 draw, and creating a prize pool to fund awards for the best costumes.
4. Auctions – As noted by fundraising experts at ABC Fundraising, this is one of several fundraising ideas that works best with products and services donated by local businesses. You can auction these items off to the highest bidders. It’s a win-win situation – the winners get a prize and your school or school organization gets the much-needed funds. Generate even more interest with auction items related to the school or organization.
5. Big Giveaways – Find a local business to donate a large prize, such as a trip or a car, and really make some money for your school. The ideal scenario involves a donated prize, which lets you maximize your fundraising. If that’s not possible and you have funds available in advance, you may have to buy the item before auctioning it off.
6. Guessing Games – Everyone loves easy-to-understand contests, and fewer are simpler than a basic guessing game. Numerical guessing games work well — like guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, but on a grander scale. Fill an enclosed campus space, like a classroom or cafeteria, with tennis balls. Then charge people to guess the number of balls.
7. Raffles – Raffles are another tried-and-true fundraising method — so long as you comply with the law. Scrounge up compelling prizes by asking everyone you know if they have interesting items that they would like to donate. Ask them to ask their friends too. You can also approach local businesses and ask if they would like to donate products or services.
8. Talent Shows – Use the nearly endless supply of on-campus talent to raise money for your school. Find outgoing people to volunteer as performers and charge admission to the talent shows. Everyone wins: Ticket holders will enjoy a great evening of varied entertainment, the performers get to practice their art, and your school will benefit from the money raised.
9. Dinners – Host a fancy, black-tie dinner with a high price per plate. If your college or university has a culinary school, ask its leadership if they would be willing to cater your event. That could save you a lot of money. Approach the music department about providing live music and the art department about setting up decorations. You’ll create a night to remember for guests and raise a lot of funds at the same time.
Gordon Schorr is an online educator and creative writer.