Make money for college groups by catering to a young audience with limited resources
School fundraising on a college campus is a subject that warrants anthropological study. The university setting is teeming with eager groups led by passionate students who want to raise money to support special interests.
It’s also mostly comprised of students on tight budgets with little expendable income, which means that philanthropic endeavors are challenging to execute. This fascinating mix of social and economic factors makes it a truly unique fundraising environment.
Luckily, Big Fundraising Ideas has a product or brochure that meets the unique needs of every audience.
Follow this roadmap to increase your chances of fundraising success on the college campus, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box:
- Choose a Smart Fundraising Product
- Time Your Fundraiser Strategically
- Leverage Social Media Fundraising
- Make Fundraising Leadership Opportunities
Choose a Smart Fundraising Product
Choosing the right fundraising product can be the most critical piece of a campus fundraiser. College students have few luxuries, especially as undergraduate students that live, eat and sleep on the school campus. This means that some fundraising products don’t make much sense for a college audience.
Cookie dough, for example, is probably a no-go. Few students have the storage space to keep cookie dough—or any frozen dessert—on hand. Gourmet kitchenware is also probably not something that will be immediately useful to the college student.
With this in mind, stick to something simple. Anyone who’s walked a quad before knows that the cacophony of student organizations can make it difficult for a money-raising group to stand out. Picking one appealing product you can pierce through the noise with may improve your results and ease the fundraising process. Consider items such as:
- Discount card fundraisers that will save students more money than they spend over time.
- Cheap treats, such as a 50¢ lollipop fundraiser item or a $1.00 candy bar fundraiser product, allows students to enjoy a quick snack between classes.
Volume will be your key metric in college settings, since higher price points won’t appeal to the vast majority of students. Focus on things that can bring instant gratification to the student on-the-go.
Time Your Fundraiser Strategically
Fundraising at the wrong time during a college semester can be fatal to success. Students are leading hectic lives, and you want to catch them at financially optimal moments where finals and football games aren’t competing with your message.
Given these considerations, fundraising at the very beginning of a semester is the most ideal. With financial aid disbursements happening early in the spring and fall, and with student organizations just getting off the ground for the year, hosting an early fundraiser will afford you an audience that is more likely to spend a little cash for a good cause. It will also prevent you from having to compete with dozens of other groups that may wait to host fundraisers until the semester is in full swing. When it comes to college fundraising, the early bird may very well get the worm!
Avoid exams, big sporting weeks, and holidays, and aim for semester lulls. This may mean working with your group to plan the fundraising timeline before school starts, but it could pay big dividends by helping you meet an important fundraising goal.
Leverage Social Media Fundraising
College students today are more plugged in than ever. Take advantage of the fact that students almost constantly have some sort of screen in front of them with a social media app open. Let students know about their opportunity to score affordable fundraising products while doing some good.
Make sure members of your group share about the fundraiser on their personal social media channels, if they are willing. Personal networks among students have the potential to create buzz and generate interest when opportunities for face-to-face interaction may be limited to discreet spaces in common areas. These networks can also let family and friends beyond the campus know about your fundraiser and give remote relatives a chance to participate.
Consider some of our social media fundraising strategies to amplify your message without spending a dime.
Make Fundraising Leadership Opportunities
Participation in college fundraisers will likely be significantly more limited than in elementary school. Traditional prize programs are likely stronger incentives for younger audiences in traditional elementary, middle, and high school settings. College students are looking for something different in a fundraiser: experience.
With your college student group, discuss the possibility of setting up a fundraising committee, where members can take on certain roles and responsibilities, such as marketing, finance, and student engagement. Your team members will appreciate the chance to add something to their resume, and they’ll be incentivized to meaningfully contribute to the fundraising efforts.