College is stressful and worry about finances only adds to a student’s anxiety. Whether you are an individual student or the person in charge of fundraising for your club or organization, we have an idea for you. Our list of college fundraising ideas has been tried and tested for success. We have ideas for individual students, small groups, and college clubs of every size. Some of our ideas will be familiar, but time has shown they continue to be successful sources of income for college students. Whichever fund-raising idea you choose, being enthusiastic and excited will help guarantee success.
Fundraising Ideas for College Students
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A college education is expensive. Sure, one can borrow the money, but that means years of making payments on those college loans. A wise student helps defray their expenses by paying as much as possible while taking classes. With this in mind, we present a listing of some excellent ways for a college student to earn money.
Use Your Saturdays Doing Odd Jobs
Mow lawns, wash windows, houseclean, wash and fold laundry for a local family, grocery shop, baby sit – the list of chores you can do for money is nearly endless. Research the going rate for various jobs and charge slightly less to boost interest. See if you can get some regular gigs, such as mowing lawns for a set number of people every few weeks.
Tutor Other Students
Are you great at math or a foreign language? Consider tutoring fellow students. Or check with local elementary and high schools to find younger students to tutor. You can set your tutoring hours around your class schedule.
If you crochet, paint, knit, or make jewelry or candles, consider selling what you create to friends and dorm-mates. You can spend the summer months increasing your inventory. Consider creating a webpage for your product or use one of many of the on-line services available. Another idea is to find something to sell from a company such as t-shirts with a school club or community logo. Take pre-orders to keep from purchasing items you cannot sell.
Offer a Service
Use your evenings and weekends offering services to other students and community families. Shovel snow in the winter, help people pack and move, run errands – the options are only limited by your imagination. For example, you could plan and throw kids’ birthday parties. Print some business cards or create flyers to begin; soon word-of-mouth should provide a plethora of clients.
Get a Job
Yes, you are busy and want to have fun in college. But if your goal is to graduate without being tremendously in debt, consider a part-time job at a local business. Working at a fast food restaurant may not appeal to you, but at least you will get some free food. Also check out work-study programs on campus as they usually provide work hours for when you are not in class.
Fundraising Ideas for College Clubs
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Participating in a college club provides many opportunities, among them:
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Making friends that can last a lifetime
Developing a community of individuals who share a common interest
Forming associations that can help one in the future in their chosen profession
Clubs require funds for their events and projects, so fundraising is a necessary part of club life. If you need a really successful and profitable fundraising event or idea for your college club, consider the following before you begin:
Your fundraiser should be relatively inexpensive to do.
Your fundraiser should not be labor intensive.
Choose a convenient time and place for your fundraiser.
Consider combining one or more fundraiser to make a larger, more profitable fundraising event.
Use the Internet
The world is available for your fund-raising efforts when you use the internet.
Hold an On-line Auction
Everyone is familiar with eBay, but there are some other online auction sites that work well for college fundraising:
Their website states, “We support many worthy causes representing a number of cause categories. Each auction brings much-needed funds to hundreds of non-profit and education organizations.” Auctions are either organized alphabetically by name of the organization or one can post items to be listed under various categories, such as pet care, food, travel, etc.
Auctions can be “free” on this site, with a 5% “Online Auction Performance Fee.” In other words, you only pay if you sell items. The site provides the opportunity to create your own fundraising webpage.
There are other auction and crowd funding sites available, some charging fees for their use. A Google search will give you several options. Remember that It takes time to plan and carry out any on-line auction. Whichever site you choose to use, it is imperative you have one or more responsible individuals to price and deliver items sold. An auction is only effective if it is run well.
Make an Instructional Video
An instructional or tutorial video can provide long-term revenue for your club or association. Have students create a quality video, perhaps on how to raise funds for a campus club. Or have upper-class students who have gained proficiency in their major share their expertise in a how-to video.
Create a Website
You can create a continuous source of funding using a club website to promote all of your fun-raising activities. Add regular emails to alumni or a monthly fundraising newsletter. Post all of your events and don’t forget to thank your contributors.
Host an Event
People are always looking for entertainment and if you add food, you have a fundraising opportunity the whole community can enjoy. To host an event successfully, follow these easy steps:
Get buy-in from club members
Everyone needs to be willing to participate for your fundraising event to be successful. Get commitments from club members to help with the fundraising event.
Pick a date
Make sure you allow plenty of time for preparation and that there are not other events planned for the same time. There is nothing quite as disappointing as having everything ready and no participants due to competition from another fundraising event. If you choose a holiday, remember that many students go home and will not be available to help.
You will spend less on your event if you find sponsors or businesses to contribute in exchange for some promotion. A local brewery might provide the beer, a bakery the bread, and so on.
Throw a Culturally Themed Dinner Party
A Mexican Fiesta, Night in Italy, or Asian Buffet are only a few ideas for a culturally themed party. Charge for the meal and have an associated fundraiser, such as a piñata contest with your fiesta charging a fee for those who wish to take a turn trying to break a goody-filled piñata. Add some gift certificates and small useful items such as pens and pencils, to make the winning more desirable.
Formal Dinner Party
Recruit club members to act as waiters and go all out with decorations – table cloths, candles, and short flowered centerpieces. (You don’t want to inhibit conversation with tall flowers!) Find a local caterer or restaurant to provide the food. They may be willing to do so at cost for the exposure to new customers. Charge a reasonable price for the meal and provide entertainment, maybe combine your dinner with a talent show or auction.
Set up a Food Booth
You will need campus permission and make sure you check health regulations in your area before you begin. Cinco de Mayo is a perfect time to set up a booth offering nachos or tacos – quick, easy, and inexpensive to make and serve. If the demand is there, you can sell food, such as sandwiches or baked potatoes with toppings frequently.
Host a Game Night
Set up card tables and board games for a night of fun. Have winners play winners and keep track of the number of wins individuals have until you have one grand champion. You can also have a spelling bee, play Trivial Pursuit, Checkers, Scrabble, or Twister and offer the winners prizes. Charge a fee for attending your game night, offer free popcorn and sell other snack items.
Have a Karaoke Party
Rent a karaoke machine for a fun party. Charge admission and sell concession snacks. Have the audience vote for the best participant and offer a prize for the best performance of the night.
Sell Something to Earn Money
Research on-line for reputable companies providing merchandize to sell, such as t-shirts, coffee cups, or other merchandise promoting your club. Or sell any food, cards, or other item you think students or community members might be interested in purchasing.
Collect all the items club members no longer want or need and create a huge garage sale. You can even have club members get items from their families. Set a weekend for gathering and pricing merchandize and schedule your sale for the following weekend.
Used Book Sale
Plan ahead and save up student books for a few years and then have a campus book sale. Students are always seeking academic texts at a reasonable price.
Holidays provide perfect opportunities for making money. Roses on Mothers’ Day and Valentine’s Day; Balloons for Fathers’ Day; bags or baskets of candy for any occasion, are just a few of the ideas you might find successful. You can take pre-orders or set up a stall for selling your wares.
Some Quick and Easy College Fundraising Ideas for Clubs
Fundraising does not require a tremendous amount of time or money. Some of the following ideas will be familiar, but time has shown they continue to be successful.
Although you may think a car wash doesn’t sound very original, they do provide funds with very little investment. A good place to hold one is a local auto part store parking lot on a Saturday morning. You can also use a park, church parking lot, or another large public area and add another fund-raising activity, such as a bake sale or book sale. You can even add live music and sell food.
Jellybean or Marble Count
Fill a large jar with jellybeans or marbles and ask people to pay a small amount for each guess they make. The winner receives a gift certificate to a local restaurant for a meal or a business willing to donate some item.
Talk to a local nursery about either donating plants or offering them at cost or a discount. Then sell the plants to local community members from a booth set up in front of a store or in a well-traveled public area.
Walk-a-thon or Dance-a-than
Choose a date when the weather is clear and the air quality is good for your walk-a-thon. Designate a route and have pledge forms for club members to share with friends and family. For your dance-a-thon, have forms for people to pledge so much for each hour and/or minute a couple remains on the floor. Offer a prize to the couple who lasts the longest time.
Raffle off a Large Item
A boat, car, motorcycle, or high-end bike all draw great interest to a raffle. You will need to sell many tickets to cover the cost of a large item and still make a profit, so you need to allow plenty of time for ticket sales and involve the community as well as students.
Your club will earn money hosting a mini-carnival. Purchase inexpensive prizes at a local dollar store. Research on-line for game ideas. Charge admission or sell tickets for rides and games. Sell food such as popcorn, hot dogs, and drinks.
Coupon Book Sale
Have coupon books printed with rewards and discounts donated by local businesses. Sell them to students and community members. Try to offer a wide variety, such as restaurant discounts, beauty services, and entertainment.
Holiday Ornament Sale or Gift Wrapping
Purchase inexpensive ornaments and have a decorating night with all club members participating. Add glitter, sequins, or paint designs to enhance appearance and then sell them individually or in groups of six to eight. Your club can also offer gift wrapping. Some stores will allow you to set up a gift-wrapping service for their customers.
Whether you are a student looking to defray college expenses or a club or organization seeking funds for your activities and events, there are many ways to earn money for your needs. In addition to the ideas we have listed here, try the following:
If you are an individual seeking funds, ask friends and relatives for a one time or monthly donation. Ten people donating $25 each month becomes $250 of steady income.
Contact club or association alumni for donations. If they loved their time with the group, they are likely to be willing to donate.
Create an email list of likely contributors. Send them newsletters of club happenings and events and occasionally ask for a contribution or sponsorship.
The keys to successful fundraising for college funds are creativity and consistency. If you pursue money with originality and vigor, you will be successful in your fundraising endeavors.
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