20 Easy Fundraising Tips for Colleges and Organizations

donations on campusOMG! You're the one in charge of the fundraising this year? Not to worry! We've got some tips that will help you and your college organization coordinate, communicate, and DOMINATE the fundraising scene this year! Check out these tips below, so you can make this look easy.

1. Have a Fundraiser Within a Fundraiser! 
You're hosting a Battle of the Bands?  Sell coffee or doughnuts to a captive audience!  Organizing a rummage sale?  Raffle off the coolest item that was donated, or have a 50/50 raffle (you collect $100 and raffle off $50).

2. Communicate
Good communication makes you look like a pro, and SignUpGenius makes it easy!  When a volunteer signs up, the site sends automatic email or text reminder.  You can also notify your group of changes quickly.

3. Choose a THEME
Select a theme for the event and go with it.  It's WAY more fun to brag about going to a luau.  SignUpGenius has different backgrounds and even allows you to insert logos or pictures to suit your theme. Check out sign up themes here!

4. Join Forces
Team up with another college organization so you have fresh ideas, help, and donors.  Plus, it gives your organization a chance to work with other folks.

5. Think Ahead
Look at the calendar and host your event when folks are in the mood to shell out the money.  Pick the last full weekend before summer vacation and have a car wash!  Select a popular football game and host a tailgating party.  Valentine's Day is coming up?  Use SignUpGenius to sell Sing-a-Grams or Candy-Grams.

6. Use Social Media
Use different social media channels to promote your event and solicit volunteers! The network that you have already built can be your biggest asset.

7. Create a PARTY atmosphere! 
College co-eds are famously social, so party on, party people!  Make your fundraising event a social opportunity, because everyone needs an excuse to get out of the library!  Fundraising is best when it's fun.

8. And the winner is…
Work a friendly competition into your event.  Have a costume or best-dressed contest and give away ribbons and seasonal prizes.  People will love it and look forward to a repeat next year!

Online volunteer sign up sheet form

Solicit donations from local businesses with a sign up. SAMPLE 

9. Go Old-School
Get your most enthusiastic members to sell tickets, wear a silly t-shirt, or pass out stickers and flyers promoting the event. Volunteers can sign up for these tasks via an online sign up!

10. Online sign ups make it easy to sell tickets and collect money for your event!
Online sign ups make it easy to sell tickets and collect money for your event! 

11. "Cash, Please"
Organize a capital campaign and use an online sign up to collect money. Your sign up can show a donation goal and track the amount raised.

12. Get moving!
Sitting still is the new smoking! Get folks out running or biking and use SignUpGenius for your donations/crowdfunding. Plan a 5k, 10k or even a fun run!

13. Have an Auction
Create a "Wish List" of donations, and then host an auction or bingo night.  Note to self: Wish lists are also super-awesome if you need items donated for a charity.

14. Keep Your Volunteers (and Yourself) on Track
Eliminate "no-shows." SignUpGenius notification emails gently remind volunteers when and where they are supposed to be.  Plus, you can easily manage changes on the go, or print out the sheet and bring it to the event for registration.

15. Know Your Numbers
There is nothing worse than preparing for too many or too few people.  Online sign ups help you eyeball RSVP's in advance so you know how many people to expect and plan accordingly.

16. Go Paperless 
Skip paper tickets and use SignUpGenius for event registration.  On the day of the event, print the sign up to use for registration.

17. Be Enthusiastic!
Carefully market your sign ups with enthusiastic words so that people get excited! Use a smidgeon of wittiness to get smiles.

18. Spread the Knowledge 
When the fundraising event is done, SignUpGenius allows you transfer the sign up between accounts, so it's easier for the person in charge of it next year!  Woohoo!

19. Show Your Appreciation
Be sure to thank volunteers and donors after the event.  SignUpGenius makes it easy to send a quick thank you email.  For the folks on your committee, buy them each a small thank you gift.  Whether it's a $5 coffee card, nail polish, or a scented candle, a little goes a long way, and they will remember the thoughtful gesture. 

20. Ask for Feedback
You will forget improvement ideas over the course of a year.  Type up lessons learned and use that document to refresh your memory or pass down to the next person.  Ask others for feedback and add the best ideas to the document.

With proper planning and execution, your next campus fundraiser will be a major success. Be sure to check back in and let us know how it went!

Emily Mathias is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC.