Getting Your Chapter to Boston: Fundraising Edition

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Although it only happens once a year, it’s probably the best five days of any PRSSA member’s college career — National Conference. While this professional development event can be an amazing opportunity, the financial burden can often be a barrier in getting students there.

Regardless if your Chapter aims to send two students or 20 students, fundraising can be an excellent solution for National Conference. Last year, American University’s PRSSA Chapter had tremendous success raising money for National Conference by incorporating all five of the fundraisers listed below. They were able to send 11 people to Conference. More impressive was that each person paid $60 out of pocket to attend! By following the steps we took last year, my Chapter is hoping to send even more students to National Conference this October.

Set up a GoFundMe page.

Start by sharing your Chapter’s page on all social media platforms. In addition, reach out to alumni from your Chapter and encourage them to share the page within their networks. The more people who share your page, the greater the chance that you’ll get donations.

Tip: Don’t overshare your GoFundMe page. You want people to see your page and donate but not getting annoyed that you’re sharing it every day.

Create a discount code with Uber or Lyft.

Team up with a car service app, such as Uber or Lyft. Then create some small flyers with the name of your Chapter’s code and directions of how to apply the code in the app. Ideas to promote your code can include: walking around campus handing out your flyers, sharing them at your school’s involvement fair, putting them out at interest meetings and sharing them on social media!

Tip: If there’s a big event off campus, have a few of your members stand outside some residence halls on campus to hand out your code to people looking to take a car service.

Host a pizza or donut fundraiser in residence halls on campus.

It’s a Friday night and everyone is craving some junk food, so throw a fundraiser! Ideally, set up the fundraiser in the front lobby of a residence hall on campus in order to catch students coming in and out of their dorms. This is also a great time to hand out your car service code!

Tip: If your school has its own currency, look into the possibility of accepting that form of currency. This will entice more students to use the school’s currency and thus buy more of what you’re selling.

Partner with an off-campus restaurant.

Reach out to an off-campus restaurant that is popular among students at your school. Work with the restaurant to determine what type of fundraiser will work best for your Chapter. For example, Chipotle offers to donate a portion of their proceeds to your cause on a specific day and time. They even let you choose the day and time frame you’d like!

Tip: In most cases, customers are required to mention a code at the checkout in order to ensure that part of their payment goes towards your fundraiser. Therefore, make sure to have representatives outside the restaurant promoting your fundraiser and sharing your code.

Host a Headshot Fundraiser.

Within the first few weeks of school, everyone is looking to update their headshots for upcoming internships and job opportunities. Maximize on this demand and put together a headshot fundraiser. Open the fundraiser to all students at your school. Not only can this produce a greater turnout but also promote your Chapter!

Tip: This fundraiser should be considered a perk of being a PRSSA member, so charge your members a dollar or two less than non-members. Don’t forget to promote the fundraiser all around campus!

What fundraisers have worked for your Chapter? Feel free to leave them below to inspire others to get to National Conference this October!

Emma Ingram is a junior studying public relations and strategic communication at American University in Washington DC. This year she is serving as the president of her school’s PRSSA Chapter. She was previously the Chapter’s vice president. Follow her on Twitter @emmaaingramm or connect with her on Linkedin.

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