At the annual international conference for the brightest young minds in the marketing industry, thousands gathered to hear from the best- both the best professionals and the best students in marketing. Although they were all great and had excellent information, one group caught my attention: the fundraisers.
The idea of raising money in a collegiate setting is downright scary; unless you’re the bookstore or bar, students are hard-pressed to open their wallets. Knowing this, I was to the brim with excitement to hear from some of the students who lead successful collegiate fundraisers.
Well, my excitement was not disappointed, and I left the session with new insight and three main ideas:
Overstate your goals.
This first piece of information may sound silly, but it’s definitely understated in the fundraising world! According to one speaker, it’s better to overextend your goals, that way you’re always striving for more. The way they put it was this: “Wouldn’t you rather set your goal for $10,000 and fall short at $8,000 than simply achieve a lower goal of $5,000?”.
Stand as an opportunity to partner, not to be a charity.
This insight came about when somebody asked how to compete with charities that promote food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless, etc…- a good question, how are we supposed to compete?! The answer is simple… don’t! Instead of trying to ask for a donation from the community, offer a partnership. As young business professionals, we have a lot to offer: the latest marketing insights, social media skills, and access to thousands of students at our college! If we market ourselves as business people with opportunities for the companies we are asking from, we are branding ourselves in a profitable, new light.
Don’t go with the flow, create the news.
What does it mean to ‘create the news’? Well, instead of tacking your own fundraisers on to other events, such as concession stands or raffle tickets, focus on having large scale events. One school talked about a Business Fashion Show while another discussed their ever popular Golf Tournament. These events include sponsors, community outreach, and, most importantly, a large amount of money at the end! These events include heavy planning and work on the front end, but the end results show off the hard work that was put in! Even more, these events require actually applying our marketing skills, so it’s a win-win for those involved!
I could go on and on about all of the different and creative ideas these students had- they were truly amazing! Although some ideas may work for our chapter, and others not so much, the inspiration and words of advice that came from this session made me excited to grow the SJFC AMA fundraising efforts into something larger and greater than it has ever been!