Educating the next generation is highly rewarding, but it can also be stressful to raise funds to continue this legacy.
Coming up with a stream of effective and creative college fundraising ideas can be a big challenge — especially if you try to do a different set of fundraisers every year.
We’ve rounded up some of the fundraising ideas your college can use to bring in more donations.
Alumni Fundraising Tips
Your alumni are a powerful part of your college fundraising strategy. They’re living proof of your college’s success, after all!
Building an emotional connection with your alumni is crucial for college fundraising. Encourage a few of your alumni to get involved in your donor communications.
They can be the voice of some of your emails to donors or social media posts, for example. It acts as a strong form of social proof of why other alumni should support your campaign and offers a personal feel.
Peer-to-peer fundraising can harness the enthusiasm and commitment of your alumni to reach out to new donors.
Social media can also be useful in engaging alumni donors. Ask them to tag their room-mates, for example. Piggybacking off their memories of college life can help forge a personal connection that boosts your fundraising efforts.
Tapping into the competitiveness that many of your alumni will have felt in their college days is another smart move. Pit different class years or teams in a race to see who can donate more.
Fundraising Events For Colleges
Stuck for ideas for your next college fundraiser and don’t want to fall back on the usual tried-and-tested options? We’ve got you covered with these ideas:
1. Naming Contests
Auction off the name of a room, a piece of equipment, or a campus feature (including trees and benches) to the highest bidder and let them choose the long-term name.
Pro tip: If you want to do this as a regular fundraiser, you can auction off the name for a set period — anything from 1-5 years can work well, for example. Once the time has passed, you can auction off the name again.
2. Kissing Booths
Kissing booths are likely to be a popular fundraiser amongst students. It’s a feel-good fundraiser, which can be highly successful.
It’s also a low maintenance option. At its simplest, you need a booth, a volunteer, and some signage.
Pro tip: Secure more attention for your kissing booth by teaming up with a local celebrity. If you can encourage a high-profile volunteer for your kissing booth, you’re more likely to receive higher donations. People will happily pay more to kiss someone who is usually off-limits or unattainable!
3. Rule Breaking Auctions
Most students will happily donate for the chance to break certain campus rules, especially social ones.
The highest bidder wins the opportunity to break a rule of their choice — health and safety permitting, of course!
4. Sell “Moving In” Packages For New Students
Make up pre-prepared care packages in time for new students to arrive at your college.
These can contain essential items that they’ll need on campus, including coffee, non-perishable food items, earplugs, slippers, and hot water bottles.
Since these types of items are often left behind, students will likely be grateful for an easy opportunity to have them to hand. Sell your “moving in” packages in exchange for donations.
5. Lip Sync Contests
A lip sync contest is a great way to put a new twist on karaoke.
Since there’s no singing involved, participants don’t have to worry about embarrassing themselves in front of their peers. The focus is on the overall performance, rather than vocal talent.
You’ll likely get plenty of students who are interested in getting involved. This may extend to the broader community too.
Recruit some judges from the college community or local community to judge the battles and declare winners.
Charge an entry fee to watch and ask attendees to vote for their favorites.
6. 80’s Prom Nights
Hosting an 80’s prom night can be an effective college fundraising idea. Ask all attendees to dress up in 80’s-style fashion and play big hits from the ’80s.
Pro tip: For maximum impact, organize it to coincide with a Parents Weekend so that students can get their families involved too. Most parents will have a blast reliving the ’80s!
9. Dorm Decorating
Every student loves putting their personal touch in their dorm room. Turn this into a fundraising opportunity by encouraging organization members to decorate dorms in exchange for donations.
Fundraising Tips For College Clubs and Sororities
A few tips for raising funds for organizations and sororities include:
1. Set Up a Fundraising Committee
Organize a group of volunteers who will act as a fundraising committee. You’ll want to cover areas such as organization and marketing, for example. Play to the strengths of everyone on the committee when you assign roles.
2. Work Out Your Budget
How much budget does your group have to raise funds for your college club or sorority?
3. Who Will Your Donors Be?
Your fundraising activities will likely be influenced by who your donors are.
For example, if you’re fundraising through students at your college, think about fundraising events that will appeal to them specifically.
Or maybe you’ll be fundraising in the local community instead, and you’ll look to do more community-based events.
Here’s a detailed guide we have written dedicated to clubs and sororities – 18 Fundraising Ideas for Clubs and Organizations
Over to You
College fundraising can be highly stressful, but it can also be a lot of fun.
Whatever college fundraising ideas you choose, make sure it’s easy for people to support your campaign and donate to your college.
Donation pages are an easy way to accept donations, especially from anyone who can’t attend your fundraising events.
Check out our nonprofit blog for more tips on fundraising and maximizing donations.