Fundraising for Student Activities

Issue Based Fundraising

For those who give money: Wired Magazine has a great article titled How to be a Hero.” In their August 2008 issue they spell out how to donate money to a cause like, for example, eradicating childhood hunger.   Yet, I feel this article can just as easily be applied to the decisions community residents make on which cause to donate to through out the academic school year.  Taken verbatim, they say:

“Giving money away is easy. It’s giving it to the right people that’s hard. We asked Larry Brilliant, the guy in charge of’s $85 million humanitarian fund, to help us help those who need it most. His tips: Let your passion guide you. If your furious about climate change, invest your money there.  Depth of understanding and personal involvement will make you a smarter donor. Broaden your range of choices. Non profits are great, but sometimes for-profit ventures make a bigger impact. For instance, in developing countries, small and medium-size enterprises may do more good than charities by boosting the job market. Do your research. GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the Better Business Bureau publish financial reports for over a million non-profits. Use them to see where your cash actually goes. Volunteer. Giving is not just about money.”

How this can apply to our community.

One issue that easily determines if a student will participate in a school related activity is money.  At the time of need outside fundraising becomes necessary.  Often an activity itself requires fundraising as a means of imparting fundraising skills to students.  One key question is: Where do students fund raise to get the money? The answer often is that they fundraise from close networks such as family, and friends, or their local community.

As a resident of the community/parent: Let your passion guide you. Broaden your range of choices. Do your research. If you can’t contribute money give of yourself by vvolunteering.  Volunteer to participate as a tutor or give your professional expertise to a club at Columbia that performs in competitions throughout the school year.  A few hours donated by a lawyer in our community, or a resident with time to volunteer with a group of students after school or during one Saturday morning/afternoon could make the difference between the semi finals in a Mock trial competition and the final round in a county or regional competition.

If you want to dedicate some amount of money to a worthy cause, students in our community participate in a range of activities that require funding.  Sure, the the arts & sports, but certainly activities such as competitions & clubs as well. A student organization created for such a purpose at the local high school might provide students with the tools to fund raise.  From my experience all activities require some amount of $$$ for participate.  Often students are required to put together a budget.  Students have to be creative & tenacious to meet their funding goals.  Most likely, however, the key means of fundraising for a club is the bake sale or the car wash.  With regard to individual fundraising for club related activities, I had personal experience as a student at Columbia.   To attend the Junior Statesman Organization’s Summer Program at Princeton, NJ the summer before my Junior year I individually fundraised about $1000.   My parents contributed.  The scholarship I received from JSA helped.  In addition the Kiwanis Club in Maplewood provided me with a partial scholarship that helped as well, as did other donor’s I reached out to.  I was able to fund raise because the tools sent to me by the national organization were effective, and because I was creative in my approach &  dedicated to my goal.  I pushed hard to attend and I was blessed enough to succeed in my fundraising.

Consider, however, that there are students who try, and don’t meet necessary fundraising goals.

My Idea. It would be amazing if community members/parents of children in various clubs and organizations at CHS put X$ towards next years Student ActivityX/ClubX budget, essentially carrying funds forward. An amount as little as $10, or as much as desired can make the difference between one CHS student attending a conference and sending a delegation the following year.  Students attending a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA ) Conference or Junior Statesman of America (JSA) Convention out-of-state would be appreciative.  If 5 community members/parents whose kids participated in 201x contributed $10 each for participating 2008 students, $50 would be in their budget.

In HS we dream of such successful bake sales.

A club that requires $15 dues per member to a national organization would be able to automatically pay the dues for 3 students, or the club could contribute money in a pot for all participating students.  The money in the pot would reduce the dues for each student participating by a percentage.  That would mean less money for students themselves to fundraise for club related activities.  That itself would take a load of their shoulders, and would send a personal sign of community support.

If community members/parents participated in this for a variety of individual clubs, there would never be a shortage of students interested in participating in clubs year to year.  More students would potentially walk away from the high school experience with more memories and stronger goals and aspirations.  Participating wouldn’t be limited by a parent’s current income, but rather participation would be as expansive as a student’s interest. Consider this:  If one child needs assistance, chances are there is a student not identified who does as well.

© 2010 W. S. Hughes


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Y.S. says:

    Thanks for the tips and very good points. We could all offer so many opportunities to needy kids/students by contributing a little, frequently. So, ahem, are you a donor to CHS? RU? Lol, I know the answer to the latter.

  2. Y.S., I’m currently not a donor to CHS monetarily, however, as an alumnus I hope that, by developing this website, I can contribute something equally as tangible. To answer your second question, you are correct, with the means to do so, I would donate to CHS. – w

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