College & University Fundraising Ideas
College and university fundraising campaigns are common institutional advancement strategies that can be quite effective. University faculty and students often participate in fundraising initiatives to earn money for school developmental projects, new technology and materials, as well as to fund extracurricular activities. University fundraising projects benefit from a major resource: people. Whether the fundraiser is sponsored by the university or conducted by a student organization, the wealth of interested people —students, faculty, social organizations, sports teams, and alumni — is a huge advantage when it comes to fundraising for universities. Here we review how to select the best fundraising activity for your organization and some of the best university fundraising ideas.
Selecting a College or University Fundraising Campaign
Deciding on the type of fundraising campaign your college or university will engage in is an important first planning step. There are many different types of fundraising initiatives available to universities and institutions of higher education including:
- Organizing a sales drive or building a school eCommerce store to sell merchandise
- Planning an exciting fundraising activity or event
- Running an online auction or fundraising raffle
- Crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns (P2P campaigns)
- Collecting online donations via Fund-a-Need campaigns
So how do you select the best university fundraising strategy? Be sure to consider the following items when selecting a university fundraising idea or campaign.
Identify your Audience
One important question to ask when planning any fundraiser is identifying your target audience. For university and college fundraisers, this is usually one of the easier questions to answer, as the audience is typically the college’s students and faculty. And, whether they are current students or alumni, they have one thing in common, dedication to the university. If you plan to sell merchandise, think about branded and one-of-a-kind offerings—such as annual calendars with highlights from the school year. Selling university-related objects like logo-emblazoned hats and shirts are always easy to produce and popular with alumni and students alike. Planning fun networking events where university students, faculty, and alumni can mingle while supporting a great cause are also usually highly successful.
Review your Budget and Available Resources
Let’s face it, to raise money you need resources. Reviewing financial goals and preparing a fundraising event budget are important steps to planning a successful university fundraising project. Here again, colleges typically have an advantage in that their campus can provide indoor and outdoor spaces for fundraising events at no cost.
Successful fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally, your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in institutional advancement. In addition, working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation.
Time is of the Essence for College Fundraising
College students are busy with homework, sports, college clubs, and various social engagements. Making your college fundraiser easy for students to participate, without consuming too much time will make it much more appealing. This is one reason online fundraising has become so popular for colleges. When students aren’t in class, at practice, or running around with friends, chances are they are checking email, downloading iTunes, or updating their Facebook or other social media pages. This is when they are most attentive. Our crowdfunding software platform allows students to personalize their website page, upload photos and videos, set fundraising goals, and track their success against other students, making fundraising a fun, interactive, and competitive environment.
There are Valuable Skills and Lessons to be Learned
The individuals organizing college fundraisers are young adults, who are discovering their capabilities. They have ideas, are creative and motivated, and have the ability to lead and inspire their peers. A fundraising campaign is a great way for students to work together as a team while learning about philanthropy, organizational and management skills (planning budgets and logistics), and establishing goals and plans to accomplish them. These are all valuable lessons that they can take with them in their professional lives and a few may even be interested in becoming fundraising professionals.
Our #1 University Fundraising Idea: Active Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns
The best campaigns for Universities and colleges can be nonprofit crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaigns (P2P). These campaigns allow students to fundraise via their social network of friends and family and don’t require a lot of upfront costs. Active P2P events can draw the community together in a fun day of walking, bike riding or bowling, and creating community. It’s easy to get student groups excited about that.
Some examples of P2P campaigns that make great university fundraising ideas are below.
Types of Peer to Peer & Crowdfunding Events for University Fundraising
Unique P2P Events
DoJiggy Crowdfunding Software Makes University Fundraising Campaigns Easy
Utilizing P2P crowdfunding software is a must for peer-to-peer events. Here’s how it works. Each of your event participants creates and manages their personal fundraising page and invites friends and family to support your college or student organization through secure, online donations.
- Provide fundraisers with personal fundraising pages to customize and promote your fundraiser
- Fundraising thermometers and leaderboards display top team and student fundraisers and promote competition, so you raise more
- Embedded Social Media share links encourage supporters to share the event with friends and family
- The personal control panel allows fundraisers to customize their personal and team pages and check fundraising progress
- Administrators can easily enter checks and off-line donations at no additional cost
We can help your university or college organization more effectively run fundraising campaigns – for free.
Planning a Peer to Peer College or University Fundraising Campaign
Step 1: Assemble a Leadership Team
Successful fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally, your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in the organization’s success. In addition, working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation.
Step 2: Determine Logistics & Financial Goals
This one is pretty straightforward. Your leadership team will need to determine the date and location of your fundraising event as soon as possible in the planning process. To ensure the success of your fundraising event, be sure to give yourselves enough time to manage all of the logistics. You generally want to have at least 6 months to plan a walkathon or charity gala, and many successful events start planning a year in advance.
Don’t forget to determine financial goals and create a fundraising budget to help you get there.
Step 3: Implement Peer to Peer Software
Peer-to-peer Crowdfunding software is a must for P2P fundraisers. Our crowdfunding software platform is designed specifically for walk-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, golf marathons, and any other type of event where individual and team participants solicit and track donations and pledges. Each of your event participants creates and manages their personal fundraising page and invites friends and family to support your organization through secure, online donations. Administrators configure a minimum donation goal for participants, as well as the types of donations and pledges accepted.
Step 4: Recruit Participants and Sponsors
Start with your network: When it comes time to recruit participants and volunteers, nothing will be more important than your network and your leadership branch. These people are often well established in the University community and will not only participate but will ask associates, friends, and family members to participate as well. Encourage this! Don’t forget your sponsors. Often, companies value opportunities to engage their workforce in community activities. Therefore, it is important to ask companies not only for sponsorship to help offset the event costs but also for their participation. Team registrations offer a fun and easy way for companies to participate.
Understanding and articulating the ways in which prospective sponsors benefit from working with your organization is crucial. Everyone likes to help out a great cause; however, companies are looking for a win-win relationship. Be able to articulate exactly what your event will do for the companies that you seek sponsorship from before you speak with them. When speaking with potential sponsors, stay open to possible benefits you may have missed and look for opportunities to create more value.
Promote Your Fundraiser Widely. Marketing and promotion will serve an important purpose in raising awareness, drawing participants and donors, and cultivating action. Most organizations utilize a variety of media for getting the word out, including branding the event and creating print and promotional materials to help spread the word (i.e. peer-to-peer event flyers, signage, brochures, stickers). You’ll also want to develop a Social Media and Public Relations Campaign to create a buzz within the college and the local community.
Step 5: Manage Donations Online
One of the most important considerations when planning a P2P campaign for your University is how to successfully manage donations and pledges. After all, isn’t raising money your primary task in these student activities? Organizers will need a secure and easy way to track and manage the numerous donations collected from your event participants.
15+ More Great University and College Fundraising Ideas
Fundraising for University Groups and College Clubs
Whether a university fundraiser is sponsored by the university or conducted by a student organization, there is often a need to raise dollars for institutional development projects, new technology and materials, as well as to fund extracurricular activities and social organizations. DoJiggy is dedicated to helping university students, faculty, teams, and social organizations better plan, manage and execute university fundraising strategies. With our group fundraising pages, we strive to provide the best collection of resources to make your sorority, fraternity, and other group fundraising efforts more successful.
There are many different types of university fundraising initiatives such as collecting online donations, organizing a sales drive, or planning an exciting fundraising event. The following resources are dedicated to helping you choose which type of fundraiser is right for your student group, as well as providing guidelines to help you create a successful university fundraising campaign. We’ve also provided a great overview of popular college fundraising themes to help get the creative juices flowing and outlined some fundraising tips to help you establish goals, identify potential donors, create timelines, and promote and manage your college fundraising initiative.
Sorority fundraising is not only a great way to raise funds for your sorority, but it’s also a great way to help young women learn organizational skills, make long-lasting friendships and gain experience serving their community. Find ways to bring the strong qualities of your members to the forefront of your fundraising efforts. We’ve listed some interesting ideas for sorority fundraisers in this article.
Charity work is part of being in a fraternity, and most frats host at least one major fundraising event per school year. To help you determine what fundraising event is right for your fraternity, we’ve outlined fundraising strategies and popular events hosted by fraternities on college campuses across the country.
University Alumni Fundraising
Targeting alumni for fundraising efforts is an important part of alumni engagement. The pride one carries from graduating from a higher education institution is considerable, and often alumni have a deep desire to give back to their alma mater. After all, the university provided them with learning experiences, an education, and a solid skill-set to earn a living, so alumni are at the top of the list of potential university donors. For this reason, many alumni associations focus a great deal of their efforts on fundraising activities.
We’ve included the best alumni fundraising ideas here. Alumni fundraising initiatives are designed to bring in funds to support the development of school scholarship funds and university advancement. As well, alumni donors help fund programs for groups they were involved in such as fraternities, sororities, service or poetry clubs, political groups, sports teams, and more. Alumni are a diverse group, so it’s important to segment asks and target alumni based on their giving potential.
More School & University Fundraising Resources
Still looking for great college fundraising ideas?