Joining a society or club is an unmissable part of University life for most students. Whether you are interested in debating, tiddlywinks, skydiving or Native American culture, there will be a club for you. And if there isn’t, there’s nothing to stop you starting one up.
Raising funds for your chosen group’s activities can be a challenge, especially if it involves expensive sporting or musical equipment. The Student’s Union can help, but the brightest sparks take the initiative and get their ‘fledgling marketeer’ heads on with schemes to raise the society’s profile, attract new members and generate cash. Facebook and twitter are perfect for getting the word out about your student fundraising projects, and combined with eye-catching flyers leaflets and stickers, you can really make some noise.
1) Naked calendar
When the going gets tough – take your clothes off. “We ran a very successful story about a girls netball team who raised funds for their society by creating a naked calendar “ says Oliver Brann, editor of studentbeans.com. “It certainly gained them a whole dollop of media and university-wide attention in the process.”
Do some networking and have your most persuasive member talk someone into donating a desirable item to be raffled. Create a buzz, hand out flyers, and do the auction via eBay, so you can send your local community there, but also have the rest of the world bidding on it.
3) Sponsored head shave
This works best with dedicated long-haired rockers or glamorous princess types, but you can ramp up the pulling power if several short-haired members do it at once. Each one becomes a walking, talking point for your club. Take pictures of the great shave off and post them on your society’s blog or Facebook page.
4) X-Factor evening
Make like Simon Cowell and channel the dreams of so many wannabe pop stars, with your own X-Factor evening. You can charge a few pounds to enter and sell drinks and snacks on the night. The entrants get their chance to shine or shame themselves, everyone else has a good laugh, and your society gets a cash injection – job done!
5) Lunch ‘n’ learn
Ask an expert in your society’s area of interest to give a talk and take questions one lunch time. You can provide food and drink and charge a few pounds for entry. It’s a great way to raise awareness of what your society does and generate some funds at the same time.
6) Extreme sports
If your society is made up to sporty types, why not take it to the edge, with a white-knuckle sponsored abseil or bungee? It’s all for the good of the group, so there’ll be no backing out!
7) Bake sale
Sometimes the old ones are the best. Have any capable bakers in your midst turn out trays of homemade buns and cakes to be displayed temptingly on a trestle table. With so many young folk missing mum’s cooking, they’ll sell like – well, hot cakes!
People don’t mind parting with a couple of pounds for the chance of winning a decent prize. And with enough enthusiastic society members selling tickets, you can raise a sizeable sum. Raise awareness and recruit new members by asking entrants to visit your society’s Facebook page to find out the winner.
Whether it’s capoeira or tiddlywinks, if there’s a visual element to your club’s activities, get out there and show the people what you do! Even if you don’t charge for entry, you could sell raffle tickets and hand out flyers to tempt in new members.
10) Fun day
If you have the people power, go all out for an outdoor fun day. Persuade a band or other entertainment to play for free, and dream up any number of fundraising stalls. Throwing wet sponges at lecturers never loses its appeal, but you can charge for anything from face painting to ferret racing.
If you’re thinking of starting your own group and want a profile that will help with fundraising, it seems that the stranger your activities, the better. “Another story that has had tens of thousands of views on our site is Top 20 amazingly weird university societies.” says Oliver Brann of studentbeans.com. “So if your society is a little on the odd side, you're half way there in terms of capturing people's attention." And if you’re asking people to fork out for the Beer Pong or Underwater Basket Weaving societies, you might raise a smile as well as some funds.
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