By: Dianne Heath
Last week I had my first experience helping out with a casino night fundraising event with Strive for College. In the future my goal is to help organize fundraisers for organizations in addition to carrying out the set plans. Organizing fundraisers is still unfamiliar to me since I’m generally more comfortable with focusing on volunteering. It seems difficult and intimidating convincing people to part with their hard earned cash. However I’ve realized without the funds…there is no volunteering or the means to support the people you’re volunteering for. The elimination of valuable social programs and volunteer organizations result in major consequences for the community.
I thought the idea of a casino night was pretty creative. I’m amazed by how professional the fundraising committee was at delegating the tasks, garnering support from local businesses and having the proper set up for the games. The other volunteers were dressed appropriately for the events, while I stuck out like a sore thumb with a bright blue shirt (aargh!). They also gave short lessons on how to be a dealer at the event. Being a dealer required having a certain amount of savvy, conversational skills and love for the game.
The competition to get participants for fundraising events is very stiff on college campuses; therefore getting visibility through effective publicizing is key for a successful event. The most important components to publicizing fundraising events on campus are networking with other organizations, businesses and influential students, advertising incentives for attendance, utilizing technology and online social networks, having a fun event(match interests with demographics), supporting a cause that students care about, creating significance (hype) for your organization and designating the best time and location for the event. Without these elements it’s pretty difficult to have a fruitful fundraising event.
I think Strive was able to design a fun event at the right time and location, the cause is relatable to students since it’s associated with expanding educational opportunities, the coupons to quality restaurants for the participants and pizza for the volunteers created incentives and they used Facebook to invite participants. However since we’re new on the campus scene we still need the hype, history and the networks. So this event opened my eyes to two challenges …difficult challenges to pursue. I need to learn about organizing fundraising events, designing creative ideas and networking for organizations.