As long as there are groups for causes, ideals,
missions, visions and dreams there will be a need for a practical way of
achieving these goals. This is especially the case with student run programs on
college campuses such as alternative break programs. Money and how to get money
to fund the mission of these programs will continue to be an issue.
- Candy Sales
- Coupon Book
- Credit Card
Dinner & Candlelight & Music
- Donations/In-Kind Support
- Self Sacrifice
There are national and regional companies that already have products packaged to
sell as a fundraiser. These companies have prizes and profits for the group
developed into a system. Many campus groups already have some sort of
pre-developed fundraiser, therefore, you may be competing with other groups as
you offer similar products to the campus over and over. This might inspire
product sells or it might make it more difficult.
Similar to candy sales, there are national and
regional companies that offer discounts for products, entertainment and dinning.
Again these companies have prizes for top salespeople and profits for the group
developed into a system.
There are several campus activity groups which
actually bring portable drive-in theatre equipment. You could charge a cover
especially if student activities brings the group to campus.
Credit Card companies are always in search of new
consumers. Many credit card companies set up booths during various
campus/community events. They also provide opportunities for student groups to
garner some money from this effort through donations or sign-up fees.
This type of auction could allow students to bid on
the services of professors or professors bid on the services of students. This
can be as varied as cleaning up the office, yard work or glorious database
entry. Again, the money is
You can have your own casino night by allowing individuals to gamble with
monopoly money they receive for paying an entrance fee at the start of the
evening. The "gamblers" will use this money to purchase prizes donated
by the community. You can make this exciting by mixing up how the prizes are
auctioned off. ("Big prizes" or "little prizes" may come up
for auction at any time)
Just like the old datin' game. First you need several willing "dates".
The dinner and movie could be donated by local businesses. The bidding could
draw a bit of attention to your program through the school media as well as just
plain ol' curious bystanders.
This type of auction allows you to "sell" an individual for a specific
purpose and amount of time. For example, someone might have to carry the books
or clean the room of someone who purchased their services.
A Silent Auction is where a group of individuals bid on items/prizes which have
been gathered in the name of the organization and its mission. In order to be a
bidder, participants will have to pay an entrance charge. The bidders
acknowledge there bid through body language such as hand or head signals or
through raising prepared placards. For this type of auction you will need
someone to be a caller.
This is another way to connect with the campus and local community through
providing a musical event and charging admission to it. This gives exposure to
musical talent and helps to fund the alternative break program at the same time.
Keep in mind that you need a big enough place to hold the event as well as an
arrangement with campus activities to hold the event. One school's theme for an
event such as this is "think globally...jam locally."
This is a great way to build on the talents of your
participants or the campus as a whole. Host a campus wide event on the lawn or
in an auditorium where students can come and perform their specific talents such
as poetry reading, gymnastic feats, acting, and musical numbers.
Another way to draw on the talent of your campus,
especially the English and Literature departments is to host a poetry reading
night. Charge admission and perhaps even charge for snacks while folks get
immersed in verse.
Often times by working with your college or university's alumni office
volunteer efforts such as the alternative break program can have access to
alumnus donations. Perhaps your office will allow your group to solicit alumnus
directly or they may be able to include your program in their donation materials
sent out to alumnus. Each school's office of Alumni Affairs has specific
regulations and policies so it will be necessary to check into these procedures
This is plain and simple collecting change
donations for your alternative break program. Have participants cut water
bottles in half to collect that loose change. Perhaps having it site or issue
related would draw out more donations from a specific portion of your campus.
Rotary, Elks, Masons, Optimists, Kiwanis, the Lions
Club, and so on to see if they would be willing to give scholarships to
individuals. As a way of thanking them, meet with them and tell them about your
trip, and show them pictures or slides from your trip.
This type of fundraiser requires participants to be
responsible for sending out brochures explaining the program with donation slips
to friends and families. Providing donation options might add to the success of
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff members are more often quite
willing to donate their time and money to student groups on campus especially if
they are affecting the community. Target the faculty and staff with letters
detailing your program and allowing them to donate based on a variety of options
such as site, issue and possibly even student. Definitely take the time to check
with your campus office of giving to review any regulations there may be
concerning this type of fundraising effort.
Many times they are willing to help an individual
to participate in such a trip. Also contact local churches and synagogues as
they might also be willing to help. Showing the congregation a slide show as a
way of thanks is also a good idea.
Being able to make a proposal for funding from the Student Affairs or Student
Government Association of your campus can be a very important element of funding
for your alternative break program. Sometimes being listed as an organization
will allow your program to apply for funding through these avenues.
Bagel & Coffee Morning
Have a campus/community breakfast where local businesses can donate the
coffee and bagels or the alternative break program can purchase them for a
minimal price. Host this breakfast for a small charge or donation. This event
can also be site specific or issue related.
Create a cookbook from ASB participant and family
recipes or perhaps include recipes specific to the region or community your
alternative break program will be visiting. You could also include cooking
instructions for large numbers of people in the recipe description. Charge a
small amount to cover the development of the book as well as to provide profit
for the ASB budget.
This is a great, quick way to make money on your
campus as people stumble to class in the early morning. You can either develop a
deal with the local donut shop or buy the donuts and sell them on campus. As a
general warning don't get too many donuts because if you can't sell them they
might go stale and you will be out some money.
At some schools it is possible to donate the money
that would pay for your meals in your meal plan to a specific cause or group.
Check with your meal plan office to see how you can develop a partnership.
There are certain times during the year when
students need a pick-me-up such as mid-terms and finals. Appealing to the good
nature of parents through a mailing to send care packages to their son or
daughter, you can collect the profits after purchasing the food for the care
This is a fundraising event in which a large
portion of the campus can take part as well as provide some hands-on educational
information. Individuals pay a certain amount of money and then are assigned a
country status such as "developed" or "underdeveloped
nations." Students eat according to the status they have been assigned. For
example, a representative of an underdeveloped nation might eat rice while a
representative of a developed nation might eat steak. Oxfam has specific
information on how to organize a hunger banquet.
Another food related fundraising event involves the delivery of fresh lobster.
Your program would be required to purchase the little critters up front,
however, you could sell them through a dinner per/pound at a much higher price.
It would be necessary to plan the other portions of the dinner in addition to
both the location of dinner and uncooked lobster.
A thematic event in which you can invite a large
part of the campus and charge admission for the tropical atmosphere and food.
Roast a Pig
Have a good ol' fashion pig roast over an open
fire. Charge a specific amount of money to the campus community or ask for a
donation. You have to find out where to get a whole pig.
Plan a big dinner inviting large portions of the
campus and community. Charge an admission or donation price. This can be a very
profitable event due to the inexpensive preparation cost. Spaghetti is cheap!
Cow Pie Bingo
This is a great way to have fun on your campus. Usually part of a larger
event, festival or carnival, cow pie bingo is a favorite. All you need to do is
fence off an area where the beast will have a temporary stay. Then grid the area
into squares. Sell the squares to individuals for a specific amount of money.
When the cow does his or her business in the particular grid, the winning person
gets to keep a portion of the money pot.
A raffle is a very basic fundraising technique that
relies on selling tickets with the "bingo" chance of winning a prize
or series of prizes. The prizes can be donated by local businesses or community
members or the prize itself may be sharing in the cash pot created by the raffle
tickets. A twist on this idea is to have participants sell a mandatory amount of
tickets. * Due to issues of legality, check with your local and state officials
as well as your school's policies before beginning a raffle project.
Contact the airlines
To see if they would be willing to give you a discount for flying as a group
because you're a service program or just because they like you.
Addressing local community businesses and companies
is a powerful way to garner direct monetary and in-kind support. An effort such
as this may require some training in developing letters of inquiry. An important
element to include in letters to businesses is that the donation is tax
deductible. In addition, make sure that you can provide them with a receipt for
that donation. A twist on this idea is to allow businesses to adopt-a-site or
issue for their donation.
Write Letters for $-Raising
Enlisting the help of others on your campus and
community to help train your advisory board or active participants in writing
grants is a necessary element of your fundraising program. Writing grants and
letters of inquiry have been successful for alternative break programs in the
past. Sometimes it just takes some encouragement and training for individuals to
ask for those bigger sums of money or in-kind donations. This is another way to
partner with other groups on campus such as the campus office of Grants
Florist - Valentine's Days
Holidays are always great times to have fundraisers around. For example,
during Valentine's Day work a deal with the local florist to sell carnations for
campus members to send to other campus members. Remember that you will need
someone to pick up the flowers, staff the booth where people write their
messages, and people to deliver the carnations. Another twist on this holiday is
to send out gummy worms with the theme "hooked on you".
Work with your local college bookstore or bookstores to have a day or series
of days in which your alternative break program can receive a percentage of
profits from sales. It is a great way to get your friends and fellow campus
members to buy books on a specific day.
Partnership - Dance Place/Grocery Store
A great way to partner is with local businesses and
companies through in-kind support or percentage of profit donation. For example,
having a local dance club donate a specific amount of a cover charge for college
night or ³students involved with service² night. Another example might be to
have a percentage of certain products or a day's sales of a grocery store go to
the alternative break program. They might also be able to donate food for your
trip or help support the purchase of your t-shirts.
Another Grant Recipient
Oftentimes, there are opportunities to develop a
grant partnership with other groups on campus that may be involved with your
alternative break program's issues or sites. Always take note of what groups on
your campus may have similar missions and goals so as to be aware of a possible
sharing of resources.
Develop a partnership with local businesses to sponsor your t-shirts for some
publicity on the shirt itself or in some other aspect of your alternative break
program. It is a great way to give visual recognition to businesses working for
the community. In addition, if your college or university's student
identification can be used as a campus charge card you might persuade more
students to invest initially.
Charge to wash student's laundry. Make sure you have enough participants and
initial money to buy supplies.
Check with your school's psychology department
about possible opportunities.
Charity Sporting Tournaments
(baseball, basketball, volleyball, golf...)
Connect with the campus by providing a sporting tournament where you charge
admission for participants. You could also work the concession stands for the
Basket/Shoot the Hoops Tournament
This is a great way to use your school's sporting
program to earn some money for your alternative break program. Individuals can
pay an entrance fee to have some sort of shooting contest during the half or end
of a game.
Appeal to the local running enthusiasts on your
campus and in your community to be a part of a sponsorship race for your
program. A unique twist might have the finish line be into a campus sporting
facility at the end or beginning of a game. It is always a motivator to have
thousands of people screaming and yelling for you.
The basic all-purpose fundraiser! First, you need to acquire baked goods
through either participant cooks or local businesses or campus food services.
Then you need to have booths in well-traveled areas of the campus. One
suggestion that was offered was to have donations instead of prices because
people are likely to donate more than pay a specific price for an item.
This dependable event places a bunch of people
together to wash cars by hand. You could charge a specific amount or ask for
donations. It is important to have this type of event in a well trafficked part
of your community or campus. Sometimes local businesses will let you use their
water sources. A twist on this idea is the "topless car wash". This is
where you only wash convertibles or everything but the top of the car.
This is a great way to get rid of old junk! Have
participants dig into their dorm rooms or ask their family members to donate for
the sale. This is also a great way to get faculty and staff involved with the
program as they donate for the sale. It will be necessary to have the event in a
well traveled area and have the appropriate amount of volunteers to staff the
Accounting & Taxes
Perhaps you can draw on the expertise of the participants in your program or
appeal to your school's business department in general. You can have students
with accounting and tax skills provide consultation for Federal and State taxes
to the campus and community at a minimal charge.
This is an event in which people pledge a certain
amount of money for a specific cause or individual involved with the cause. Some
examples include a Bowl "a" thon or a Walk a-thon or a Jump-a-thon.
Local businesses and companies will have times
during the year in which they will need help with their inventory. This is a
great way for a group to make some money in a short amount of time. There might
also be departments or stores that are part of your campus that might provide
this opportunity as well.
- on-going through year
Another way to get involved on the campus is through the recycling program in
existence or developing a program from scratch. It would probably require some
part-time volunteers for part or all the year to clean out bins and take the
recyclables to the local recycling plant. Because it might be a way to earn
money throughout the year, this type of fundraiser could sustain efforts for pre
and post break as well as the next year program. It is also a tremendous
possibility to partner with other groups on campus or in the community.
Develop and plan a carnival which can be thematic , issue related or just a
plain ol' carnival with clowns, face painting, games etc... This is also
something you can do in partnership with a local community agency. You can
charge an entrance fee for the Carnival.
"Stupid Human Tricks"
This is a great way to bring David Letterman to
your campus without having to pay outrageous prices for a speakers fee or even
having him there in the first place. In the spirit of "stupid human
tricks," invite members of your campus community to be part of a talent
show where your alternative break program can charge for admission. Everyone can
do a Stupid Human Trick.
parks/clean-up facilities/staff campus events
This is a great way to use the community around you
as well as your campus. Sometimes theme parks, concessions and clean-up
opportunities are offered to the community in exchange for donation or payment.
Check with local sporting facilitates, theme parks and your own campuses
You can rent these type of facilities or perhaps
even have them donated for use. Then your alternative break program can collect
the money or a percentage of the money based on the relationship developed with
the rental company.
You can do this at carnivals or before sporting
events to add to the spirit of those die-hard fans. Charging a minimal fee and
enlisting the talent of program participants is a must for this type of
Greek Week -
This might be another way to enlist help from the
Greek community of your campus. During Greek Week have party proceeds or a
portion of those proceeds go to funding the alternative break program. This
might also be a way to develop a new partnership or recruit from a segment of
the campus you might not have already drawn from. *Receiving money for
fundraisers associated with alcohol might interfere with the policy of your
alternative break program or school.
This is a day where ASB participants can work for the campus or faculty and
staff of the campus to clean up yards, mow, rake and clean up trash for
donations. This can be a campus-wide event in which the donations benefit the
ASB Program. It might also be a great way to partner with environmental groups
on the campus or in the community.
This event requires setting up a "jail
cell" somewhere on your campus. The next step will be having campus members
pay money to have people "arrested" and put in jail. Volunteer police
persons will then take the suspect individual into custody. The
"prisoner" then must come up with a pre-determined amount of bail
money by using a telephone and the phone book. There are a number of twists you
can put on this idea, however, one of the key facets to the success of this
event is publicity.
This requires some enthusiastic participants. Both guys and gals can have
pictures of their legs posted around the campus. Then people vote on who has the
best "turkey legs" by making a donation. All entries will be placed in
a central box from where the winner's name will be drawn. The winner could
receive a pre-designated prize or part of the money pot accumulated from the
This is a great way for students to donate money
towards your alternative break program in the name of their favorite faculty or
staff member. The individual with the most donations gets to kiss the
"animal" whether that it is a pig, horse or the school mascot. This
can initiate quite a bit of competition and stimulate the money to come rolling
into your ASB program.
This can be a great way to connect with a discussion concerning the alcohol
policy of your alternative break program as well as partner with your campus
peer educators or BACCHUS representatives. At a mocktail party people get a
chance to mix and partake of non-alcoholic beverages. This alternative
experience/party is a great way to bring in the money as if people were paying
for drinks. It is necessary to reserve space for this event, acquire the
materials for the mocktails including glasses and utensils.
This is where a "tree" is set up in a well-trafficked part of the
campus. A table is set up next to the tree where people can donate $1 to place a
"homemade buck" on the tree. As the tree becomes more decorated people
will be able to see an actual goal and be more motivated to donate money.
A non-event is just what it suggests: an event
which will not happen. The first step is to print a fancy invitation about a
formal black-tie event. After describing the fancy non-event then you can ask
for a donation based on what individuals would have to do to get ready for the
event. For example, attendees would have to buy a dress or rent a tux, get a
haircut etc... Therefore, through making a donation they only have to pay a
portion of what they would originally have to do in order to attend.
A one time campus event where ASB participants and
others from the campus create paper airplanes. Before the event ASB Participants
collect pledges for there favorite paper airplane. You can have winners in
different categories such as design, distance, and style in flight. You can
charge an entry fee or have donations to support each participant.
Perhaps your campus or the community host events
where cars need to be parked or where they need "staff" to usher
vehicles into appropriate parking spots. Participants will earn money usually in
an hourly or daily manner. Students can donate the money individually or the
host of the parking can make payment to the alternative break program as a
Definitely a fundraiser for the willing and able.
This type of activity requires people with hair , a lot of hair, or people that
are vain about their hair. Then it takes your ultimate persuasion skills as an
alternative break advocate to convince individuals to shave their head in
public. Campus members make donations for the "potential head shavers"
in a competitive manner. If you can get some professors involved it might be a
way to really dig into the deepest depths of some college student and other
faculty and staff member's pocket. The representative with the most donations
must follow through with shaving his or her head in a public forum.
Knots, Knots and more human knots. This is
basically a monster twister tournament in which teams post an entrance fee to
see who can survive the tournament the longest. You definitely need a lot of
twister games or a very talented art department. The materials for this can be
created by the alternative break program at minimal cost. The winner of the
tournament might get a portion of the total money pot or some other specifically
A tuck-in is where campus members can donate or pay money to have Fraternity,
Sorority or alternative break participants tuck them in and maybe even read them
a bedtime story.
VW Car Show
For all the "deadheads" on your campus, or just regular VW fans, this
is a great way to connect with not only your campus but the surrounding
communities. Charging admission, hosting concessions and providing parking can
be one way to win some dough for this sort of idea.