An important aspect of this trip (as well as any global development/service trip) is fundraising. The ability to raise funds for your organization, whether it is through events, grant writing, or other ways of raising money, is an important skill that you will need to develop if you want to work for a nonprofit organization. It is also a very important aspect of this trip as well. The funds we raise through our fundraising efforts help fund the projects that we will work on, particularly in the second village of Ban Toong Ting. We will also use some of these funds for donations to the villages where we participate in cultural immersion activities.
It is really important that EVERYONE on the trip participate in the fundraisers. Not only is this part of your grade, it is a great way to bond as a group before we leave. Group dynamics is a critical part of this trip, and time spent together before we leave will set the stage for a successful trip.
A very fun, low-effort, and surprisingly effective fundraiser is a bake sale. They can generate several hundred dollars in donations, all for very little effort. We usually hold these for 2-3 days in a row, from around 10 to 2 (during the lunch rush) in Shaw. We can do this twice during the semester. We will ask anyone who can bake to bring in some goodies and sell them for a donation. If people don’t have cash, we use a Square credit card reader attached to an iPad so that people can use credit cards. This year, Caitlyn has volunteered to coordinate the bake sale. If you are interested in participating, we will have a volunteer sign up for people to bake goods as well as man the table.
This event is a highlight of the year for us. Many in the Westminster community attend the event, as well as friends and families of the participants and past participants and others in the Salt Lake City community. It has also become a popular reunion for past participants, where alumni can chat and reminisce about their experiences on the trip.
The dinner incorporates two parts: the dinner itself and a silent auction. The dinner is usually made at cost for us my Noi Barker, our Thai coordinator, or Subin, whose village we will be staying in during the first part of the trip. We typically serve Thai cuisine, buffet style. We charge per person for dinner, or if we can find donors, they can sponsor an entire table. We usually pay for the cost of food, cost of alcohol, and any incidentals (decorations, etc.). We will attempt to get plates, silverware, serving utensils and vessels, tablecloths, and napkins donated to us by Bon Appétit. We have had other businesses donate flowers, centerpieces, and other decorations for the dinner.
The second part of the fundraiser is our silent auction. We ask everyone to solicit donations to auction off. In the past, we have had gift baskets, unique art from Thailand, hotel or resort stays, a day at a spa, certificates for ski/golf lessons, and various other items. This raises significant funds for our projects, as long as everyone does their part and solicit donations. I have several Thai items that I will donate to the cause, but it really is up to the students to creatively obtain these items. In exchange for donations, we can provide receipts for donations (businesses can get a tax deduction) and advertising on our blog, Facebook page, and during the event itself.
As I said before, this is very labor intensive. We will need students to sell tickets and solicit donors for sponsor tables, as well as donations for the silent auction. We will need students to coordinate with Bon Appétit, help Noi with the shopping and cooking, set up, and serve dinner. We will also need students to help set up, collect tickets, run the events (including the silent auction and dinner), and clean up. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun!
Other Fundraising Ideas
We usually had one more fundraiser at Keys on Main, but it has become more and more difficult to justify this, in light of the fact that it is an over 21 venue and the decreasing money we’ve raised in recent years. If anyone has any ideas for fundraising activities, please share them.
One idea is to have a Karaoke night, modeled after the very popular piano bars (such as Keys on Main). We could have people donate money for certain participants to sing certain songs (or not sing songs). Maybe if we can get certain faculty and staff to participate, this could be lucrative. People will pay lots of money to see certain faculty and/or staff sing certain songs….