This guide was created to spark fundraising ideas for your organization! If you are wishing to host a fundraiser for your club, feel free to reach out to Randi Maiers (for student organizations) at [email protected] or Allie Bogard (for club sports) at [email protected].

Why fundraising is important:

Obviously, lots of fundraising means more opportunities for teams and organizations to travel, learn, compete, and meet the mission and purpose of your organization.

Fundraising as an organization also promotes:

  • Commitment to the team
  • Connections within the community in Bozeman
  • Professional Development - Experience with marketing and managing large scale events

Location of your Fundraiser:

  • Fundraisers in academic buildings require the permission of the department, please reach out to Randi ([email protected]) to help you find who the admin is of the building you're hoping to use.
  • Conference and Event Services manages SUB space and they allow you to sell items in the SUB. There is a $5 fee to fundraise in the SUB. If you are interested in using the SUB, please contact them to reserve space and fill out the appropriate forms. 
  • The use of outdoor space is limited to awareness of the cause/issue, volunteer, internships or employment opportunities. No fundraising or solicitation of charitable contribution is allowed. See Section 300.00, Facilities Use Manual.

A top priority of any organization should be the development of an informed and supportive audience or fan base, and there are several ways to do this. Hosting quality programs that are well produced and promoted are a great way to build a personal connection and market your organization.

Good production demands paying extra attention to the details of an event. Effective promotion includes developing channels of communication with your audience and using these channels properly. In order to build an audience in the long run, credibility and consistency are crucial.

For the sake of publicity, the following items should be on all event marketing,

  1. The full name of your organization
  2. Date, Time and Venue of the event
  3. Contact information
  4. Admission charge (if any)

Building an Online Presence

If you really want to fundraise, your organization must have presence online. To start any campaign, whether it be fundraising or raising awareness, you need to establish a primary website. It should be easily updated with news and important details. It should be streamlined so visitors can quickly navigate to the content they want. Websites also serve to recruit future team members and involve community members in fundraising efforts.

This main site should be able to feature video and daily updates while competing. Keep track of all online and social media accounts and make sure future officers will be able to take over administrative duties.

  1. CatsConnect Page – all registered clubs and organizations have a page on CatsConnect. You are able to write new announcements visible to the public.
  2. Social Media Accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – every club should have a page to generate fans and make it easier for everyone to find your club. Use Facebook as your sport club page while posting or updating. Photo and short posts are perfect for updates during competitions! Stay on topic and keep it clean. Live updates are a great way to involve supporters in team events.
  3. Website – if you need something to do more things, you will need a website to be able to do more things, like have online event registration, email/newsletter lists, etc. Make sure to include your club goals and aspirations, along with past accolades and awards. This is your chance to give a legitimate, professional impression to donors and future students alike.
  4. YouTube Channel – a video is worth a million words. You can link videos to the club’s main site to increase online presence. Make sure to get permission to post it online from everyone in the video.

This should be a huge component of fundraising for your club. Past members feel a connection to your club before you even contact them, whereas the general public will be difficult to capture. Alumni will donate money and time because they already have a personal connection to your club. Whether you simply ask for donations with a letter or host an event-packed Alumni Weekend, past members appreciate recognition for their time and money. Alumni may be interested in being involved by funding or partially funding a scholarship.

Reaching Out

The reality is that most alumni aren’t in touch with your club. An alumnus will be much more likely to donate than a followers or parents and you should reach out to them immediately. Your first contact should be professional and include a personal touch with captivating news. Newsletters or Quarterly Updates are a great way to keep in touch with alumni and past donors. All donors appreciate if their donations are allocated to a certain area, whether it go towards equipment, travel expenses, competition entry fees, etc. You might want to include answers to these questions:

  1. How did the organization do last season?
  2. What does the organization aim to accomplish short and long-term?
  3. Is there one moment that could be a good story to include?
  4. What will the organization do with funds donated by alumni? Is there a specific goal?
  5. Is there a tiered donation recognition system in place?

Utilizing Online Donation

The easiest way to collect donations is online.

  • MSU Giving Day is a two-day event hosted by MSU that provides an opportunity for alumni, parents, and community members to donate to projects or causes they support. Student organizations can participate in this event to raise funds. 
  • Go Fund Me
    Teams can set a Go Fund Me page through their website. After the page has been set up the team can share the link on their social media sites. This encourages family, friends, and possibly even alumni to donate to the team.

Recognizing Donors

Donors like to feel appreciated and recognizing them appropriately will encourage them to become repeat donors. Here are some easy ways to give them credit for making a donation:

  1. Post a picture or video showing off your new purchases, giving credit to specific donors or groups of donors
  2. Update your website with a page dedicated to donors
  3. Create a tiered system to categorize donation amounts (For example: $500 Gold Club, $100 Silver Club, and $10 Bronze Club)
  4. Businesses and alumni may be interested in sponsoring a scholarship especially if they are given naming rights to the scholarship.

Getting your organization out in public is a good move, even if you break even on the financial side. You are able to conduct fundraising events on- or off-campus, provided the project is consistent with the purposes of the student organization and in agreement with University policy. Below is a list of event ideas that will get you thinking about your own fundraiser.

Alumni & Parent Events

  • As an organization, you can’t deny the importance of strong alumni and parent support. Catering events for them is a great way to bring them all together. Designate a date and time when alumni/parents will be invited to campus. This may include Parent/Family Weekend, homecoming weekend activities, or banquets.
  • This event can be a friendly meeting or mixer where the goal is to establish good alumni relations by distributing newsletters and donation cards. Or, a fee may be charged to cover expenses and/or include some small team token (i.e. t-shirt, key chain, water bottle). You can also apply for funding for these expenses as well.
  • Be very cautious with mark-up. These are alums and parents, many of whom have given or will be giving to the program in the future. Also, recognize that these events do not have to be overly elaborate because most of the alums and parents are just excited to see each other.
  • Keep it simple. This will keep your cost down and increase your chances for profit.
  • Event ideas: 

    • Think about golf or tennis tournaments or outings, a casino night, or a Texas Hold ‘em tournament, etc.
    • The first step in this process is to determine the costs involved. Contact the necessary facilities and/or obtain numbers on what rental fees are for your event. The break-even point and registration fees for the event need to be determined by the costs.
    • Determine a date for the event and then advertise! This is especially necessary for a new event. Contact parents, alumni, university faculty/staff, and community members to assist in advertising. It is important to have club members recruit entries to achieve the ideal number of participants.
    • An event of this type may combine a number of fundraising opportunities including sponsors, selling of merchandise, raffle, etc.
    • Delegate tasks to different people, as a full event can be a daunting task.

Time Required:Moderate;2-10 hours, dependent upon event

Risk: Minimal

Profit: Dependent upon charge and # of donations

Auctions

  • Auctions can be conducted in two ways – live or silent. Preparation for each of these is very similar and you should hold this type of fundraiser in conjunction with another event (e.g. a banquet, homecoming reunion, etc.):
  • The keys to hosting a successful auction are drawing people to the event and securing donations.
  • Donations for the auction can vary from clothing to gift certificates to tickets to an athletic event.
  • Try to secure a wide variety of prizes to appeal to the largest variety of people.
  • Set a date and time for the event and invite numerous people to attend. Advertise with flyers and posters around campus and around town if you really want a crowd.
  • In a silent auction, the items are placed on tables throughout the room with information on the item, sponsor, and estimated value. Individuals bid by placing their name, phone number, and bid on the sheet corresponding to each item. After a designated time, the bids are closed and the highest bidder wins the prize. Bidders may bid as many times as they wish on items.
  • For a live auction, a captive audience is necessary. Try to secure an auctioneer or someone with a large personality to host the event and add to the atmosphere. People place bids by raising their hand. Prize goes to the highest bidder.

Time Required: 10-20+ hours; dependent upon solicitation of prizes

Risk: Minimal; mainly time investment

Profit: Approximately $500; dependent upon numbers and value of prizes

Car Wash/Bike Wash

  • Secure permission to use a location that is water accessible for use.
  • Determine a date for the event. Ideally, try to secure a weekend day from 10am – 2pm in a high traffic area. The location and date are a top priority. For example, consider Saturday morning grocery shoppers, youth athletic league practices and competitions, or football games. You want to choose times and places that draw a large number of people.
  • In case of rain, have a rainy day scheduled in advance
  • Borrow or purchase a hose, nozzle, buckets, and rags. Purchase soap
  • Signs are good but energetic people are best. Strategically place people with signs around the area and triple your impact! Ex: Club gymnastics “We flip for tips!”
  • Decide on amount of the donation - around $5 per vehicle
  • Make flyers, Facebook events etc. to advertise your event and your organization

Time Required: Minimal

Risk: Minimal; mainly time investment + small amt. of supplies

Profit: $100 - $400 is expected; dependent upon weather conditions

Hosting a Competition, Conference, or Colloquium 

  • Hosting a

    Competition, Conference, or Colloquium for your club can raise money and increase awareness of your activities on campus. The #1 goal should be to establish the event as an annual event. It is possible that you may break even financially, but you will establish credibility as a club if your event runs smoothly and you can make a profit in the future. Keep detailed records of how you do things so future officers can follow your lead.

Hosting an annual event:

  1. Set a date that works in everyone’s schedule. Be sure to look at the MSU Calendar to make sure you won’t compete with a large university event. Timing is everything, so do the research to come up with the best date (and an alternate date).
  2. Secure permission to host the event, reserve the facilities, and begin staffing the event, using as many volunteers as possible. Hire the additional personnel needed.
  3. Solicit sponsors. Randi (for student orgs) and Allie (for club sports) are happy to help with this!

Time Required: High

Risk: Moderate; dependent upon fees for rentals/staff and marketability of the event

Profit: Varies; dependent upon many factors

Newsletters

  • Newsletters can serve the dual purpose of keeping people informed about the happenings of your club and also raising funds. Newsletters can also be distributed to a larger audience than specific fundraising letters.
  • The first step in developing a newsletter is to identify a target group. This can include alumni, parents, interested community and university members.
  • Once this target group has been determined, decide the number of mailings per year. Newsletters can take the format of a “yearly round-up,” “where are they now,” or semester/quarterly updates. Do not be afraid to start off small with a mailing once a year – as your audience and club grows this can easily be expanded to encompass more news or editions.
  • Newsletters can include such information as articles from coaches, advisors, and/or club leaders, the web site address of the club, events, or alumni happenings.
  • Keep the newsletters succinct, catchy, and informative for best results.

Time Required: Moderate. Writing the articles can take some time.

Risk: None

Profit: Varies; dependent upon number of editions per year and size of target group

Percentage of Sales

  • Various businesses, usually restaurants, offer percentage-of-sales programs. This type of fundraiser is a mutual relationship between your club and a business. A date and usually a time frame is determined jointly by the club and business. Some businesses will only agree to this type of promotion for certain days of the week that are typically slower times, usually Monday or Tuesday. The team then receives a percentage of all food sales for that day and time period.
  • The percentages of sales can vary from 15 – 30% depending upon the business. Some businesses have a tiered system, and your percentage increases if they make over a set amount. Many businesses will require a flyer with purchases, but try to get around this as many people lose them and they cost money to print. If you can negotiate with the management, take a lower % in order to forget about theflyers.
  • Publicize the event to team members, family, friends, alumni, and to generate as many sales as possible.
  • Coordination of this fundraiser with an alumni event or competition can elevate sales and greatly increase the amount of money raised. Make it a monthly event and rake in much more funds to balance your budget.

Time Required: Minimal; dependent upon agreement & publicity/marketing time

Risk: None

Profit: $100 and up; dependent upon the percentage agreed upon and # of customers

Raffle

  • Raffles can be conducted with donated or purchased items and can be done at an event or as a week-long activity. Sport Clubs and Student Organizations cannot offer cash prizes or gift certificates.
  • The tickets will be sequentially numbered and the club must agree on the donation amount per ticket in advance. Normally, small prizes call for $1 raffle tickets and large prizes increase accordingly. Most raffles hold separate raffles for large prizes (trips, cars, etc.) and throw all the small prizes (less than $25) into one category.
  • In addition, the team must decide on the number of tickets each individual in the club will be responsible for selling.
  • Raffle at an event (small-ticket items): There must be many people present with great prizes to make a profit at an event. The prizes should be displayed attractively and with an easy way to deposit tickets. (make sure tickets cannot be taken out by a sneaky participant- have a lid with a slot cut for tickets)
  • Extended raffle (big-ticket items): Sell tickets to parents, relatives, students, etc. over an extended period of time and have a drawing date. All tickets must be signed out and members must return all unsold tickets, stubs, and money before the pre-determined drawing date. On the drawing date, the winner(s) will be drawn and notified of the prize won.

Time Required: Minimal – more if soliciting prizes to be donated than if offering cash prizes

Risk: Minimal – Moderate

Profit: $100 - $1,000+

Special Events Labor Force

  • This is providing a work force for an organization or company during a peak period of time or for event and being compensated in return. This compensation can be either per individual or at a flat rate for the team. Options for fundraising in this area include, setup for the Spring and Fall Career Fairs or clean up after Bobcat Athletics events.
  • Follow this link to view current opportunities.

Time Required: Minimal

Risk: None – realize that doing a great job could turn into an annual fundraising opportunity for your club

Profit: $200+

Other fundraising ideas to include:

  • Movie Screening
  • Haircut Fundraiser
  • Jersey or t-shirt Sales
  • Hosting a clinic with local competitors for community members or youth
  • Team or Organization Calendars
  • Benefit or Talent Show Concert