Fundraising Raising revenue for your chapter


Chapter funds generally come from one of four sources:

  • Local membership dues - Many chapters charge local dues of $5 to $10 per term for each student and more for students who are not national SHRM members.
  • Student activities funds - Apply for chapter funding from your college or university.
  • Sponsoring chapter support - Some professional chapters will provide scholarships, seed money or funding for specific student chapter projects.
  • Fundraising projects/events - Fundraising events are used by many students to help finance chapter programs and community service projects.  Details are discussed in the next section.

Fundraising projects/events

Fundraising events are used by many students to help finance chapter programs and community service projects.  Since most fundraisers involve some kind of selling, try thinking like a marketing professional and be creative to make your event a success.  Define your target market and look for a need your chapter can fill.  For example, when students are studying, they get hungry -- a bake sale or candy sale would fill their need for food.  Around holidays, students and professors need to buy gifts -- plan to sell items for gift giving.  Once you have chosen your project, give it plenty of publicity.  Post flyers, write articles for the school newspaper and tell all your friends.

When planning a fundraiser, remember to consider the size and commitment level of your membership.  If you only have a few people willing to participate in a project, plan to start small.  If you have 20 people willing to help, your chapter can take on a bigger project.  Also, carefully assess how much money must be spent up front for the project.  Remember to consider hidden costs such as paper, photocopying, postage, rental charges and refreshments.  If a large initial investment is required (e.g., buying products for resale) be aware that your chapter could potentially lose money if the fundraising venture is not successful. Carefully think through any project before committing chapter funds and resources to it.

When planning your project, think about resources you can tap to get services or supplies donated.  For example, a department in your school may be willing to donate paper and someone in your sponsoring chapter may be able to photocopy for free or a nominal charge.  Canvass local businesses, your campus bookstore and sponsoring chapter members for modest donations such as T-shirts, mugs, gift certificates, etc., that can be used as speaker gifts or raffle prizes.  If you do this, however, be prepared to offer recognition to the donor.  For example, if XYZ Department Store donates a speaker gift, agree to indicate that the event was co-sponsored by the store on promotional flyers and programs.  You will often be surprised at how many people and businesses are willing to support a well-organized program.

Following are some specific fundraising ideas used successfully by SHRM student chapters.  Use them as a model in planning your own fundraising events.

  • Selling refreshments at a highway rest stop.
  • Car washes.
  • Interviewing workshops.
  • Raffles.
  • Silent auctions.
  • Organizing a job fair for a career services department.
  • Selling unclaimed lost and found items.
  • Valentine's Day flower sale.
  • Conducting salary or membership survey for your sponsoring chapter.
  • Candy sales.
  • Bake sales.
  • Garage/yard sales.
  • Holiday gift sales.
  • Exam "survival kits" -- coffee, chocolate, aspirin, etc.
  • Selling entertainment books or coupons.
  • Goft outings.

Check out the Student Chapter Idea Book.

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