Chapter-Building Strategy: Funding Your Chapter

Find out if your school provides startup money to newly forming organizations.  If not available on your campus, create an initial plan to raise approximately $150 to purchase essential materials and resources.

It won’t severely limit your chapter’s first few steps, but if you plan to grow a young chapter, you should have a small pool of money to materials to help present your group as professional.  The more a student views your chapter as legitimate, the more likely he or she will join.

A newly formed chapter won’t likely have the necessary experience or personnel at this point to raise significant funds from large donors; however, you can take a few steps to help with initial purchases.

It Starts With You

Consider how much you can donate personally.  Then, approach your other core members to match your investment.  Think about how much money many college students typically spend, outside of their meal-plan or home-cooking, on food and drinks throughout a typical week.  Let’s assume it’s at least $20 (we all know that’s absurdly low).

It’s not too much to ask of your dedicated members to skip a $5 meal each week for one month and contribute $20.  With five members, you have already raised $100 — you can now purchase a banner and table to recruit new students.

Don’t forget potential outside funding sources.  If any member’s family is sympathetic to our cause, ask them for a small donation.  Check to see if you know any recent liberty-minded graduates with jobs who might do the same.  Once you’ve personally invested — along with your core members — it’s easy, and totally reasonable and essential, to seek funds for this important cause from other prospective donors.

Initial Purchases

Your initial purchases should include items important for recruitment, specifically, running a recruitment table (more on recruitment in Chapter X).

Make the best use out of your funds.  Buy sale items and materials from a thrift store.  Also, don’t hesitate to ask people (alumni, parents, and professors) who might not wish to donate cash directly, if they would at least be willing to donate specific items: table, banner, poster board, markers, and clipboards.

YAL also provides Activism Kits each semester for provisional and official chapters: custom-designed YAL pocket Constitutions, about-YAL palm cards, flyers, guides, and more.  Also, dozens of strategic partners donate resources of their own.

Activism Kits help chapters to table and promote liberty-based ideas to fellow students (more on tabling in Chapter X).  If you haven’t already requested an Activism Kit for your chapter, email us: contact@yaliberty.org

Create a Budget

Below is a sample budget:

6 x 2 ½ ft. vinyl YAL banner $45

6 ft. folding table $50

Tablecloth $15

Foam poster board (3 @ $3 each) $9

Regular poster board (3 @ $0.50 each) $2

Pack of permanent markers $10

Money for photocopies $10

Clipboards (3 @ $3 each) $9

Total $150

Establish a Chapter Bank Account

If your group plans to fundraise in any capacity — as it most definitely should — you will need to set-up a checking account.

Donors will write checks to established organizations.  More than likely, they will not write checks to individuals.  A bank account will also encourage responsible use of chapter funds, making it easier to document expenses (especially if your school requires an audit).

In most cases, banks require only for you to have a chapter constitution and an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Check with your preferred banking institution for specific requirements.  More than likely, you will need both the treasurer and your faculty advisor to co-sign on the account.  Remember to make arrangements with your bank when you transition leadership, particularly the treasurer.

Planning ahead will help you avoid unnecessary, and unwanted, hassle down the road.

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