How to get your campus to “choose charity”

This from Drew Owens of the YAL chapter at Auburn University, who wanted to pass on an idea that could be very effective for your “Choose Charity” event:

For YAL’s Choose Charity event, Auburn University’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty is making plans to involve the student body in donation efforts by giving them actual choices.  Apart from lending a helping hand with habitat for humanity or helping to run a local food bank, a fundraiser is a great and easy way to interface with the student body.  Most charities need money more than anything and presenting the opportunity to let your campus “Choose” their favorite “Charity” can be a great way to talk about how local, private charities can be more effective and accountable when they have to compete for your dollar or volunteer time. 

Choose Charity Big Board

Auburn’s chapter will be utilizing our board used for the free speech event (after being freshly repainted) to list local charities and have passing students take note of which charities are garnering the most donations throughout the day and which could use an extra dollar.  This can be done in a variety of ways, namely some form of a graph or tally.   

From the first Auburn debt display to protesting the TSA, visualization of any issue or cause has proven crucial to student involvement and interest on our campus–as I’m sure it has for other chapters.  By giving students clearly defined choices, it may help to elicit the motive to voluntarily give according to a student’s interests rather than only having one charity like the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society.  Also, we feel that choosing local charities helps to spread community awareness.  Auburn’s chapter is planning to have sign-up sheets on our table with dates and locations for students to get directly involved at the local level. 

What we plan to do (feel free to suggest better ideas!):

  1. Find and choose several (4,5, or 6?) charities (preferably local) and contact a representative to let the organization know you wish to have a fundraiser for them.  Make sure that you iron out any logistical information in regards to transferring donations, etc.  Make sure that they are on board with the idea and invite them out to table with your group.  If possible, see if they are accepting volunteers and have a sign-up sheet ready for any students interested in doing more than just donating money. 
  2. Roll out that free speech/big board again.  List the charities for which your chapter will be raising money and include space for a bar chart or tally mark–however you wish to update the total donation count as the day goes on.  You can have jars for the money on your table so that people can see it in this way as well.  Just make sure you always have someone by the jars, duh.  Have your chapter’s banner clearly displayed and be ready with a follow up event (either related to direct charity involvement or a speaker of sorts would be best).  Depending on how cold it’s getting, bring out some hot cocoa or coffee to draw people in. 
  3. Repeat step 2 as often as possible.
  6. Finish the event, collect the money, and send the money.  Count, count, and recount the totals for each charity.  The best thing to do might be to deposit the funds in your chapter’s bank account and write checks so that there is a record of the funds being sent in accordance with the tally on the board from students’ donations.  Transparency is key, this isn’t the FED. 
  7. Take solace in the fact that you just helped your community, and implicitly, your chapter’s image. 

Happy Holidays from Auburn Univeristy!  War Eagle!

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