Light The Night - Fundraising
So you have your Light The Night team set up and now you need to raise some money. The following are some potential fundraising ideas for your team. We understand that all campuses are not created equally and some of these ideas may be more or less viable on your team’s campus. Also, you should always keep in mind that any money you raise will be matched by the Stiefel family dollar for dollar. This bit of information can and will be helpful in getting donors and team members to donate.
You can visit our Light The Night landing page if you haven’t started your team or want to learn more about Light The Night. The page has a brief explanation of Light The Night and the Foundation Beyond Belief’s initiative to raise $1,000,000. This page also has links to tutorials on how to set up a group.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about any of these fundraising possibilities or have any suggestions you would like to share.
Ask for Money
Once you have established your Light The Night team, you will have access to many of their fundraising materials. Included in these materials are drafts of fundraising letters that can be sent to local businesses and organizations. Some of these letters can easily be turned into requests for friends and family members. In general, all of the materials provided by Light The Night are easily editable. In using these materials it may be prudent to explain why humanistic activities such as fundraising for Light The Night and promoting scientific research are important to you and your group. As mentioned above, explain that any money donated to you or your team will be matched!
One of the fundraising materials Light The Night provides is a customizable donation canister cover.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has made asking for money even easier this year. They have developed a smart phone application availabe through Google Play or the Apple’s App Store. The application allows for you to take credit card and check donations directly from your Android phone/tablet or iPhone/iPad.
More information about the application can be found here.
Hug an Atheist Week
This year we are encouraging student group to participate in Hug an Atheist Week to Raise money for their Light the Night teams. More information about Hug an Atheist Week can be found here.
Kickball/Broomball/Ultimate Frisbee/Dodgeball Tournament
While soliciting donations from different organizations and groups on your campus and community will work, it is always nice to give donors the option to participate in an event or give them an incentive to give. Enter SPORTS! from left field (heh!). Sport tournaments, such as kickball, dodgeball, or ultimate frisbee, can be a great way to raise a lot of money and engage other campus groups. Contact the religious, political, and activist groups on your campus and ask if they would be willing to participate in a tournament to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Imagine your secular organization battling it out in a friendly game of dodgeball against Campus Crusade for Christ or the Muslim Student Association. Your group could be responsible for pitting the College Republicans against the College Democrats in a no-holds-barred kickball battle. To boot, your group would be responsible for raising a large amount of funds for Light The Night. Eight teams with a $100 registration fee ($10/person on a team) would mean $1,600 in funds raised to go towards battling cancer!
This is no small task and will take some major planning. Among other things, you will need a place to host the event, official rules, referees, and importantly, prizes for the winners. You can start by seeing if other campus groups could help get your tournament off the ground. Many campuses have clubs dedicated to certain sports such as ultimate frisbee. Contact these groups and request their assistance in organizing the tournament and raising funds for Light The Night. You will also want to figure out how you would like to structure your tournament. Because each team would put up a registration fee you may want to consider allowing the teams to play more than one game (i.e. double elimination or a round robin).
The following are rule websites for some potential sports:
Raise Money Through Amazon
Every semester students around the world spend unreasonable amounts of money buying books they rarely use and often return at the end of the semester at 1/80th of the purchase price, which immediately goes to booze and junk food. Such is the way of the world. CAPITALIZE ON THIS!
Amazon.com has an awesome opportunity for your student group and your fundraising team. It is called the Amazon Associates program. Once you have set up your free account you are able to collect a percentage of any purchase made as a result of traffic from your website/facebook page/newsletter. For instance, you can get the search widget featured below. Any time a student searches for a book and purchases a book as a result of the search from your site, your student group receives a portion of the purchase cost (the baseline is 4% but increases with more purchases). Assume the average student spends $300 in books a semester and you have 10 students purchase their books through your website; that comes out to ~$120 raised ($300 * 10 people * 4% = $120) with little to no effort!
What you need is a bank account and a Federal Employer Identification Number for your group which can be attained at this IRS website. After filling out an online Amazon Associates application you will be able to start raking in the money that can go toward your Light The Night efforts. The best part about the Amazon Associates program is that you can use it for future fundraising endeavors throughout the year. Many groups have been very successful in raising money for their group through this program.
Pastafarian Pasta Party
Many large donation campaigns generate a portion of their funds through donor dinners where they charge exorbitant amounts of money for a plate and a spot at a table. There is no reason that this type of event cannot be scaled down and tailored to your group. Many CFI On Campus affiliates have successful yearly Spaghetti Monster dinners. This year, charge $10 a plate with proceeds going to your campus group’s Light The Night team. Make sure that you advertise that all of the money raised will be matched. You can also involve other campus groups like an improv or magicians group to provide some free entertainment for your dinner guests.
Bake Sale or Food Sales!
There have been groups that have had some success in raising money for their group or humanitarian efforts by selling baked goods or selling food such as hotdogs on their campus. For instance, last year the Illini Secular Student Alliance sold hot dogs to college students and raised $200 in funds to help orphans find a loving home!
- Restaurant fundraiser: if you organize a get-together at a local restaurant, many establishments will donate a portion (~10%) of what a group spends back to the group. A list of many national restaurants and a how-to can be found here.
- Sell your Soul: offer to attend a church service or campus ministry in exchange for a donation.
- Volunteer: in exchange for a donation offer to volunteer to walk dogs in your neighborhood or volunteer for a local business for a donation.
- Shave your head: let your group know that if they donate a certain amount of money towards your Light The Night team you will shave your head.