Putting the Fun in Chapter Fundraising

As NSSLHA’s Vice President for Finance, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to engage with so many inspirational NSSLHA chapters and members. You all impress and inspire me every day.

I’ve talked to several of you regarding your concerns about raising funds for your chapters—why it’s important, how to fundraise, and what to do with the funds afterwards.

So, Why Fundraise?

Fundraising gives your chapter the funds necessary for successful programming, community outreach, and supporting your own local members.

We’re broke college students. And what gets broke college students faster to an event than free food? Nothing! Fundraising can give your chapter the funds to provide bomb food at your events—which will only increase attendance and engagement. Spice up your monthly meetings with food, or host a Guac-and-Talk, where students munch on guac and chips while guest speakers chat with them about the professions.

While community outreach doesn’t necessarily require funds, your chapter might be able to use some extra cash to provide gift baskets for those in need within your community, donate to a local charity, or cover the cost of gas for members to volunteer.

Some chapters raise funds to send their members to state or national conferences. Others might use funds to mitigate National NSSLHA membership for their chapter members [yes, there’s a difference between chapter and national membership!]. You could even develop a tuition scholarship for your CSD program.

The University of Iowa NSSLHA Chapter’s Fundraising Efforts

Chatting with all of you over the past year has me thinking about my own chapter at the University of Iowa (UI). So, I spoke with Payton Crawford, our chapter president, and Samantha Noel, our chapter treasurer, to chat more about our fundraising efforts:

Why is fundraising important to the University of Iowa’s NSSLHA chapter?

Payton: Fundraising allows us to host social and educational events, provide food at our chapter meetings (which increases our attendance), and make donations to National NSSLHA scholarships and philanthropy projects. In the coming semester, the new graduate students on the executive board are considering implementing a point system that will place top point earners into drawings for scholarships, which won’t be possible without additional fundraising. 

Ultimately, I think the most important thing we do with any money we fundraise is give back to our chapter members, our department, and the community.

Do you have specific fundraising goals and what does our chapter fundraise for?

Payton: While we don’t set a specific fundraising goal for this year, we keep close watch on the amount we have in our account and fundraise when it dips down. This year, we’re planning on hosting a large event, like an annual fall banquet.

Samantha: Fundraising allows us to purchase food and other supplies for our chapter meetings and social events each month. We’ve been able to host Bagel Brunches for new undergrads who are just starting out in the major, and co-host events with students through the REACH program [a transition certificate program for UI students with disabilities].

Payton: It allows us to donate to the ASHFoundation’s NSSLHA Scholarship each year for Chapter Honors, as well as other philanthropy projects. This semester, we’re also using funds to create baskets for parents of children in the PICU at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Samantha: We also use our funds to help offset the cost of our chapter members’ National NSSLHA memberships. We reimburse half of the dues that our undergrad students pay and provide t-shirts to our grad students with national membership. It’s important that all of our chapter members get involved with National NSSLHA!

Would you consider our chapter’s fundraising a success?

Samantha: Our most recent fundraisers were apparel sales and a restaurant fundraiser. Last semester, we raised about $400 just from apparel, and an additional $135 from our members and families purchasing food at the chosen restaurant. With the funds from the restaurant fundraiser, we were able to donate more than 30 care packages for parents of children in PICU!

I would say fundraising definitely helps with our chapter events. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to execute our scheduled events to the scale and quality we expect of our chapter.

How to Fundraise

Now that you know why fundraising is important and heard from a local NSSLHA chapter on their successes, I hope you’re excited to start fundraising too!

Bring your community together with a 5k, bake sale, t-shirt drive, or a dance-a-thon … the opportunities are endless! With a little creativity and passion, you can move mountains!

My biggest advice is to reach out to other local chapters and faculty members. Find out what ideas work for them, collaborate on fundraising activities, or build some friendly competition with other organizations on campus. Fundraising is super fun and the funds really allow you to make an impact in your own community!

If you have any questions or want to brainstorm, reach out to your Student State Officers, or me at NSSLHAfinance@gmail.com. We look forward to chatting with you and helping all your chapters fundraise!

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