Posted by mjb

Finding Money

You can find a lot of the resources and tools you need for your service project around your campus or town. Requesting donations from the existing structures within the community itself also has the added benefit of spreading the word about your project, and getting support from local businesses and organizations for you your service goals.

Consider everything you will need that could be found locally. One primary need that you already able to obtain for free is information about the community. You can obtain a lot of information from your college or university, from local faith-based groups, and from neighborhood organizations just to name a few.

Below are a few more basic ideas of where you can find resources and support locally:

  • Your college or university
    1. Community research
    2. Course presenters
    3. Meeting space
  • Businesses
    1. Corporate sponsorships
    2. In-kind donations (like beverages, snacks, T-shirts, printing of materials)
  • Faith groups
    1. Community research
    2. Course presenters
    3. In-kind donations
    4. Meeting space
  • Foundations
    1. Grants to support service activity
    2. Technical assistance for program development, marketing and evaluation
    3. Community research and presenters
  • Neighborhood associations and civic groups
    1. Community outreach and recruitment
    2. In-kind donations
  • Non-profits
    1. Grants to support service activity
    2. Community research
    3. Course presenters
    4. Community outreach and recruitment
    5. Meeting space

Asking for money

Develop a strategy for approaching a group or business about donating money, services, or in-kind goods. First you must identify the appropriate businesses or organizations to contact, and then within them you must identify the most appropriate person to talk to about this. Try to think outside the box – you may be surprised by what and how much people are willing to contribute if you are thorough about explaining your service activity and the positive impact that you think it will have on the community. On the other hand, be careful not to be too pushy or demanding.

Once you’ve identified who to talk to, map out a case for support that expresses why the project is important, the impact it will create, your team’s ability to complete the project, and how the group/business can be a part of the effort. Occasionally you’ll need to submit a written request – these need to be very specific, and include all of the details of the service project, including what you need from them and why. Some people will be okay with a brief meeting where you outline what you’re doing, your mission and goals, and what you are requesting of them.

Be friendly and upbeat, even if you get turned down, which you will. Remember that just because they can’t offer you a meeting place or donate the food for your volunteers now, they may be able to donate in the future. Keep a list of all of the contacts made, and any reasons why they were able or were not able to give.

Make connections that count! Here are some tips:

  • Start with people you know (family, friends, neighbors, other students).
  • Ask people you know to engage their friends to support your project.
  • Partner with associations and institutions in your community. Businesses, non-profits, community centers, and neighborhood associations can help you recruit participants, secure donations, obtain meeting space, etc.
  • Talk personally with people to “sell” your project and get their support.
  • Know what you need and ask people how they can contribute.
  • Create and post flyers in your community. Be sure to include e-mail and phone contacts.
  • Publicize your project in local newspapers, websites, and newsletters.
  • Try creative outreach, such as posting flyers or hosting outreach stations on campus and at local corner stores, bus stops, fast food spots, or other informal gathering places.

Back to On Campus: Getting Started.

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