Posted in RAG Resources

RAG On a Budget

RAG was started for the sole purpose of raising money and giving back to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. RAGs at universities however are not always as prosperous or profitable their own society as they might be in terms of raising money. Being a RAG on a budget can mean that it is hard when it comes ot running events, but there are lots of ways that you can begin to raise money for your RAG without breaking the bank.

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To start with, you should head to your student’s union to ask the activities department what the allowance is for your society – if any – and see what you have to work with. There is little chance that a RAG will have a budget at all and if so, it is time to fundraise for yourselves! There are two ways to go around this depending on if you’re an established RAG or if you’re brand new, and here are my tips for both.

An Established RAG

If you are an established RAG which has plenty of resources such as able cloths and previous fundraising items, then it might be easier for you to begin fundraising for your RAG. Something that can be a big hit are events such as Strictly Come Dancing and similar which bring in big bucks with the help of other societies. However, events like these take lots of planning and there are some easy ways to make money if you try hard!

One way is by going through all of the old RAG gear and seeing what you can use. If there are table cloths and stuff then you can run “Raise for RAG!” cupcake stands, sell sweets, offer revision services to lower year groups and similar. Being an established RAG means you have more contacts within the activities department and can ask other societies for help too. Maybe the baking society can help you with the cupcakes? When you have enough money you can then begin to think about raising for other charities. A good amount to have in storage is about £100 unless you want to run hitch events in which case you need more like thousands, but in time this can happen, just not necessarily in one year.

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Brand New RAG

If you are a brand new RAG then it can be difficult to get on your feet. There may not be any materials in your society area and you might need some new things. Without a budget this can be hard and there is also no budget in order to bake cakes with etc. One way to make money is to partnership up with one society for a year and see if they can help you to raise money. As aforementioned, if your dance society runs a university Come Dancing event then this can bring in a lot of money and maybe they can donate half the earnings to you and half to a charity! That way you are still providing for a charity and not just for yourselves.

The other excellent way to fundraise is by using your own money to run cupcake stalls etc and use old bedding from uni to make into table cloths etcetera to raise the money with. When there is a pay off you can reimburse yourself and as you build up and established RAG you can dream bigger and follow the fundraising events I have in the blog menu.

If you have any specific questions about how to raise money for your RAG then please feel free to comment below!

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Posted in RAG Resources

What Should You Expect From a Charity Partner?

A charity partner is one that is assigned to your RAG either through votes from students or from your RAG. They often apply to be your charity of the year around April/May time and then you choose to support them.

A charity of course is to take a backseat role during the academic year as it is the RAG’s job to raise money for them once they are selected, however, they too have their own role to play in the entire process. Some charities can expect too much and this is not acceptable when at the end of the day student fundraisers and RAGs are volunteers.

Resources

Many charities will have multiple resources already put together in order to help you fundraise. This can include online documents and fundraising packs with their own branded equipment that you can use or marathon vests etc for you to acquire. Some excellent charities even have free online shops where volunteers can order resources to use for fundraising. Your charity should always provide you with fundraising t-shirts, buckets, stickers and more to fundraise with. It is something very basic, even if you have to give a deposit for the bucket.

Support

This is a very basic need from the charity side of things. Charities are good places and you expect that they would hire good people, hereby it is not unnatural to assume that these people would be supportive not only of your work efforts, but be sympathetic of the times when you are not performing at your best. As is expected, students are very busy people whether you are in your first year at university or your last, and therefore sometimes you are unable to commit the way that you want to. A charity should always be on hand in some way or another (even if they cannot reply instantly) to provide support and check up on their volunteers. Remember, you’re doing a good thing of course, but from a business perspective, you’re really helping the charity out and they NEED YOU or they wouldn’t function! Don’t let them take advantage of your time or make you feel guilty for not doing something, you’re not paid, and you’re just trying to make a difference.

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Facts and Statistics

Any reputable charity organisation will have facts and statistics based around the work that they have done. It is important to have this because it shows supporters of your cause that the charity is actually doing the work that they say they are and that it is benefiting real people. If a charity cannot provide you with this then I feel it is questionable if they even really care enough for their cause, unless of course they are a start-up. Some charities will even have posters of the amounts they have raised and real-world impact to show off about, Breast Cancer Now has excellent resources for this.

Visits

Charities often have an allowance for their employees (especially the student section) to be able to fund visiting your university for the day or a few hours to deliver talks on what the charity does, meet up with the RAG, meet the challenge student volunteers and take part in freshers’ fairs alongside the RAG to explain more about what the charity does and help the RAG learn more about who they are representing. Sometimes it is good to have your charity visit so that they can provide real-world impact on the students, and help you recruit people to take part in your challenges.

Talk To Charity Volunteers

As RAG begins to recruit for charity challenges, there will be an increase in the requirement for charity employees to talk with their volunteers. After all, all student volunteers are sacrificing valuable studying time to help them out, so they should be checking in, even through Facebook Messenger, just to make sure that everyone is coping well enough. They are paid to do this so it is in their job description! As a RAG, do not feel pressured to have your fingers in all the pies, the charity is there to liaise and answer the difficult fundraising questions, so let them!

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Recognition

Charity volunteers, especially students are so hard-working and sacrifice a lot of their time in order to fundraise for a particular charity. Recognition is not what a lot of these volunteers strive for, but even the most selfless people in this world, love a little appreciation! You should expect that the charity you are supporting will choose “fundraisers of the month” and recognise your volunteers, as they are helping them out after all, and they deserve the thanks for the difference they are making! Even if it is just a card on Volunteers’ Week!

What does your charity provide you with? Don’t forget to comment!

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Cocktail Party

A great way to fundraise without putting in a lot of effort is a cocktail party! You can buy cocktail making kits and also recipe books from places like WHSmith and Waterstone’s. A cocktail making kit isn’t even necessary! You just need some basic equipment to make the drinks! I personally have held these parties during a pres before a night out so that friends who would regularly go to Wetherspoons or similar to get cheap cocktails can get them from me, and they are cheaper AND all the profits go to charity!

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To set up your party, think of where you will host the event. A great place to host it is generally your house! If you have a mini bar, this is also a great touch to the occassion as you have the opportunity to decorate it with tiki decorations and more, if this is the vibe you are going for. It is important to have a theme I think for a cocktail party, popular choices are Hawaiian themed or Mexican.

Your next thing to think about it which cocktails you want to use and how much it is going to cost you to get all of the ingredients that you need to make them. I think that some good choices include the Screwdriver Cocktail: https://rasamalaysia.com/screwdriver-cocktail/ and Sex On The Beach: https://www.thespruceeats.com/sex-on-the-beach-cocktail-recipe-759828

These two cocktails are very easy to make and both use similar ingredients. If you have a Lidl or a Aldi near you (if you are from the UK) then this is a great place for you to pick up some cheap alcohol and mixers and will easily make you profit. Consider how many people you are inviting to this event and make sure you have the appropriate ratio of drinks to people, estimate that everyone will probably buy 3 drinks maximum. An average price I charged for a Sex On The Beach when I ran this event was £4 and people got large servings.

Equipment

In terms of what you need to make cocktails, then this is really down to your own budget and what you want to put into this event. When I ran this event, I had a cocktail making kit that I had been given by a friend some years before, it was professional and came with all of the equipment I would need, but it wasn’t necessary by any means…

Poundland sells plastic cocktail making sets with a mixing jar and stirrers for £1 if you choose to buy one of these and look more professional, but a bowl and a spoon will do just as well to make a “fishbowl” for people to drink from!

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You can also buy fishbowls from Poundland and cocktail making sets can be found on Amazon.co.uk for relatively cheap prices, so do your research!

Consider that because you are using alcohol there is the chance that people will get drunk and want more… without paying! Make sure to always supervise the space where the cocktails are being served so that this does not happen.

This is a really great fundraising idea and of course one that can feel a little segregating if you know a lot of people who don’t drink at all. Consider making mocktails instead of cocktails in this instance! They are just as yummy and who ever needed alcohol to make a night fun anyway?

Get involved with some great fundraising this week and let me know in the comments how your cocktail parties go down! Have fun partying!

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Bob Ross Paint -Along!

We have all heard of the wondrous painter Bob Ross who rose to fame in the 80s sharing his magical soft voice and sweet little anecdotes about painting with the rest of the world. We loved looking on as he bashed his paint brush on his canvas and wowed the world with the ease of how he made pictures come to life, with barely any effort at all.

This lack of effort, is exactly with this is a great fundraising angle for you guys!

Bob Ross prided himself on making painting easy and showing you how to do it. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for fundraisers to run an event, watching Bob Ross paint, and allowing students to come into a room and relax, learning to pain with him on screen, for a small fee.

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How To Set Up:

  • Get in touch with your university and ask them if they can make you some free tickets that you can link to a Facebook page, calling them Bob Ross Paint Along, this is because students who love him are more likely to buy it because of him!
  • Research how much the canvasses and paints will be for the particular image you will be painting so that you know you are selling the tickets at a price that will give you a fair profit on the event.
  • Make a Facebook event of the Bob Ross event well in advance, maybe three months and make sure you explain that tickets are LIMITED so that students are more interested and more likely to buy the tickets when they come on sale (even if they’re not…)
  • Supply the price of the tickets early and buy supplies the week before the event so you know how many people are coming
  • Book a room (that could get messy) for the event with a large screen where you can broadcast your Bob Ross event (most of his episodes are on Youtube…)
  • Have a prize for the best picture, maybe a cheap trophy off of Amazon.co.uk or maybe just some sweets!
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By the time everyone has finished their pictures, you can take a group picture of all the canvasses like this to show off how well everyone has done!

As always, good luck with the fundraising and post your questions below!

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Spiritualist Event

This is a little more of an “out there” event but it is not one where you need a high level of expertise to run it, nor do you need to be a clairevoyant!

Spiritualists are people who believe in the power of spirit and are often into tarot card readings, oracle cards, palm reading and seeing psychics among other rituals. Everyone is quite curious about their future and it can be a great, fun way to add some flair to your fundraising!

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You can buy lots of books on palm reading, and tarot card starter kits and this can be a chance for you to practice reading them and giving some spooky, or fun readings to your friends and family for a fee.

You should make sure that you do not mislead anybody by making them think that you are an expert or that anything you say holds any truth, but it can be a really fun way to make people think about their future and you may even surprise yourself with what you get right!

To run your own spiritualist event you could take something from the following points:

  • You could try and book a space at your university student’s union or during a local festival where you know there will be a lot of footfall
  • You can offer £1 a palm reading or similar, not forgetting the disclaimer that you are not an expert
  • You can always try and ask some local mediums and spiritualist gurus if they would be interested in being involved in an event for you, if you held a holistic event with herbalists and such then you could make a lot of money!
  • You can always take advantage of some drunken people at festivals and offer your spiritualist palm reading knowledge in exchange for a small fee! People may be more willing to get involved!

WHSmith and similar shops do a lot of cheap handbooks on how to get involved with spiritualist work, maybe you could even host a “white witchcraft” workshop where students could learn about spells and such that can boost their luck during exams! I’ll write about that in another post!

Good luck and keep fundraising!

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Raffle

One of the most historically easy ways to fundraise is by doing a raffle! These have been going on since the beginning of time, schools love them and students enjoy them even more since there is the chance they could actually win something for their money and that is GREAT news for you if you’re trying to hit a target!

What is a raffle?

A raffle is an event held often at larger events like festivals, parties or similar where someone will have a table filled with prizes! These can be small things such as makeup and toys all the way up to huge prizes like wine and trips away!

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Why should you run a raffle?

Raffles can be really easy ways to make money as everyone loves to bet on things that they like! If you charge someone £1 for five chances to win a prize, then they think their chances are pretty high and they will be really excited to take part and will attract more of their friends! As long as you have no issues with getting the prizes, then running raffles are also pretty easy as you can run them alone without any help and when you are raising money alone that can be a great help!

How to run your own raffle:

First of all, to run your own raffle you need to be able to go to some shops and ask for some prizes. A lot of shops are very accommodating as long as you have a certificate of authority from your charity that proves you really are raising money and aren’t just trying to swindle the company!

A lot of the time companies will make you email their head office, so make sure you start hunting for your prizes at least one month in advance of your event! I will add some stores at the end of this post including some stores that always seem to help me out!

Next, you need to get some raffle tickets. Places like PoundLand and Wilko sell the books for about a £1 and then you can tear them out as people come along. I always recommend saying its £1 for a strip of tickets and £4 for five strips, that way you are able to make a little more money!

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You should then make sure that the space/party/event that you are running your raffle at has booked you a table and also that the table is big enough, if your prizes are large, then you made need to request more than one!

Where to get a letter of authority:

A letter of authority is a company-headed letter which the charity provides their volunteers with (especially for challenge participants and RAGs) so that they can go out and prove that they are raising money in the hope that companies will donate them things or similar!

If you require a letter of authority then you should get in touch with your charity and ask if they can provide you with one. Sometimes it really does make all the difference when you are trying to get hold of donations for your charity event.

Shops that are usually VERY helpful:

There are a lot of raffles that I have run over the years of being a student fundraiser and there are some stores in particular which have always helped me out and been super great about it!

  • Tiger Copenhagen
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Toni&Guy
  • Independent shops and PLCs
  • University outlets such as student shops
  • Charities providing t-shirts
  • Bars
  • Revolution
  • Independent makeup artists
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Good luck with your raffle events! Don’t forget to comment below about how they go and any questions you may have!

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Bake Sales

If there is any fundraising event that ALWAYS brings in money without fail, it’s a bake sale! Ooooh that rhymed! I have held so many of these and when put together correctly, they can make big bucks for your cause! In this post you can read all about my bake sale tips and the things that you need to do to ensure that you can get the best out of your bake sale!

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Bought or Homemade?

Something that a lot of students and fundraisers find hard to decide is whether to bake their own cookies etc or whether to buy them! I know that if you don’t have a good baking background then it can seem hard to want to get baking because you fear it’ll go wrong or you don’t want to be laughed at!

I can tell you now that it is all a matter of practice! I have done more bake sales than I care to think about including Harry Potter themed ones, Easter, Halloween… You name it, I’ve done it! And not without the prosecution from my friends either! They have giggled when things have gone wrong but have always supported me by buying the one cookie in the batch that wasn’t burned… Or eating what I was going to throw out to make me feel better!

I have found that telling donators that the food you are selling is homemade works much better in your favour. People are much more excited by homemade food (especially at uni because they can’t have a roast dinner or homemade cakes from home anymore!) People were often impressed by the fact that I had even bothered to bake and somehow I think it made the food taste better to them because it was fresh!

Baking homemade also means that the food you sell is cheaper. You can make a super easy gingerbread recipe and sell each gingerbread man for 60p! This is in a complete contrast with the average £1 one that students would alternatively buy from the student shop on their campus. This is a really good angle you can use to persuade students to come to you instead of the shop and help a good cause whilst they are at it!

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Buying cakes and cookies can also be a great alternative to baking if you decide that you really are not brave enough to try, but I have a few tips for you if this is the case.

  • DO NOT serve the cakes inside the packaging that they came in unless they are from a pretty platter as some people may know how much the cake is worth and might call you out on it if you are charging extra to make profit and that can be embarrassing!
  • DO NOT overcharge for something that is store bought because people WILL be able to taste it and that will give you a bad reputation for future events
  • Try to hide all packaging so you can at least try to show off about the cakes, just don’t get found out!

How to prepare…

Don’t leave setting up a bake sale to the last minute and definitely do not rely on your student’s union to make it happen as they do often make mistakes and forget about your events! These things I am about to cover you should use as a checklist to make sure you have everything you need to put on a great sale:

  • Book your table early to be positioned in a great area of the uni which receives a lot of footfall so you can make the most amount of money (this is usually done from the student’s union or your activities department)
  • Double check this table is STILL booked the day before your sale as I have been burned by booking systems more than once where receptionists have made a huge mistake!
  • Book out the fundraising pots that you need in order to have somewhere for change to go.
  • It can be a good idea to make a kind of “float” with money in already in case someone wants to buy a cake using a fiver, and you have the change!
  • Get decorations and table cloths as people will be attracted to your table if it looks fun!
  • Bring knives and napkins to cut the cake and also to give the slices of cake to people who want to be hygienic, some people will want to carry the cake to class and won’t want to get sticky chocolate all over them!
  • Set the times that you are going to be there so that you don’t end up staying all day, and if you’re not making a lot of money, then try to sell the cake in the union or head home and beg your friends to take a few in exchange for a donation!
  • Make a Facebook or other online event so people know where your sale will be and how much you will be selling different cakes for, this way people can remember to bring change! Don’t forget to post which charity the donations will go towards and why you are supporting them!
  • Put up posters around the university (double check where these are ALLOWED to go as my hard work has been binned before by cleaners due to “policy” apparently!) and show off about it as much as you can!
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Good luck with your bake sales! An average one with about 8 tray bakes of flapjacks, brownies and similar run well should make around £50 in one day! This could be a great way to make easy money, fast!

Comment below how much you made!