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 Is Challenge Recruitment Season?

Challenge recruitment season is a period of time that your RAG selects in order to recruit students to come on the charity challenge events that you are running throughout the year. There are a few different ways that RAGs choose to do this and the way you choose to do it can impact the amount of people that sign up to challenges, however, this can be a trial and error situation and certain processes may work for your university that don’t work for others.

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One of the most common ways that RAGs run their recruitment is by taking a period of months between the start of the university academic year and Christmas before the challenge providers close their sign ups. Recruitment is normally done at fresher’s fairs at tables and giving out flyers as well as using innovative ways such as Tinder to put out an advert for challenges and allowing people to swipe “right!” if they want more information.

If you are a RAG which is running more than one challenge throughout the academic year then you may want to spread your recruitment over the academic year. Some RAGs who have done this previously have found that it works much better for them and they have had a lot more people signing up. One way they do this is by pushing the sign up opportunities for Kilimanjaro for a solid month (without mentioning the forthcoming other challenges) and meeting a sign up requirement. They then stop advertising this one challenge and move onto the next one which might be something like the Bilbao Night Marathon and then people sign up for that one and so on… This needs to be discussed with the challenge provider as you need to make sure there is enough time for people to sign up and you can meet your sign up targets.

Challenge recruitment season is a big time for RAGs and I will do a post on some of my best tips for recruiting students! Good luck!

Posted in RAG Resources

What should RAG provide a charity with?

We have previously looked at what a charity should do for your RAG, but we have not yet looked into what the RAG should provide for the charity. The role of RAG is to fundraise, and help others to fundraise, and therefore this is one of the biggest things that should be provided.

Money!

A RAG should fundraise for their core charity, and other charities throughout the year. They should provide continuous updates on how the students are doing, contact details of those students who wish to help, reviews of the volunteering that they are seeing to help the charity with their information and data, and of course tell them twice throughout the year what they think they will total at, and what they eventually do. This can be hard to guess, but it is important to do so.

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RAGs should also provide the charities with opportunities for them to come to the university and visit. This can include fresher’s fairs and other fundraising events including RAG Fest which allows them to talk about the work that they do, advertise their volunteering opportunities and recruit people for their available careers.

There are plenty of ways to fundraise and you can find more of how to do these on the Ways to Fundraise! section of the blog. Check it out and this can help you raise lots for your charity! The top priority of the RAG is to raise money for their charity.

Your RAG should use the recruitment season for their charity challenges as a chance to also provide student volunteers for the charity so that they can raise even more money! This is important to provide them with too.

It is important to remember that what you put in is what you give back. Those who work for charity are often volunteers too and you need to treat them all with respect.

Posted in RAG Resources

The Role of RAG President

RAG as previously mentioned is the Raising and Giving society. They can be called different things, but many go by this acronym. RAG Presidents are often voted in by the Student’s Union members or are chosen by the previous committee. Being RAG President involves a lot of hard work and effort, plus a lot of sacrifice to time.

There is more to being a RAG President than just being “in charge”. You have to work directly with the charities that your RAG is involved with, monitor emails and discuss with the higher Activities Leadership teams what you can and cannot do for that academic year, take on everyone else’s roles in some way or another to liaise, and also be a friend/counsellor to your team mates who sometimes will struggle with the workload.

Often, in RAGs, there is a Leadership team in the Activites department of you university that will serve as a paid liaison with RAG in case something goes wrong and supports the voluntary RAG team. As President, you will usually have had a little more experience than the other team members through either previous years in RAG or a strong voluntary background. A lot is expected of you in terms of taking care of the team and responsibilities are vast.

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Working With Charities

Although in the RAG team there is often a member who is involved with talking to the charities often (normally the Overseas Co-Ordinator), there is also the chance that the RAG President will have to do this too. After all due-dilligence is done at the beginning of the academic year and the core charity (the charity which the RAG will focus on fundraising their money for for the year) has been chosen, the RAG President will liaise and make sure that different events are sorted and that the charities know when they will be and if they have to attend, and make sure that all resources are passed on that are required.

Often, there are student fundraising sectors of charities with a team that only works directly with student volunteers and RAGs. These are the members of the charities who the RAG President will talk with and make decisions with about the fundraising events they want to offer that year. The RAG President can sometimes also be participating in a charity trek or similar, and therefore have to converse with the charities on a personal basis as well as a professional one.

Monitoring

As a RAG President, you are often in charge of “filtering the crap” from what is important. As RAGs have grown over the years, so has the demand for RAGs to represent different charities. RAG Conference and similar events mean that charities are able to aquire the emails of RAGs and begin emailing (sometimes spamming) RAGs to help them with their fundraising efforts and reaching out to students. Some charities however are not qualified enough to be represented by RAGs, don’t meet certain criteria of RAGs and even don’t have enough influence or hands-on resources for RAGs to use, and therefore these are hard to work with, and often are rejected. If you are a RAG President and you are receiving countless emails and the deal sounds too good to be true – then it probably is! Make sure to contact your higher leadership team for help in these matters, you don’t want to sign a contract for something and later regret it!

Remember also that some companies will be sending the RAG email account viruses and spam that they know will be clicked on. Use your noggin and do not click anything that looks suspicious and report it to the university safe emailing team to look at first, you don’t want any important information being stolen, and GDPR means that it is important you take good care of your student volunteers’ details.

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Working With Your Students’ Union Leadership Team

Every Students’ Union will have an Activites department or similar which will be responsible for the care of RAG and all other clubs and societies. The RAG President will often have to work with these team members in order to plan events for the academic year (along with the rest of the RAG team) and make sure that everyone on the RAG team is doing well. The RAG President will get the chance to liaise with some poster designs and maybe some of the recruitment process if the Leadership team deems this necessary. The RAG President has to be careful in the scenario of working with the Leadership team as often it can seem that you are equal to them, but they are in a higher position and what they say, goes. So, if there is a challenge you are keen to run but it doesn’t work with their criteria, then you have to let that go. Rules and due diligence are important because they keep people safe both on trips and in the university environment, the leadership team has these interests at heart, listen to them.

Having Fingers In All The Pies

Of course, the aim of having different RAG team members is that everyone has a different role so that all bases are covered and that everyone can lighten the workload onto each other. The role of the RAG President is of course to run the RAG and have a general overlook on everyone’s work, but sometimes this means that you lack in areas of one job, that means you have to spread yourself across multiple roles.

During challenge recruitment season for example, yo may need to help the Overseas Co-Ordinator a lot more with their efforts to find volunteers and fundraisers so that you are making a lot of money for the charities. On your part this means that you have to sacrifice a lot of time doing a job that you are signed up for, but as RAG President this is something that is expected of you. You are an all-rounder, a helper to all, cherish it as your team will (hopefully!) be very appreciative of it.

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More Than A RAG President

Although your sole job is to be RAG President (and no more is expected of you), there is the chance (hopefully!) that you, and your fellow RAG team mates will become good friends. In this case, there is inevitably going to be times when members of the team struggle with mental health, family problems, the pressure of university workload and more. When this occurs, you become more than just a RAG President, but you become a good friend and in some ways a counsellor.

I believe as a RAG President it is important to have bi-monthly meetings with your team members – even if you’re not close friends – to check in with them and make sure that everything is okay. Of course, if you notice they are struggling before that, then step in or speak with your Leadership team about a gentle intervention for that individual. It is important to take care of yourself and others on the team, or it can all fall apart and this can really damage everything that has been worked for.

If you are a RAG President, and there is anything you want to know about the role of a RAG President that I have not covered, then let me know.

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!

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 Podcasts

Student Fundraising

In this podcast episode I will be talking to you guys all about student fundraising and the ways in which you can get involved with it. I also talk about RAG, NaSFA, and the different aspects of these organisations and what role they play in student fundraising.

If you are a student and you want to be more involved in working with charities at your university and joining charity-based societies then do listen here:

Episode Two – The Charity Guru – Student Fundraising

P.S. I do cough half way through the podcast and I had a few issues with the audio so there are quite a few short music breaks! I am still learning how all this stuff works so yes I am gross and yes, I am sorry it’s not the best yet! But, it will be soon, so bare with me! 🙂

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!

Posted in RAG Resources

What is RAG?

RAG stands for Raising and Giving and is a student society run within the UK and Northern Ireland. RAGs can come under a variety of names including RADs and Karnivals etc. For the purpose of this article, I am going to use the term RAG as it is what I am most comfortable with due to my past RAG experience. RAG has a huge history and it has been running for many years, collectively raising bucket loads of money for charity! The purpose of RAGs is to raise money and offer opportunities for students to get involved with fundraising!

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According to online sources, the Oxford English Dictionary states that the origin of the word “Rag” is from “An act of ragging; esp. an extensive display of noisy disorderly conduct, carried on in defiance of authority or discipline” and offers citation from 1864 explaining this word was known long before that! There are different theories about where RAG came from, some even believed it derived from the act of collecting rags to clothe the poor in the Victorian era by students!

RAGs do many things in order to aid student’s unions and other students to get involved with fundraising, this includes having close partnerships with charities and often providing the chance to travel overseas by fundraising! ChooseaChallenge.com is a common partner used by many RAGs for their excellent overseas trips which I had the pleasure to embark on!

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Many RAGs have a “RAG Week” at their university. This week is there to give RAGs the chance to show off about the work they are doing, recruit for their overseas treks and at-home marathons, and also get more members to join their society, as well as of course, FUNDRAISING! In these weeks we tried to get many people to join our society and played fun small games with passers by in our students’ union!

Another thing that RAGs are often involved with are RAG Mags! These are fun magazines which RAGs publish including the treks that are being offered throughout the year, donation and volunteering opportunities and information about what the RAG is working on that year. There is some conflict over who had the first ever RAG mag, but it is thought they have been around since at least 1923! This is an amazing piece of history for student fundraisers to carry with them!

The challenges I mentioned above are often run by RAGs in partnership with chosen charities after they have gone through a due dilligence process, testing their ethical ways and seeing if they are safe. The students are recruited by the RAG and they fundraise a particular total in order to travel across seas to amazing places such as Machu Piccu, China and the Atlas Mountains. Often, the students raise the money and half will go to the charity and half towards the expenses of the trip. RAGs often also run marathons and other simple fundraising events such as bake sales.

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There are other challenges which RAGs are famously known for and these include “jailbreaks”. These events come in many forms and often involve scenarios such as races where students have to travel as far as they can without spending any money, get dropped of in mystery locations, or try to swap with other universities for a day by travelling with no money! These events can be super successful and people sponsor the students to do them by donating money.

Of course, RAGs are known as being gurus of fundraising (hence my charity guru title!) and they know how to get a lot of money raised! One way that RAGs tend to fundraise is by doing “raids”. “Raids” are street collections, involving RAG students taking to the streets and asking for donations to go in their buckets. They often come prepared in fancy dress and they are really fun events! “Megaraids” are very similar to these “raids” except they are often longer and bigger with students taking over London or fundraising over an entire week on the streets.

RAG is an awesome thing to be involved with and when I was at university it was the one thing that filled me with passion. I embarked on overseas challenges and learned tons about fundraising! If you want to join your university RAG, why not go and see your activities/societies department and ask the best way for you to get involved!?