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 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!

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!