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!

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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!

24 Hour Danceathon!

This fundraising event is a bit more of a different choice that many people may not have heard of before and it is really popular amongst energetic student fundraisers.

We all love to dance and one of the best ways to have fun is by dancing of course! So why not incorporate this into your fundraising? Many people take on marathons, but for those of us who aren’t ready for all those months of active commitment, there is also the chance to work on a danceathon.

A danceathon is literally dancing, constantly, for 24 hours! You can do this in a clear box in the middle of a town if you have the facilities to do so, a room, an office, your school, your university, anywhere!

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You can leave a pot for people to drop money into, or ask for donations online for people to donate to in support of your corageous efforts to dance for 24 hours. It would be great to get a lot of friends involved so that you don’t feel like you are alone in your efforts to make the time go faster. It can be super fun, and tiring, so you need the support!

Create a sponsorship form, put together a playlist and get dancing! There are plenty on Spotify that would be great to use!

Good luck!

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!

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!