Fundraising

Fundraisers must meet federal, state, and local law requirements. Organizations must follow CSU and university policies when planning all fundraisers. 

Important Reminders:

  • ​AUCTIONS: RSOs are allowed to hold auctions for goods and services, however, no alcohol can be directly auctioned off.
  • CROWDFUNDING: RSOs are not permitted to use GoFund Me or other crowdfunding platforms (see CAP 710). Cal Poly maintains its own crowdfunding platform, Spur Change. Clubs can apply to have a campaign on the site.
  • RAFFLES AND GIVEAWAYS: RSOs are not permitted to hold raffles, including 50/50 raffles.  However, giveaways are permitted. The distinction between raffles and giveaways is important for club officers to understand when completing paperwork as the two cannot be used interchangeably.
    • Raffles: Selling raffle tickets to event participants for the sole purpose of being entered into a drawing to win a prize. 
    • Giveaways: Giving tickets to event participants at no charge and being entered into a drawing to win a prize.

For more information, review the RSO Handbook or Fundraising Events (ICSUAM 15701.00).

Is your club looking for different ways to raise money? Refer to the Introduction to Fundraising Guide and refer to the resources below.

Potential Fundraising Options

Partner with a business

Approach local businesses for support! Some restaurants will host fundraisers where they will give you a certain percentage of their sales. 

Consider some of the businesses listed below, and feel free to look into other businesses in the area! When reaching out, ask to speak with a manager to introduce yourself, your club, and what you're fundraising for.

Sell merchandise

ShirtCreate club merchandise and sell it to members of your club or the community. Selling t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, or buttons can also be an easy way to advertise your club around campus.

Make sure to review the Merchandise Approval Process before purchasing anything.

Host an event

Coordinate an event and charge money for participating to raise money for your club. You can invite members of your club or open it up to the community. Here are some ideas.

  • Babysitting
  • Movie night
  • Dance eventEvent
  • Auction
  • Concert
  • Dinner event (see Campus Food Policies)
  • Car Wash
  • Tournament (soccer, capture the flag, chess, etc.)

Reach out to potential donors

Brainstorm a list of people that might be interested in donating to your club. This could include club alumni, parents, or organizations that would have interest in your club. Then, reach out to them and ask them to donate to your club. This could be done in person or via phone, email, or mail.

While speaking with potential donors, you might want to let them know:

  • The purpose of your clubDonate
  • Different ways that your club is making an impact
  • Why you want their support
  • How their support will make an impact

Here is a link about how to process donations you receive.

Organize a bake sale

Selling food on campus can be an effective fundraising tool! You will need to: 

  1. Fill out an E-Plan to request a space.Bake sale
  2. Request approval to serve food. Fill out the Food Waiver ApplicationSubmit to University Catering for approval (Email: catering@calpoly.eduIn person: The catering office is located in the UU Plaza next to 805 Cafe).
  3. You can expect an email from someone at Environmental Health & Safety. Please comply with all paperwork and training they will require.

Sell candy grams

Purchase some candy, ribbon, and cardstock and organize a candy gram fundraiser. This idea also works with objects other than candy (e.g. flowers). How it works:

  1. Submit an E-Plan and get the necessary Food Waiver approvals.
  2. Gather together your supplies
  3. Create cards for people to write messages onCandy
  4. Advertise your fundraiser
  5. Sell your candy grams: Make sure to gather the name and contact information of both the sender and receiver and the message for the candy gram
  6. Send the candy grams

These types of fundraisers typically work well close to holidays such as Valentine's Day or Halloween.

Helpful Tips

Before the fundraiser

  • Set a financial goal for your fundraiser and publicize the goal and your progress.
    SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.
  • Create a plan for how the fundraiser will be executed. Keep your target audience, main goals, and timeline in mind.
  • Keep a list of ways you have raised money in the past and people who have donated.
  • While we encourage clubs to come up with creative fundraising ideas, all guidelines and policies must be followed. 

After the fundraiser

  • At the end of your fundraiser, evaluate how it went. What went well? What are some areas for improvement? It is helpful to write this information down so that you can look back on it for future fundraisers or events.
  • Thank those who have supported you.

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