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Fundraising may help stretch budgets

November 7, 2013

A lack of funding for student organizations continues to be a major issue every academic year, but campus leaders can suggest alternative funding methods for organizations without budgets.

Student Organizations and Leadership Coordinator Anna Hunter said that one major way student organizations can increase their money supply is through fundraisers which can take many forms. Some examples she mentioned include selling things like food, art and raffle tickets, hosting events or activities and teaming up with local businesses.

“I encourage organizations to be creative and use talents or skills that the members of their organizations have,” Hunter said. “Sometimes, the more unique the idea, the better the consumer response.”

However, student organizations often experience hurdles with fundraising.

“Some student organizations are finding difficulty as the River Falls community tends to be pretty tapped out with fundraisers,” Hunter said.

The Allocable Fees Appropriation Board (AFAB) Chair Bobbi O’Brien agreed with Hunter about the barriers to successful fundraising. Students may not realize how much time and effort organizing fundraisers can take, and the benefits may not be as plentiful as expected.

“Things such as bake sales or T-shirt sales often cost more than what you make, unless items are donated, or your revenue from this miniscule,” O’Brien said.

Before student organizations can hold a fundraising event, they must attend training sessions held by UW-River Falls for multiple reasons. Hunter said that the training sessions protect the student organizations in case fundraising causes unexpected circumstances.

Also, all food sales within the state of Wisconsin require a Food Service Permit once the people involved are trained in food handling procedures. The process is long and convoluted, so the Office of Student Life and the UWRF Risk Management Office created an easier process for student organizations.

The process is online and is an alternative to submitting a Temporary Food Service Permit Application through the Pierce County Environmental Health Office. Hunter said that once an organization representative is trained, the food safety permit is approved for one year.

“The food safety permit helps the organizations to take the necessary food handling precautions, so they are able to defend their organization if a consumer becomes ill,” Hunter said.

Raffles also require student organization leaders to be trained in proper collection and drawing procedures, which allow organizations to use UWRF’s raffle permit.

Student organizations may see an increased need for fundraising and raffles because additional funding for single-event funding was not approved at the Oct. 29, Student Senate meeting. Single-event funding is historically depleted quickly and this semester is no different.

O’Brien said that AFAB will be working on requesting additional money for single-event funding in the spring semester. Until then, O’Brien and Hunter suggested applying for single-event funding soon, and only if it is necessary and pertinent to student organizations’ missions.

“Begin exploring alternative ways to fund your organizations, as it will not only help to bond your organization members, but it will also provide you with great experience to share with employers in future job interviews,”†Hunter said. “The more creative, the better.”