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Clubs seek creative ways to fundraise for upcoming events

By Kathleen McWiliams
On April 27, 2014

For student organizations, one of the most challenging aspects of managing a club is maintaining finances. To keep a balanced budget, all student groups turn to fundraising to raise money for their causes, trips and campus efforts. 

With the growth of businesses in Storrs Center, a common fundraising tactic that student groups use is to partner with franchises. Fast food restaurants such as Mooyah or Wally's will pair up with organizations and donate a portion of their profits to the group, provided the students provide their own advertising. 

"We had a Mooyah fundraiser in the beginning of March, and it was the first restaurant to show such willingness to help our club. The managers at Mooyah were extremely helpful with planning the fundraiser and providing She's the First UConn with great advertising materials,  " Alyssa Davanzo, president of She's the First's UConn chapter. 

Davanzo said her group had to take on the responsibility of advertising and promoting their event, but it was worth the effort. 

"She's the First UConn was responsible for marketing the fundraiser, which was from 4 to 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night, and Mooyah donated a portion of the night's total earnings to our organization," Davanzo said. "We raised $50 from that fundraiser alone, which was 10 percent of the earnings. I know groups have raised hundreds of dollars through restaurant fundraisers. As a new club on campus, we were thrilled with the turn-out of the event." 

Similarly, other clubs turn to larger national franchises to help fundraise. Amnesty International's UConn chapter hosted two Krispy Kreme donut sales this year and said that, although they had to go to Mohegan Sun to pick up the donuts, the profit they turned was worth the trip.

"We usually bought 75 boxes and usually made approximately $230 in profits after paying back the $225 plus taxes [for] the donut's cost," Drew Pett, the club's involvement chair, said. 

According to Pett, Krispy Kreme charges student groups who are fundraising $3 a box for 12 donuts, and the $200 profit makes the fundraising option lucrative for most small clubs. 

However, other groups turn away from these kinds of fundraising and take on creative projects that provide an experience to UConn students.

Emily Januszczyk and Mike Cianci, two fundraising chairs with UConn Empower, said that Empower prefers to provide students with an experience so that students get more for the money they pay.

"People like an experience," Januszczyk said.

However, programming large fundraisers like the Underwear Mile or USplash take considerable amounts of planning and coordination.

"We've been planning since last semester," Januszcyk said. "We had weekly two hour meetings, a Facebook group where we throw around ideas." 

Funding large events for groups like Empower, whose mission is to provide service abroad, can also be difficult to manage. Empower, however, relies on community sponsorships to provide for the major costs of events.

"We had donations, and we have sponsors," Cianci said. "It wasn't easy [getting sponsorships]. There's a sponsorship package, it's heavy duty."

According to Cianci and Januszcyk, the cost of programming the Underwear Mile was about $1,000. That cost was completely covered by the sponsors and the group undertook no costs of their own. Empower will also be selling t-shirts to help maximize their profits. Januszcyk said that the t-shirts will be most of their profits. They projected that their profit will be about $9,000 to go towards their projects in India and Cameroon. 

"We made $5,000 last year, and now we're expecting roughly $9,000 this year. That's our goal," Januszcyk said. 

Additionally, Empower partnered with Ted's Bar for an after party that will also aid fundraising efforts. 

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