Below are a few helpful tips for your Registered Campus Organization (RCO) to start your fundraising efforts including sponsorships and donations for events.
- Boothing on Ring Mall. The most popular method on campus for raising funds. You can sell food (e.g., Korean BBQ, baked goods, etc.) and drinks (e.g., Boba, tea, etc.) to people passing by. This fundraising venture takes a lot of preparation on behalf of your organization including money for items and possibly a temporary food permit. Click here to learn more about the temporary food permit.
- Percentage of profits from customers. Contact local restuarants or fast food chains to investigate whether they would donate proceeds of sales to your RCO on a particular day (e.g., California Pizza Kitchen, Shakey's Pizzeria, Panda Express, etc.).
- Car Wash. Visit a local gas station and ask to set up a car wash. Negotiate a percentage of profits to distribute to the gas station. Gas stations usually supply the water and all you need are the hoses, buckets, sponges, towels, cleaning disinfectant, and people power.
- Dance-A-Thon. This is a excellent method to raise funds for a good cause like your organization. Dance and raise money. Click here for a how to plan a dance-a-thon from Autism Speaks.
Sponsorships & Donations
Sponsorships can be a great method to attain funds for a particular event. Your RCO can create different levels of sponsorship for a particular event like a Cultural Festival. The festival can have gold, silver, and bronze level sponsorships and each tier has different amounts with different requirements on behalf of your RCO. A gold sponsor, for instance, may be able to say a few words at your events, while silver and bronze only get their logo on publicity. Suggested sponsors include businesses reaching out to a college demographic, which are broad like restaurants, and also specific like an app company.
Donations from companies or local businesses can be tricky. A few companies may only be willing to donate funding to a nonprofit organization. To establish your RCO as a non-profit is difficult (read below in the Tax ID section). However, a few businesses may provide donations without a nonprofit tax ID; therefore, it is important to do your research beforehand. Be prepared to answer questions on why you would need a donation. Many local businesses may not be able to provide a funding donation, but maybe a food donation or gift certificates. HINT: Some businesses like Albertsons have stores all around Orange County, and each store may donate a different amount or items, so check a couple of them!
Recommendations for the donation process:
- Identify what you need. Know why you need the donations, who it is for, how it will impact the party, when you will need it by, etc.
- Create a donation letter. Distribute this donation letter to potential stores. Also, call ahead of time to see the store's requirements for donating. It is recommended that you print out the letter and personally deliver it to them.
- Know your organization. Potential sponsors may ask for additional information about your organization, so know your organization's history (e.g., past events held)
- Wait for a response. It is best to give them around a month in advance, because they may take up to two weeks to respond. If they haven't responded, call or visit for a follow-up.
- Create a thank you letter. Once you received the donations from them, send them a thank you letter. If the donations were for an event, it is recommended to send them pictures and information on how the event went and how their store donations helped. You want to maintain good relationships for the future!
- Keep a list. If you keep track of who is willing to donate, it is easier for the upcoming years to set up the donation process.
Donation Letter Checklist:
- Name and address of sponsor
- Introduction of your organization
- What is the purpose of the donation, describe the event, who it will impact, etc.
- What type of donations are you looking for
- Your name, your contact information (phone and email), and your organization's website
- Tax ID Number (if applicable)
- Keep your sponsors organized! Create a binder to keep track of who donated and what they donated. For future reference, add their address and phone number.
- Keep samples of the donation letters for future reference.
- Keep samples of thank you letters.
Tax ID Number
Why would I need a tax identification number? At times, many campus organizations are asked for a "tax identification number" when establishing bank accounts, receiving funds from businesses, and/or accepting donations. Sometimes it is assumed that the University of California tax I.D. can be used, but this is not true. Remember, Registered Campus Organizations (RCOs) are an organization "at UCI," but RCOs are not UCI organizations. Some groups may be able to use the tax I.D. of their national organizations and should make inquiries to their national headquarters. In some cases, presidents or treasurers have used a personal tax I.D. numbers (e.g., social security numbers), but this is not recommended.
Apply for a tax identification number. UC Irvine does not provide tax ID numbers for campus organizations. Groups will have to apply for a tax ID number with the Internal Revenue Service. Visit: http://www.irs.gov and search for the EIN (Employer Identification Number) process. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and can be used by your organization. Please note that you may still have to provide a social security number (SSN) to obtain an EIN. This is not recommended, and you may be able to apply for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) to use in place of an SSN. Check with the IRS website on how to complete the ITIN process first before obtaining an EIN.