A common question that NaSFA is asked by charities, students' unions and students who wish to break into the sector is "but what are the student fundraising staples?". 

Most Student Fundraising Groups (and especially traditional RAG's) tend to have four key components inherited from the rich history of student fundraising

Hitch-hikes

Hitch-hikes are usually great money-makers as they are fairly low-commitment for participants and engage students who have never fundraised before into the movement. They are great for building the brand of your student fundraising group and many students arriving at university will already be aware of them as the "highlight of the year". There are three main types of hitch-hike that student fundraising groups tend to run:

  • Lost is a charity hitch-hiking event that is being run by more and more RAGs nationwide each year. Lost is a race from a mystery drop off point back to your campus/SU with teams often having a list of challenges to complete on their return journey which can earn them time deductions and increase their chance of winning. 
  • Jailbreak is the opposite of Lost, with fundraisers starting at their SU/institution and having to hitchhike to get as far away as possible.
  • Race 2 is a relatively new hitch-hike and consists of groups of students "racing" each other to an end destination. Typically these are abroad, with popular destinations including Prague, Amsterdam and more. More recently, some student fundraising groups have taken the opportunity to collaborate and send students to the other institution - the institution that gets all their teams to the opposite institution first, wins! 

Raids

Raids often take the form of bucket collections on campus or in the local community. Raiding isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but anyone can do it and it’s
a great way to make money, but it’s also important that you enjoy yourself!

Buddying up and wearing silly costumes helps but having an incentive for you and your other collectors; such as a celebration after a hard day collecting
or making it a competition can spur you and others on to help make the raid more enjoyable, and hopefully raising more money! Some of the bigger charities also run mega-raids for student fundraisers to take part in. There are some key things to be aware of in the preparation for Raids such as acquiring permits and ensuring the chosen charity is aware of the collection. 

Challenges

One of the main ways that student fundraisers make lots of money is through organised challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro, cycling from London to Paris or walking the Great Wall of China. Individual students sign up to do these and have to fundraise a certain amount. They then go on the challenge and their costs are paid for out of the fundraising. Most of this is organised by the charity that you work with or a separate challenge provider, of which there are three or four that work specifically with students.

If you are considering doing this type of fundraising, then ensure you work with a charity and/or a challenge provider that has experience in this area, and are able to show you their insurance details.

RAG Week

These were a feature of most student fundraisers’ calendar in the 1990s-2000s but have become less common over the past 10 years, with fundraisers finding that they aren’t raising as much money as they used to. Students’ Unions host many events and perhaps a RAG Week is too much amongst all of these other activities.

In some SUs, RAG Week still works, and is a 5-7 day celebration of student fundraising with events on every day and socials for the volunteers working on these events.

If RAG Week is something that you’d like to organise, we encourage you to think about the following:

  • Could you have a theme for the week that brings all of the activities together? 
  • Perhaps this theme could be linked to something else that’s going on in your university/college? Are there elections running? Is it Student Volunteering Week?
  • What sort of fundraising activities are interesting to the students at your university/college? What has been successful in the past? Try to appeal to their interests;
  • don’t try to do too much – running three or four really good quality activities is better than running 10 that are poorly organised;
  • use the NaSFA website and NaSFA social media to reach out to other fundraisers to find out what has worked at their RAG Weeks.