Meeting & Event Ideas

Fundraising Ideas

As with many other school groups, GSAs often put their efforts towards raising funds in support of various causes. Whether the funds are donated to a charitable cause related to LGBTQ inclusion, or used to support the work of the GSA in creating a safer and more inclusive school space, fundraisers can serve as a great way of engaging the school population in the work of the GSA. Here are some tips and ideas for fundraising with your GSA or safer space groups.

Sales

Whether you’re going with the classic “bake sale,” selling a particular product, or something more complex, like a community yard sale, sales are a great fundraising tool because of their simplicity. Essentially, you have something tangible that people want (eg. sweets, toys, etc), and you sell it to them for a small profit.

  • Bake Sale - Selling homemade bake goods. Make sure to be aware of allergies and school policy around nuts or other food products
  • Candy Sales – Selling lollipops, freezies, and other treats you buy in bulk
  • Pizza/lunch sale - Selling pizza or other lunch foods. You can buy or make these in bulk and sell individual servings
  • Candy Grams – Sell candy and cards on which buyers can write a message (think of a telegram, but with candy). You can also offer to deliver these cards to the recipient’s homeroom class
  • Swag sales – Selling swag like rainbow bracelets, key chains, pens, t-shirts, stickers, etc…Often you can order this in bulk from LGBTQ organizations, and local groups. Contact MyGSA.ca at mygsa@egale.ca to get an idea of some swag possibilities.
  • Raffles – selling tickets for a chance to win prizes (sort of like a lottery). Raffles are often only as good as their prizes, so try and find ones that you know people will want. Consider approaching local businesses if you think they might be able to sponsor the raffle and provide you with prizes. Then sell as many tickets as possible!

Events

Events can be slightly more complicated to plan, but offer a lot more possibility to engage with an audience and discuss the work of the GSA or safer space group. Some examples of events include:

  • Photo booths – take photos against a backdrop with fun costumes and props (eg. rainbow coloured clothing). Provide printouts or digital files for a small sum or donation. Be sure to advertise beforehand so people know to come prepared with costumes, makeup, etc…
  • Movie Nights – Arrange for a screening of your favourite LGBTQ-themed film. You can find a list of some movies on the movie section of MyGSA.ca. You can also combine this event with some of the food sales ideas above (eg. Popcorn!).
  • Guest speakers - Invite guest speakers from local LGBTQ focused organizations to come and speak to the school regarding their work. Check the MyGSA.ca Resource Directory for a better idea of resources existing in your region. You could raise funds by asking for a donation as admission, or by selling snacks and treats.

 

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind in any type of fundraising:

  1. A key goal is to raise funds – as the name suggests, an important part of fundraisers is actually increasing the funds your group has to work with. Whether or not you plan on donating the proceeds to another organization, you should think optimistically and set clear goals in terms of the amount of funds you want to raise.
  2. Make sure the amount you make from selling your product is more than what you spent on it. Consider buying in bulk so as to save money on the purchase cost, then sell it at a higher rate. Perhaps you can receive products through a local sponsor, or at discounted “charitable” rates.
  3. Consider your audience. What do people want? What can they afford? Is there something that will be new and exciting at school? Something that is difficult to get access to? In a school setting it often makes sense to sell a large amount of a small product at a low price.
  4. Location, Location, Location! Where you fundraise can be as important as what how you do it. First, think about where you are allowed to fundraise, and if you want to host events outside of school (eg. at local events like prides and community fairs). Then think about where to position yourself and your products.

    Make sure to set up a table or booth in a place with a good amount of traffic, but also in a place where people have the space and time to stop and look (ie. a busy hallway/stairwell may not be the best idea).

  5. Think about supporting the work of the GSA! Fundraising isn’t only about money, it’s also about spreading the word about the existence of the club, and reaching out to people who might not ever had heard of the GSA, let alone attended meetings. It’s a good idea to have information about the club, like flyers and pamphlets, with info about upcoming meeting times and activities available wherever you fundraise. It’s also wise to think about the ways in which you choose to fundraise, and how they can contribute to the school climate. For instance, some groups will use the rainbow symbol throughout their fundraisers and activities as a way of spreading the word about LGBTQ inclusion. Other groups will ask students to “take a pledge” to tackle homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia in school and the broader community. 

Above all remember that fundraising should be fun! Make sure there is a healthy amount of fun involved in every fundraiser you organize, and you can be sure that people will want to participate.