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Five Creative Ways to Fundraise


The International Sustainability Club had two main fundraisers over the fall semester.  The effort was to support the ground work for a group of PGS students in Hyderabad, India with the organization Pollinate Energy, which works to improve access to energy for India’s urban poor.  In the PGS spirit of doing good while doing well (and having fun) we hosted a SF wide Scavenger Hunt and a Bar Hosting night with live auction.  To raise money to for the Pollinate Energy organization and PGS groundwork, we put a creative spin on our famed PGS curriculum.

1. Meet people where they are to capture money that they would already be spending.

Meeting people where they are is a fundamental part of our Effective Management, Communication and Action class and on a Friday night during Residency the place to meet people is often the bar. We felt this lesson could be best utilized for fundraising by capturing a portion of money that people were already planning on spending. Thus, as bar hosts, we poured the drinks and received the tip money as donations. Win-win, we think so.

2. Engage Stakeholders or in this case alumni.

We’ve learned for any project or deliverable to be a success you need to engage those that have impact no matter how small or large. We found that Alumni definitely makes an impact! Not only are they fantastically fun to have around, but engaging both current and former students is a great way to build everyone’s network.

3. Costumes are a strength and opportunity never a weakness or threat!

SWOT (strengths,weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is an integral tool used throughout the PGS curriculum and one of the great takeaways to the outside world. And fundraising is all about using your strengths to capitalize on opportunities. We found there is no better way to strike up a conversation and get people asking you about your event then to dress up in a way they can’t ignore.

4. Leverage resources you have.

The best part of working with a team is pulling the talents, strengths and resources into one effort. Everyone chipped in for the auction and raffle items for both events… Wine, North Face backpacks and jackets, travel trips, Chinatown tours, SF 49er’s merchandise and Upcycled products all came from ISC team members’ generous donations.

5. Find a way to benchmark and measure success.

To grow and prosper as a company, organization, or team you need to be able to define success and set benchmarks.  For our Scavenger Hunt we had the players engage in Instagram and Facebook as part of their clues.  Once a clue was completed they had to upload photo proof, this way other teams could gauge how well they were doing based on what other teams had posted. It was also an amazing way to share experiences and all the fun of the event with others. Check out the day for yourself at #iscscavengerhunt2015

ISC is grateful to have completed another successful trip this semester with the great impact-driven organization, Pollinate Energy, and couldn’t be more appreciative of all those that have supported us along the way.

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