AAUW Student Leader Fundraising Guide


Set up your AAUW Fundraising Page

Every year AAUW improves the lives of thousands of women and girls, but we can’t do it alone. That’s where you come in! Donations from your AAUW student organization help us fight for equal pay, offer salary negotiation workshops across the country, fund on-campus activism, and much more.

Each November AAUW hosts a student leader Giving Tuesday challenge. The AAUW student organization that raises the most money will receive a no-cost salary negotiation workshop on their campus! Additionally, the AAUW student leader who individually raises the most as part of the challenge will receive free registration for the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). (Individuals who are members of a student org team can also win the individual prize, so make sure you keep track!) What’s more, all participants will benefit from learning how to fundraise — it’s a life skill and résumé builder, and it allows you to maximize your impact on the issues you care about most.

To join the challenge, follow the steps below to set up your fundraising page.

1. Know AAUW’s Fundraising Rules

Make sure you’re an informed fundraiser. AAUW Fundraising Policy 501 helps us organize our 180,000 members and supporters. These are the key takeaways:

  • Funds raised must go to AAUW national or to support a campus program based on an AAUW issue areaYou can also raise money to support student organization members attending NCCWSL or applying for other AAUW campus leadership programs.
  • Fundraising for non-AAUW organizations is not allowed.
  • Feel free to collaborate with other like-minded student organizations or work with local charities to provide in-kind donations like services or goods.

2. Make a Plan

Planning carefully will also help you avoid unpleasant surprises. Follow these steps to set the groundwork for your student organization.

  • Follow university policies. Many fundraising activities require prior university approval. Become familiar with your school’s policies before you start.
  • Establish financial goals.You should develop a budget before you establish your fundraising goals for the year. Your goals should be realistic but ambitious.
  • Create an action plan. Successful fundraising requires careful planning and goal setting. Assess your volunteers’ skill sets to make sure you have the right people doing the right things. Who has connections in your community? How will you utilize social media? Who has a talent for organizing? Who has the time to send out several marketing emails leading up to the deadline?

3. Set Up Your Fundraising Page

  • Use the CrowdRise guide to set up your fundraising page.
  • Note that CrowdRise does not accept donations under $10. If you’re hosting an in-person fundraiser, consider having a point person to receive donations on Venmo or PayPal who will donate all the proceeds at once or assign one person who will collect the cash donations and then make a single donation to CrowdRise.
  • Understand that all funds raised through CrowdRise will be donated to empower women and girls through the AAUW Fund. If you want some of the proceeds to fund your student organization or to send students to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, email leadership@aauw.org.
  • Only send funds to AAUW through CrowdRise, as that is how the winners of the Giving Tuesday challenge will be determined.

4. Start Fundraising Online

  1. Announce it early. Share your plan and encourage your network to support you at least two weeks before the goal finish date. This will give your potential donors time to respond and give.
  2. Use your networks.Widening your reach will increase your potential donations. Make an ask to your AAUW student organization members, your family, and even to faculty and staff!
  3. Get social.
    • Put your social media and communications skills to the test by tweeting and posting your CrowdRise account! Use your existing student organization Twitter and/or Facebook pages as well as your personal social media accounts to show your progress as the contest progresses and increase your reach.
    • Tag AAUW on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter when promoting your fundraising efforts. AAUW will help retweet, share, and amplify your posts!
    • Update donors on your progress toward your goal in order to heat up the competition.
    • Show off your impact! Engage potential donors and community members by sharing photos of some of the great events that your AAUW student org has held as well as any news articles or write-ups about your work.
  4. Expand your reach with AAUW’s sample email.
    Use this email template to ask family, friends, classmates, and other campus organizations to support your fundraising efforts. Don’t be afraid to ask; the worst that you’ll hear is no. Feel free to customize this template for your audience.

Dear [name],

Since 1881 AAUW has been advocating women’s rights, and I’m helping lead the way. My AAUW student organization at [your school] is working every day to fight for social justice issues, build feminist communities, and demand equality for women and girls!

As an AAUW student organization leader I have been able to help create programs that make a difference for women and girls. We’ve taken action on everything from fighting for fair pay to supporting women in leadership to helping stop campus sexual assault. [Offer details on a recent success or event you organized.]

Now, we are taking our activism a step further and raising money for AAUW. We are competing with more than 100 other student organizations to see who can raise the most funds for women and girls!

The student organization that raises the most wins an AAUW salary negotiation workshop on their campus, which will help us be prepared to ask for fair pay when we graduate! The student with the greatest donation amount will attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders at no cost.

Please join me in the fight by making an online donation toward my goal of [your personal or organization’s goal] in honor of my AAUW student organization at [your school].

Your support will make it possible for us to continue our fight for gender equality and to empower women across our campus and beyond.

Thank you for your generous support,

[Your name]

5. Start Fundraising on Campus

AAUW student organization members raise money on the University of Central Florida campus.

If your school allows it, start fundraising early through creative campus programming! Below are a few successful fundraiser models from other AAUW student orgs:

  • Bake sale
    Put together your own “unequal” bake sale — a particularly relevant theme on Equal Pay Day — and sell baked goods at discounted prices to represent the pay gaps by gender and race/ethnicity. If your school doesn’t allow students to sell homemade goods, consider asking a local shop to give you discounted or donated baked goods or selling candy bars instead. You can also use Krispy Kreme’s fundraising discounts — buy 50 dozen for $4 each then sell each box for $8! Contact your local store for more information.
  • Used book sale 
    Work with your school’s library or a local AAUW branch that hosts annual book sales. Email connect@aauw.org so we can put you in contact with a local branch or plan ahead to collect donated textbooks and then sell them at the beginning of the new semester.
  • Pizza in the residence halls
    Set up in the lobby of a residence hall (remember to check with your school’s rules on this and reserve a space if necessary) and sell pizzas. Many student activities offices have a secret discount code for places like Domino’s that allows you to order pizzas at a discount and sell them for a profit.
  • Team up with a local restaurant
    Many chain and local restaurants will partner with student organizations to donate a portion of their proceeds from a specified evening. Simply send an email or drop by to ask local places what their process is for fundraisers, sign an agreement, then tell all your friends to eat there on that night!
  • 5K marathon or walkathon
    Believe it or not, people will sponsor you to get exercise. Ask campus stores to sponsor the event in exchange for logos on T-shirts, and find out if local restaurants will cater at no cost in exchange for publicity. Remember that with large events like these, it’s best to start planning early!

Bonus tip for successful fundraising events: Accept multiple forms of payment! Not all students carry cash, so consider having a point person on Venmo or PayPal, working with your university to accept your school’s form of campus money, or having a computer available for people to donate online to your CrowdRise account.

6. Remember to Collaborate

Don’t forget to collaborate with other student groups and departments when planning your campaign or event. Not only will you raise more money, you’ll also spread the word about your great work! Consider reaching out to

  • Student organizations with similar missions: Making sure you are being inclusive as a group will help you grow.
  • Women and gender studies departments or political science departments
  • Diversity and inclusion or multicultural offices, including your campus women’s center
  • Fraternity/sorority lists
  • Student activities or student life offices
  • The athletics department
  • Dean of students’ office
  • Community members

Your local AAUW branches and Younger Women’s Task Force chapters. Depending on your program, branches and chapters may be the perfect collaborators. Email branchrelations@aauw.org so we can help connect you.


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