Raise Money and Help Students with The Princeton Review

Want to bring mission-based programming to your community and raise funds for your work? AAUW collaborator The Princeton Review has dozens of valuable turnkey programs that help students prepare for college or graduate school applications. They’ll provide the content and the speaker, and you provide the location.

So, how do you get started?

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1. Choose your program.

The programs that The Princeton Review offers center around the company’s in-demand products and services. You can host

  • Practice tests for the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT
    Offering a practice test is an ideal way to work with your local college, high school, or PTA. If you hold the event on campus, you’ll get the space you need for free, and you can charge students a nominal fee (usually $10, but certain areas can charge as much as $25 per person).
  • How to Ace the LSAT (or the grad school test of your choice)
    Is there a prestigious medical school or law school in your area? Students want to know how to score well on these tests to overcome that first entrance hurdle. This workshop covers strategies and techniques and is perfect for reaching college students or recent graduates.
  • Getting into the Grad School of Your Choice
    This workshop discusses the pros and cons of various programs, which tests you have to take for which program, when should you take the test, and more. This is great for college students, recent graduates, or those making a midcareer adjustment.
  • Design your own!
    AAUW created a Women and the MBA panel event that includes a Princeton Review representative, the dean of an MBA program, and a local professional woman with an MBA. What’s the niche need in your area? This is an outstanding opportunity to reach young professionals in your community who are interested in taking that next career step.

Which program is of greatest interest in your community, and which will help attract new members to your branch? Remember, The Princeton Review will supply the test moderator or a speaker. All you have to do is decide what you want to do and how much you want to charge.

2. Connect with your local Princeton Review office.

The Princeton Review has a location in almost every major city. Simply search the web for the closest office and give them a call. Explain that AAUW has a national relationship with The Princeton Review and that you’d like to work with them on putting on a program in your community (e-mail program@aauw.org if you need help).

3. Location, location, location

This part is usually easy — and free! Your local AAUW college/university partner member is an excellent place to start, or you can reach out to any local campus. Graduate schools are always trying to increase their pools of applicants. Get in touch with someone in admissions, the nursing school, the law school, the medical school, the business school, or another appropriate department; they will be very eager to host a How to Ace the GMAT, Women and the MBA, or another program. As a matter of fact, some will even offer to provide refreshments. How’s that for eager? They can also reserve a free space on campus to hold your event. Or if you want to host an exam for high school students, get in touch with school counselors or the school’s PTA to find out what spaces might be available.

4. Choose the date.

Coordinate with your Princeton Review representative, and then think about space availability and what makes sense in conjunction with the test-administration schedules and application deadlines.

5. Decide what you’ll charge and how you’ll handle registration.

You want to charge an admission fee for two reasons:

  • First, this was supposed to be a fundraiser, right?
  • Second, if you don’t charge a nominal fee, your attendance rate actually drops. People do not value a product if it’s free. In other words, if you’re giving it away, something must be wrong with it.

We recommend charging $10 for anything other than a practice test. You can typically charge $20 or more for a practice test where students receive their scores back from The Princeton Review.

Eventbrite is a good registration tool: It will allow you to collect information about attendees (important if you want to follow up and engage them in your branch activities after your event). You will still need a payment collection vehicle, though.

Here are some easy ways to handle transactions:

  • If AAUW Site Resources is maintaining your branch or state site, we can create an event registration form for you. Contact the Site Resources staff at site-resources@aauw.org to learn more.
  • PayPal will allow you to collect fees with a 2.5 percent transaction fee.
  • Collect cash and checks at the door. Not ideal in an increasingly electronic economy but still an option. Just make sure you collect all the registration data before the event so you know who was at your event and can follow up.

6. Advertise!

The great thing about this event is that your fellow collaborators will also be advertising, so you are not alone. But you can still do a lot to boost attendance. Put posters everywhere on and around campus. Draft language for your local paper and student newspaper, and e-mail the editors to get your program featured or on an event listing. Send e-mails out to your networks. Put it on your branch website and Facebook accounts. Contact your local radio station for an appropriately timed public service announcement (4 p.m. for high school students, 10 p.m. for college students, and morning or evening rush hour for those who are working).

7. Recruit volunteers to help run your event.

Get volunteers not only from your branch but also from other groups in your community, such as your local high school honor society or Key Club (both organizations require service hours).

8. Make connections.

The point of hosting an event with The Princeton Review is to raise funds and recruit, but that does not mean waving a join brochure in someone’s face. Let attendees get to know you, and then make the ask. This is why it’s so critical that you get attendees’ contact information for follow-up.If anyone asks what your branch does, try and tailor your responses to the areas that would be of greatest interest to her or him. For example, if you are hosting a Women and the MBA workshop, you could discuss AAUW’s fellowships and grants and perhaps our equal pay efforts.

But making connections doesn’t end when you stack the chairs after your event. Follow up via e-mail, and remember to invite attendees to other branch events.

9. And keep these things in mind.

Once the first event is under your belt, schedule more. Try and have at least two per year. Everything becomes more rote with subsequent events, and attendance usually increases as well when you have regular sessions. Consistency also means that you’ll get more efficient at running your event, and you’ll yield greater financial results.Remember, everyone in this transaction stands to gain. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and you should remind people of that. Using our Women and the MBA example,

  1. The Princeton Review will gain exposure to a group that might purchase test prep products or services.
  2. The host college or university will gain exposure to potential applicants.
  3. Your branch will gain exposure to potential members, and you’ll raise funds.

It’s a win-win-win!

Need help planning? E-mail program@aauw.org and we’ll be happy to lend a hand with ideas and next steps.