One of the ways that student organizations can increase the funds available to support their activities is through fundraising. As a Recognized Student Organization, your group has limited ability to approach outside entities for contributions to support your activities using the University's not-for-profit, 501(c)3 status. You can do most fundraising on your own; however, certain fundraising activities require University approval.
The University can work with you to plan your approach and identify groups that you might contact for support. If you would like to pursue outside sources of funding, please talk with your RSO advisor before you approach any prospective donors. We will work with you to secure approval to contact your potential donors and to ensure that you have the greatest chance of success.
Fundraising Activities That You Can Do On Your Own
- Sell program ads or ask local businesses for sponsorship less than $500.
- Ask local businesses to make in-kind donations (food, supplies, etc.).
- Sell items in the Reynolds Club Marketplace, the Bartlett Lobby, or outside Cobb.
- Sell items through the UChicago Student Organization Shopify page
*Online sales through utilities such as PayPal or Venmo and credit card sales using apps like Square are prohibited. Contact the Finance Office for more information.
Contact your RSO advisor for advice on how to approach the companies.
Offer local businesses public recognition in exchange for their donation. Companies are more likely to make a gift if they receive recognition on posters, in programs, etc.
We strongly urge you to send thank you letters to the businesses that provide support to you. A thank you letter can go a long way to encourage businesses to donate in the future.
Fundraising Activities That Require University Approval
A few groups may also want to spend more time and effort to:
- Contact your group's alumni, friends, and parents and ask them for support.
- Ask a company for sponsorship over $500.
- Apply for grants from foundations.
These activities require explicit approval and may take considerable time to arrange.
Your RSO advisor can help you with these fundraising efforts. Working closely with the University's Development Office, Alumni Association, and Campus and Student Life, your RSO advisor can:
- Meet with you to discuss your fundraising goals and possible sources of donations.
- Identify opportunities for Alumni outreach.
- Coordinate required approvals processes to reach out to possible donors.
- Connect your group to resource guides which list foundational and corporate funding sources and provide information on the types of projects they fund with sample letters and proposals.
- Ensure that gifts to your organization are processed correctly so that the donor receives a University of Chicago receipt for tax purposes.