Funding Your NCAAW
Raising funds for your alcohol awareness week isn't the insurmountable task that it may first appear. It just takes planning, organization and follow-through. Preventing alcohol and drug abuse is a top priority, as well as a favorite cause on campuses. Your role is to tap into this concern and come up with a well thought out plan and budget, to identify potential funding sources both on your campus and in your community, to provide leadership, to build a coalition of individuals and organizations to help achieve the targeted goals and to orchestrate the follow through.
PLANNING AND BUDGETING
Generally, it is more effective and easier to raise funds for a concrete rather than an abstract idea. Remember, if you have clearly identified what you want to accomplish, how you intend to do it and what it will cost, potential donors and sponsors will be more receptive. Plan your week as a series of small varied activities revolving around a central theme. By doing this, even if you are unable to fund your total program you will still be able to have activities going on throughout the week.
For example, when you are looking for funding for a women's issues program during your NCAAW, you should work with your NCAAW committee member from that department, then seek funding from them to offset the costs of your speaker. This would be better than asking the Women's Studies Department to make a general contribution.
When you are preparing your budget, make sure that you can identify all of the costs by category, since some funding sources that you may wish to tap into may be limited in the type of things they can or will fund. A print shop near campus, for example, probably wonÆt give you a cash donation, but they might give you a huge discount on the printing of your publicity materials. This can save you a lot of money!
Other sources may be willing to contribute "in-kind" goods and services where budgets will not permit a monetary contribution. For example, if you have a business school, your public relations department might not have any funds to contribute, but they might enlist their students to design publicity for your NCAAW campaign as an independent study project.
POTENTIAL FUNDING SOURCES
When you are compiling your potential funding list, it is helpful to divide it into two categories: on-campus and off-campus sources. Be sure that you do not underestimate the potential sources of campus funds for alcohol and drug education activities. Remember, virtually every campus has targeted alcohol and drug abuse prevention as a "must do" activity and so are eager to get involved, even those offices who traditionally seem to be less willing to open their purses. Your strategy should be simple: ask everyone!
A practical way to begin your search for campus funding is to spend some time going through the campus organization section of your campus directory. Don't be shy in asking for any type of support that an organization is able to provide. Just because some groups have budgets that will not allow them to contribute money, doesn't mean that they can't or don't want to provide support for your programs. For example, your campus newspaper might discount advertising or provide free ads when you have spent a specified dollar amount for advertising. Some campus offices may be willing to provide volunteers to help with activities or in distribution of materials. Assistance comes in a myriad of ways. Don't be afraid to ask for help and ideas from anyone and everyone in each campus office you approach.
COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS RESOURCES
Identifying off-campus resources and building coalitions with them is next. NCAAW can be the beginning of the creation of a more comprehensive support system for your continuing year-round programs. The first step in this effort is to look for your natural allies in alcohol abuse prevention such as: health care providers, alcohol beverage vendors (liquor stores, taverns, beer distributors, drug and grocery stores), automobile dealerships, local civic organizations, and the local media. State Highway Safety Departments, Departments of Health, local law enforcement departments and local education districts are excellent sources of support, money and sponsorships. Businesses in the campus area which depend largely on students are also usually willing partners in your activities. Campus eateries are good places to approach for support such as free meals or gift certificates to give away at events. Be sure to check your school's policies concerning commercial sponsorships.
Before paying for anything, be sure to check to see if the vendor will discount or donate it as an "in-kind" contribution. Many schools have been very successful in getting food and non-alcoholic beverages donated or substantially discounted for promotional consideration. Sometimes a local business will donate one of his/her regularly scheduled newspaper advertisements to you to advertise your NCAAW efforts. If you can't get something donated, try to get another sponsor to buy it for you. Again here is where your well thought out plan comes into play. When you approach each potential sponsor you will know how the piece you are requesting will fit in with the grand scheme.
If you decide to run a special fundraising event to raise money for your NCAAW activities, try to build in an educational component. There's no sense in missing a golden opportunity to educate at the same time you are raising money. A car wash becomes educational when you distribute anti-impaired driving litter bags or bumper stickers to people who have their cars washed. A plant or poster sale becomes educational, when you give away a free alcohol poisoning poster with each purchase. A Christmas tree sale becomes educational when you provide a length of red ribbon to "tie one on for the holidays" as a reminder against drunk driving.
Other special events can become educational when they are made a part of NCAAW or local "drunk driving awareness days." A 10k Run becomes educational when the distance or number of steps is related to alcohol statistics, or is held the morning after a "big" weekend. Get your local grocery store and bakeries to donate cakes free of charge and sell chances on tickets to win a cake...after all, everyone needs a birthday or anniversary cake at some point. Whatever you do, make sure you follow your campus and community policies for fundraising so you stay within the limits of the law. The possibilities are many!
GRANT FUNDING RESOURCES
There are dozens of federal, state and local drug abuse prevention grants which can help to fund NCAAW activities and year-round prevention efforts. The trick, obviously, is finding them and getting them. Check with your state's drug prevention coordinating agency, which should serve as your primary information source on federal and state grants. You should also check with your state department of highway safety, which often has funds earmarked for youth prevention programming.
Remember also that alcohol and drug abuse prevention continues to be a hot topic and many national and local foundations as well as corporations are funding education and prevention programs. Your institution's grants office can help you in this area. Don't forget to contact any corporations whose headquarters are located in your community. These businesses are often good sources of funding. Contact with them offers an excellent opportunity to begin building an on-going coalition between your respective organizations.
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