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Securing Funds

Securing funds is important but can sometimes be a complicated process. In some cases, seeking out non-cash donations of time, goods or services may be easier or more effective. Here are some suggestions for how to raise money and secure non-cash donations for your Chapter’s activities.

Monetary-Focused Efforts:

Student Chapters may be able to seek out resources on your campus to support your Chapter: Register with your school as an official club so you can access funding, campus rooms, and other resources. Research other places to get university funding, such as student activities and affairs, career services, centers of community engagement, and Dean’s grants and awards. If you are planning a program or event, think of campus offices that might be able to provide financial or logistical support.

Membership Dues & Event Fees: If allowed by your school, this can be a good way to raise funds. Make sure you are familiar with your school’s rules and how they apply to your Chapter. Professional or hybrid chapters may wish to consider nominal membership dues as a way to obtain funds for networking events, professional workshop opportunities, field trips, and more.  If your Chapter is planning an in-person event, you may want to consider charging a small fee for participants to offset some of the costs, which might include expenses for food, venue rental, speaker compensation, or other event costs. One important consideration to keep in mind is that requiring dues or fees from members can create barriers to participation and access for some. If your Chapter decides to implement monetary fees, we also encourage you to consider a scholarship process to reduce financial barriers, promote equity, and ensure that members have equal access to engage in your Chapter’s activities. 

Sell a good or service: Selling products (like T-shirts or baked goods) or services (like car washing or other skills your Chapter members have) can help raise funds for your Chapter. Here are some ideas to consider: 

  • Sell products such as Chapter t-shirts, reusable water bottles, mugs, or other items to help raise funds. Think about some of the unique skills of your Chapter members and if there are products you could sell based on those skills. Is there a member of your Chapter that is a great photographer? Offer professional headshots for a fee. Or maybe there is an artist in your Chapter? Sell their art for donations! 
  • Host a garage sale, bake sale, or car wash to raise funds for your Chapter. 
  • Think about what service you might be able to provide in your community. Is there a need for skills that your Chapter members have that you could provide for a nominal fee to help your Chapter raise funds and also help your community? For example, maybe there is a small business owner who could use some help getting their word out about their business. Consider asking them if they need help passing out flyers or creating a social media presence in exchange for a donation to your Chapter. 
  • Is there a park, beach, or another community area that could benefit from a clean-up? Consider asking a local business to sponsor your Chapter for a clean-up event where Chapter members volunteer to complete the clean-up - perhaps by picking up trash and washing benches - in exchange for a donation to the Chapter.  

Fundraise: While Net Impact Central is not able to extend our nonprofit, tax-exempt status to your Chapter, some campus-based Chapters may be able to have tax-exempt status extended to them by their school. The benefit in the U.S, in particular, of having tax-exempt status extended to your Chapter is that individuals and companies who donate to your Chapter may be able to then claim a deduction on their federal taxes. However, any Chapter can plan fundraising events regardless of tax-exempt status. It is important to be clear to donors that your Chapter is not a tax-exempt entity so that donors understand they won’t receive tax benefits for their donations. Here are some ideas for fundraising: 

  • Host a fundraising event such as a gala or raffle 
  • Ask for donations from Chapter and/or university alumni
  • Consider starting a “Go Fund Me” or using another online platform to solicit donations from your community, family, and friends. 
  • Consider contacting local businesses, such as restaurants, to see if they might be willing to offer your Chapter a certain percentage of sales to help fundraise for a particular event or activity. You could suggest that a portion of funds goes to your Chapter from anyone who brings in/shows a flyer - whether a physical flyer or a social media post.  

Non-Monetary focused Efforts
In some cases, businesses and individuals may be unable to give your chapter financial donations but may be willing to donate their time, expertise, goods, or services. These are often called “in-kind donations.” Other terms for this may include non-monetary resources or pro-bono support. Here are some examples of how your Chapter could consider seeking non-cash donations to support your Chapter’s activities:

  • Seek food donations to support an event or community activity.  This could mean contacting a local restaurant to see if they would be willing to donate food. Other ideas include asking a grocery store for food supplies or organizing a community potluck event where community members each contribute one food dish to help create a large meal for a Chapter event. 
  • Ask professionals or other social impact leaders to donate their time and expertise to serve as speakers for an event. 
  • Contact local businesses that can help address a need for your Chapter - for example, maybe there is a business that could allow your Chapter access to a venue/space for free for an event. Or maybe there is a transportation company that would be willing to donate the use of a bus for free to transport your Chapter on a field trip.  

Other Opportunities for Support from Net Impact Central

  • Apply for Net Impact Central Supported Programs: Many of the Net Impact Central Programs are executed in partnership with Net Impact Central staff and partner organizations at no cost to your Chapter. Other programs provide funding for Chapter Leaders to execute. These Programs provide a great way for your Chapter to easily implement a variety of low-cost activities to develop members’ skills, interests, and abilities in pursuit of impact.
  • Go for Gold Status and Chapter of the Year: Gold Chapters and Chapters of the Year receive great benefits at Net Impact events and special recognition.

Can I Use Net Impact’s Nonprofit Tax Exempt Status?
Net Impact Central’s nonprofit, tax-exempt status does not extend to Chapters, so Chapters cannot use Net Impact's tax ID. Tax laws are extremely strict regarding fundraising and expenditure of funds, so Chapter activity that infringes on these laws could threaten Net Impact Central’s nonprofit status. For non-U.S.-based Chapters, we recommend that you look into your country's financial and tax implications to learn more.  U.S.-based Chapters can individually apply for 501(c)3 status if they would like to have more flexibility in forming permanent partnerships and securing cash or in-kind donations. U.S.-based Professional Chapters that are interested in applying for tax-exempt status may refer to this Net Impact resource for guidance. For campus-based Chapters within the U.S., your school likely extends nonprofit status to you as an official organization (check with your school for details).