Anyone involved with a student organization can tell you that money is often tight. The university will rarely fund a student organization directly; in most cases, these groups get their money through membership dues, donations and fundraising. With most of the organizations within a school asking for cash from the same local pool, raising money can be a tall order—especially for students, who rarely have much time between classes, studying and jobs.

This means your fundraising ideas have to be fresh—providing the biggest return in the least amount of time while also requiring the least amount of work. If you’re stumped for ideas, check out these five suggestions to get you started.

1. Have a sale
Have some promotional items made and sell them on campus. Depending on your budget, the items can be small (such as magnets or stickers) or bigger (such as t-shirts or hats). If you are raising money for your group’s philanthropy or cause, you can personalize your items with a relevant message (advocating for the environment or cancer research, for instance). If you are just raising money for your group, consider a fun, generic design that will appeal to a mass group of people. After all, the more you sell, the more money your group will have.

If you don’t think promotional items are a good way to go, try food. If the best way to people’s heart is through their stomachs, why not take that route to their wallets too? Candy bars and other snacks are a big hit with fellow students during long classes. Alternatively, you could bring a taste of home to campus by having a bake sale with homemade goods. Be sure to leave out all nuts so those with allergies don’t need to be concerned. Include some low-calorie items for those who want to satisfy their sweet tooths, but are also trying to watch their weight. You can also take orders for at-home kits so people can make their own food (such as pizza or cookies) from the comfort of their dorm or apartment. After all, what college student doesn’t love pizza?

2. Host an event
If your group would rather get everything done in one day instead of selling items over time, consider having an event. Sticking with the food theme, you could have a spaghetti dinner or pancake breakfast. Members of your group can work as cooks and servers. Decorate the venue with information about your group and what you do, allowing guests to learn more about your organization. The more they know, the more likely they’ll be to give.

Working with food can be tricky, so if that doesn’t sound like your thing, go a different direction. Put together a benefit concert or dance marathon. To keep your overhead costs down, try to get the band or DJ to volunteer their services; if you can’t get the services for free, negotiate a reduced rate.

You could also host a car wash, 5K race or fun run. These types of events require little overhead. You’ll only need soap, buckets, sponges and a water source for a car wash. A race will require little more than directional signs, bottled water and awards.

Regardless of the event, don’t forget to promote it on social media and with flyers to get people to attend. If you don’t plan your fundraiser properly, it will not be successful.

3. Partner with a local business
Partner with a local restaurant or business so that a percentage of their profits will go to your group or cause from a specific period of time. Members of your group could work at the business during that time as a way to get more information about your organization out there. This will take a little legwork to iron out the details.

Put together informational packets for potential professional partners using clear view binders; there are many types to keep your materials safe and protected from damage. Include information about your organization, its finances, the benefits of donating and what you plan to use your new funds for. This will give your organization a professional look and show you do not take this situation lightly. The clear pocket on the front allows you to use a personalized insert on the cover and the spine. Plus, you’ll be able to reuse them for other projects, which stretches money more.

4. Have a bottle drive
For a quick event that doesn’t rely on attendance or sales, have a bottle drive. There is no end to the supply of plastic and aluminum on a Saturday and Sunday morning in a college town. Get an early start and head down the street to collect those empty beverage bottles and cans. In some states, those empty containers are worth five to 10 cents each. In other states, you can take them to a scrap yard for some extra cash.

It’s important to get as many members of your organization as possible to participate so that you can cover the most ground. It’s also a good idea to advertise your bottle drive in advance, and stop by the Greek houses a few days before your drive to let them know what you are doing so they can save the containers for you. If you are successful, you can set a regular schedule of once a month or so to pick up collections.

5. Tutor
If your group is academic and centered around a specific subject such as math or a foreign language, set up tutoring sessions or offer another service related to the subject. Offer help in that foreign language for an hourly rate, or help people file their taxes. If your organization is more of a social group with members with a variety of majors, you still can offer tutoring services. Members can supply help in the subjects in which they are strongest, whether it’s proofreading term papers or going over human anatomy.

You can advertise a set date, time and location for your services, or just advertise your services and take appointments. This way, members of your group can participate at a time that is convenient for them. Be sure one member of the group keeps track of tutoring appointments and profits to avoid confusion. For safety reasons, all tutoring should occur in a public place.

Fundraising is tough, especially on a college campus because most college students don’t have much in the way of a disposable income. However, if the cause is worthy enough, they’ll dig deep to give something. After all, every little bit helps.

Hopefully, these tips will help you put the fun in fundraiser. Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments below.

Author's Bio: 

Haris is a blogger who loves to write about latest marketing trends, finance, start-ups, business etc.