Getting to the Student Summit...on a Budget

November 6, 2018

The Annual Student Summit will be here before you know it and we want you all to come!! National Council member, Malika Saxena, is here to give you tips and tricks on how to fundraise for the Summit so you're able to join us in DC for the best weekend of your lives!!

Dear UNICEF Club leaders,

It’s crazy to believe, but it’s already time to start thinking about the 2019 Annual Summit in March! We know what you’re thinking — “I’m so excited, but… how can I afford to go??”

My goal is to help provide a few tips on how you can make the student summit more financially feasible. We understand that travel and lodging expenses might seem daunting, but community fundraising can help you and your club raise money for a low-budget and successful experience. As you begin raising money for your trip, keep the following things in mind:

Know the total cost of travel and lodging.

  • Budgeting for a trip may be one of the most important, but daunting tasks to complete. It is important to really understand what the total cost of the summit is going to be. Expenses to take into consideration include registration, travel, lodging, food that isn’t covered during the summit, and transportation to and from the airport or to and from the event space.

Remember that it is unlikely for you to raise all of your funds through one source.

  • Be sure to raise funds through many different methods and, as they say, don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Throughout this blog we will talk about a lot of different ways that you can raise money. Try all of them if you would like, but definitely be sure to fundraise in more than one way and be creative!

Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan and follow it!

  • Not only is important to know your budget, but it's also important to create a detailed plan including what methods you will take to fundraise, what costs you are fundraising for and what your fundraising targets are each month as we approach the Summit. Developing a plan and sticking to it will help make sure you see the greatest success. If you decide to write letters asking for sponsors, don’t give up after 1 or 2 rejections. Just keep going after it and sticking to your plan and hopefully some success will come! 

Begin fundraising right away.

  • Fundraising is a time-consuming task and it doesn’t happen overnight! The sooner you start, the more money you will raise and the more you will be able to enjoy the days leading up to the summit versus stressing about the money!

Do not get discouraged — persistence will always pay off.

  • This is kind of like my point above; just stick with it! The hard work will all pay off when you’re sitting in the auditorium with hundreds of other passionate UNICEF leaders!!

So what can I do? Well, this is going to be my fourth student summit, so I’ve had the chance to see a lot of successful and unsuccessful fundraisers over the years. I wanted to share with you some of the best experiences that I and my fellow peers have had. Hopefully, it will help you gain a better understanding of what you can do!

Talk to your principal and/or school board about sponsoring your club leaders.

  • The first thing we suggest is talking to your principal and/or the school board about why you and your club want to attend the UNICEF USA Student Summit. Provide information about the activity of your club -- like what fundraisers and campaigns you’ve held. Let them know that what you’re doing is IMPORTANT and that you’d love to do more for UNICEF. The summit is a great way to collaborate with other student leaders and learn about more ways to engage your community towards positive, global change. You are the change makers and the Earth shakers that your school should be proud to support! Typically, school boards will have money already set aside for causes like this one, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask!

Apply for the UNICEF USA Travel Reimbursement.

  • This is the easiest thing you can do to raise funds for the conference. If you apply soon, you’re likely to get at least a small reimbursement! Unfortunately, there are limited amounts of funds and a lot of applications that come through, so we don’t recommend this being your only source of funding. Also, remember that this is a travel reimbursement, so you won’t get the money that is awarded to you until after you attend the summit. This just means that you must be able to front the money before we send you a check to reimburse it.

Write letters to friends, family members, and businesses asking for them to sponsor you.

  • Conveying your passion for UNICEF and explaining why you want to attend the student summit is another great way to fund your expenses. People love hearing what young people are doing to contribute to positive change within our world. Even if you can’t find a sponsor, it’s a great way to advocate for UNICEF’s work and build connections for future collaborations and donations.

Reach out to local non-profits and community groups.

  • Groups like Rotary, Kiwanis, and local churches, among other groups, will sometimes give students grants for leadership development opportunities. If you're in college, different departments at your school will have funding as well. For example, the International Dep. of Global Health, or departments with related fields usually have funding that people can ask the dean or head of the department for in exchange for a presentation to the department or to several classes.

Check in with your local government. 

  • Local governments sometimes have funding for leadership development opportunities, specifically as it relates to learning about civic engagement. Look into opportunities to work with local governments to get funding and build a relationship with their offices. The Student Summit is happening in D.C. and it's a great civic engagement learning opportunity!

​Think about what you can provide to those who support you. 

  • Take some time to think about what you can bring back to the people that fund your trip. Maybe it's doing a presentation, writing a blog or filming a vlog about your trip or committing to organize an event about the Summit once you return. 

Pick up a side job for a couple of months and put the money you make aside for the summit.

  • Trust me, the best kind of easy money will always be babysitting, mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow, but you could always work at a restaurant or be a tutor if you’re looking for a more sustainable and reliable way to earn a little extra.

Host a fundraiser!

  • When fundraising, be sure to specify that the money is to send your club members to the Student Summit. Again, emphasize why it’s important for you to go the summit and what knowledge you hope to bring back from it! Some quick and easy fundraisers include having a bake sale or hosting a movie night.

Stay tuned for more cost saving travel tips in our next Student Summit Blog! If you have any questions or more suggestions, let me know! I can’t wait to see you all at the Student Summit next year :)