Fundraise Your Way to ICDC

As career development conferences begin to commence, it’s time to look ahead to the pinnacle of our year – the International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee!

Get ready for four unforgettable days with 20,000 DECA members from around the world as we take on Music City. However, like any week-long trip, the expenses can quickly add up. Often, a lack of funds can prevent members and chapters from attending events like ICDC. Don’t let that happen to you. With a well-planned fundraising effort, anything is possible!

Fundraising often gets a bad reputation for being too hard or not producing the desired outcome. However, by following the six keys to fundraising, you will soon find yourself with money to fund your chapter’s trip to Nashville.


1. Answer the “Why”

When starting any fundraiser, it’s critical to identify the specific purpose. Individuals are more likely to contribute to a cause when they can understand it and get excited about it. In this case, your purpose is to raise money to fund your chapter’s trip to ICDC.

Once you’ve identified the purpose, it’s time to solidify a sales pitch that answers the question: “Why should I support you?” Try to answer this question from the perspective of your chapter’s members who you will ask to be involved, your school who you will ask for support and members of your community who you will ask to contribute.

Your sales pitch should be impactful, compelling and address any potential concerns.

Questions to answer:

  • What is the purpose of our fundraiser?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • What is our sales pitch? Why should they get involved?
  • Why would someone not want to be involved? How can we change that?

2. Choose the Correct Fundraiser

While there is an endless possibility of fundraisers to choose from, it’s best to select a fundraiser that meets the needs of your chapter and its resources. There are three main types to consider:

  1. Sales – Selling products or services. Typically, this requires the chapter to make a large initial investment and requires the work of many members to sell items on an individual basis.
  2. Events – Activities that involve entertainment or competition. With events, there is a potential for very high profit, but promotion is critical to draw attendees. Active collaboration is key to pull off a fundraising event.
  3. Direct Solicitation – Securing donations and sponsorships from individuals and organizations. This may require less hands-on work, but will still need many hours of support and lots of follow-up with potential donors.

Questions to answer:

  • What type of fundraiser do we want to do?
  • What are our limitations (time, money, space, etc).
  • What are the specifics? (Items, prices, location, event, methods, etc.)

3. Organize Effectively

As with any project, it’s important to have a well-thought-out plan to ensure success. First, set a fundraising goal based on the amount of money you will need for ICDC. Be sure to calculate total expenses from registration and hotel fees to transportation and meals.

With the end goal in mind, it’s time to create a budget. Your budget should include both your estimated revenue and all expenses you are likely to incur. While it may be obvious, make sure your profit is equal to or greater than your overall goal. If it’s not, you’ll have to find a way to adjust your budget or select a new idea.

Then, it’s time to get specific and determine timelines. Break down all of the major and minor details with deadlines to keep your chapter on track.

Questions to answer:

  • What is our overall goal?
  • What is our budget? Will we make enough money?
  • What are all the steps needed to make this possible?
  • What is our timeline for each step?

4. Utilize Teamwork

While you may be leading the charge within your chapter, your efforts as an individual are never as great as those of a team. If you haven’t already, assemble a committee or a task force of members who can help guide your chapter’s efforts.

The following factors are critical to ensure proper teamwork:

  • Use the varied expertise of your members to brainstorm new ideas.
  • Combine talents and resources to raise more money.
  • Define responsibilities and clear expectations to prevent overlap and ensure all members are working toward a common goal.
  • Communicate with your team and volunteers for consistent information.

Questions to answer:

  • What are the areas of responsibility to be delegated?
  • Which chapter members need to be involved?
  • How can we make sure everyone is engaged and supportive?

5. Take Action and Follow-through

Finally, it’s time to put your plan into place. Once you’ve launched your fundraising effort, it’s essential to keep up the momentum! To ensure you don’t lose steam, stick to your pre-planned timeline and hold members accountable for their various responsibilities. Practice clear and consistent communication with your team to be sure that everyone is in the loop at all times and remember to provide encouragement along the way.

Just as you communicate with your members, it’s important to follow-up with anyone who contributes to your fundraiser. This can be accomplished through hand-written thank you notes or small tokens of appreciation sent to donors. Building a long-term relationship with donors will set your chapter up for future success.

Questions to answer:

  • How can we ensure we stick to our plans?
  • How will we keep chapter members informed?
  • How will we thank donors and volunteers?

6. Reflect and Analyze

Often the most overlooked, this final step is critical to ensure continued success in the future. Not only should you compare your budget to actual profit and expenses, but evaluate the process used. By the time you’re done evaluating your fundraiser, you should already have a giant head start on future fundraising efforts because you’ll be able to get better each time.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate! Whether you hit your goal or not, you’ll be one step closer to your ICDC fundraising goals. Be sure to reward the efforts of your chapter’s members and thank them for helping make the event a success.

Questions to answer:

  • Did we meet our fundraising goal and stick to the budget?
  • What worked well? What did not go as planned?
  • If we were to do it again, what would we add, subtract and keep the same?
  • How should we celebrate?

Click here to discover fundraising ideas for your chapter.

Categories: Chapter Resources, Chapter Resources (Home Page Teaser), Collegiate DECA ICDC, Fundraising, ICDC