Before you start fundraising, it is helpful to advertise on social media through platforms such as  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This way, people of your community are aware of NYRA’s goal before you even ask them to contribute. People may even reach out to you online. To easily create a colorful and appealing flyer for free, try Canva or Piktochart. Make use of pictures, quotes, phrases and more from the NYRA website. 

To familiarize more of your community with NYRA’s cause, ask a local newspaper to feature a story on NYRA. This might be difficult as it may cost to advertise, but it does not hurt to send an email to the editor explaining why they should write a story on NYRA. 

Online Fundraising

A quick and easy way to fundraise is through online platforms. Social media platforms can be adjusted to start fundraisers, with one of the most popular fundraising platforms being Facebook. GoFundMe is another popular digital fundraising platform. Just make sure that the online platforms are legitimate. The most important aspect of online fundraising is effectively telling the story of your NYRA chapter, and why you specifically believe in the causes of NYRA.

Holding Events

Holding events is a good way to raise a couple of hundred dollars at a time and have a good deal of fun while doing it. Remember, doing things in a group can make the difference between it feeling like work and making it an activity you can enjoy that incidentally generates money. There are a  lot of good ideas on the internet and in many other youth organizing books about the types of events you can hold. A few of the more interesting ones NYRA has come across or tried include:

Making Buttons

Buttons can be cheap to make, and easy and fun to sell. Exercise your creative spirit to come up with cool designs for the buttons. You can use chapter meetings to make them. Selling buttons can be a good small scale source of revenue.

Garage Sale

Sounds old and not very profitable right? The results of a garage sale are dependent on you how go about it. Hold a garage sale right before college students return from school.  be surprised at the kind of money you can make off things like old tables, couches, or even things like lamps you no longer need or anything in between. If every member brings a few things they don’t want you can get quite a spread going. This isn’t always the most effective option and naturally cannot be done everywhere.

Partnering With a Local Restaurant for a Day

Approach a local restaurant and talk to them about splitting percentage of sales from everyone who says they come to the restaurant on behalf of your NYRA chapter.. Restaurants will offer anywhere between 5 – 15% of what they make. Be sure to advertise this especially well, have members organize groups of friends to go, and be sure everyone in your chapter goes as well.

Find Other Ways to Raise Money in Your Community

Many of the best options are those tailored best to work within the community your chapter operates. While having a clam bake or such in New England makes sense (with a lot of organization and money) it would make less sense in the middle of Chicago. Look to see where money making opportunities are in your community and find ways to turn them to your advantage, remember, fundraising isn’t the end goal of NYRA, advocacy is, so don’t get carried away.

Another easy option for fundraising is to start a gofundme page to post on social media.

Grants and Programs

Many organizations have grants and programs that give substantial amounts of money (anywhere from $250 to $20,000 and more) to groups of motivated youth looking to be activists. These grants are excellent places to turn to if your NYRA chapter finds itself in need of funds. One group in particular, Youth Venture, is famous for offering $1000 grants to youth activist groups. All most grants require is a plan for how you’ll spend the money and the proper filing of a few forms. A few of the better groups to get grants from:

Youth Venture

As mentioned, Youth Venture offers a number of grants, including a $1000 grant that all chapters qualify for with the required paperwork. All new chapters should apply for this grant. We have worked with Youth Venture in the past, and they are familiar with our organization. Several of NYRA’s chapters have received Youth Venture grants in the past. This is, perhaps, the single best way to get started raising money. NYRA’s staff is more than happy to help walk you through the process, should you have any questions. This grant is not a competitive, so most chapters should be able to receive money from Youth Venture.

The Kellogg Institute

A charitable foundation that gives out grants is the Kellogg Institute. A different group looking to help lower the voter age in their town has received Kellogg Institute grants in the past. A decent place to look for what might be available for your own priorities and projects.

The Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation is a  group that focuses on journalism related objectives. Is your school paper heavily censored resulting in the future of free speech rights for students? Here’s a group that might be interested in helping you out.

Working Through Your School

Every school deals forms clubs in different ways. Some colleges have massive student activity budgets where hundreds of dollars are available through proposal of a decent budget. Other colleges keep their groups on a shoestring budget, if that. High schools are also a mixed bag, sometimes they’ll give their clubs money, and other times just a place to meet. How you try to get funding from your school is very much dependent one what school it is you go to. However, here are some standard suggestions:

Stress That NYRA is a Political Interest Group

Many, though admittedly not all, schools like having a diverse number of political advocacy groups, Young/College Democrats and Republicans chapters make schools look  civically engaged and responsible. NYRA chapters are non-partisan, but are every bit as legitimate a political organization as a Democrats or Republicans group. Make sure whoever is in charge of the club registration process understands the contribution a NYRA group can make to a student body.

Stress That NYRA is an Advocacy Group

Chapters are advocating for change. A lot of schools will enjoy the publicity that comes from students being involved in the local political process. Utilize the appeal of NYRA and activism to explain how NYRA can encourage positive community participation.

Local Neighborhood

The best way for our committed members to fundraise right now is to “pound the pavement.” All you have to do is pick up a clipboard with donation sheets, and take a walk around a local neighborhood.  Contact NYRA’s national office or visit the website with any questions you may have about supplies.

Pick Your Zone

Once you’ve got your NYRA gear, find an area where you feel comfortable walking around, and where you think you will find people who will donate. You should probably try the nice part of town first, because they will have more money to spare. Or, if you’re in a large city, search for a busy (and safe!) intersection or sidewalk. Then, stay in one place and speak with to everyone who walks by. Try to stay out of people’s way and don’t stand in the street. Safety first.

Determine Your Goals

Before you start walking or pick a location, determine how many houses you are going to visit. It is also productive to determine how many donations you would like to receive before stopping.  The first time you go out, you might go by the number of hours you work. It is easier to stay motivated if you take on a reasonable goal. Over time, many reasonable goals will help you reach a larger milestone.

Start Walking

The easiest way to get going is just to start walking. After you arrive in your zone, approach the first house on your right (or your left) and ring the doorbell. If nobody answers, move on to the next house. A lot of people are not going to be home. If they are home, move on to the next step. If you’re standing in one location, just begin talking to folks as they walk by. Look people in the eye and make sure to say hello.

Introduce Yourself

When the homeowner answers, introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m John Smith.” Shake their hand if they seem friendly. “I’m here on behalf of the National Youth Rights Association. Have you heard of our organization?” Most of them will say no. They might ask you what we do. Just tell them, “We’re a nonprofit organization that is trying to protect the rights of young people, such as…”, and then mention a few of our goals. The goals you mention will depend on the person. Mention the goals that you think are most relevant to them. If they interrupt you and tell you they are not interested, say “thanks for your time” and move on to the next house.

Opening Lines that work:

“I’m here on behalf of the National Youth Rights Association. Have you heard of our organization?”

“Hello Sir/Madam. Do you have a minute to talk about Youth Rights?”

“Hello Sir/Madam. Are you interested in protecting youth rights?”

Remember, most people will say no. Don’t let this discourage you! Keep moving forward and bring a friend along to make a day out of it.

Getting The Donation

If it seems like the person is interested in what we do, tell them “the reason I’m here today is to try to raise money for our operations. We have a lot of ongoing projects and donations from people like you help us keep them running.” If they say okay, then tell them you can take payment “preferably as a check to the NYRA, but cash is fine too”. We trust you, but you should request a check first so they don’t think you’re just keeping cash for yourself. You can also take credit card information but that’s not ideal. We need their name, address, credit card number, expiration date and CVC number to charge cards and a lot of people won’t be comfortable giving that out on the street. If they’re not comfortable with that, but want to give, get their contact information and someone from the National Office can contact them. If they ask questions about what we do, talk about your chapter and your activities. Let them know there are similar chapters all over the country fighting for youth rights.

If they don’t donate, ask them if they would like more information about NYRA through email. If they say yes, get their email address. Otherwise say, “you can find out more about us at our website, Thanks for your time.” It would be helpful to print out cards beforehand that have our website and contact info on it. Business cards are also useful if they Then go to the next house or talk to the next person who walks by.

Additional Information

Remember to ask everyone who donates if they would like to become a member of NYRA. Let them know that because they donated, they have the option of becoming a member. If they want to become a member, get their email address and make a note somewhere that they want to join.

Even if they do not want to become a member, ask them if they would like to receive information about the NYRA through email. If they say yes, get their email address. Otherwise, hand them a business card and say, “you can find out more about us at this address, Thanks very much.”

General Advice

Some people are very against other people walking on their lawn. Try to stay on the sidewalks and paths and you will avoid that one-in-a-hundred angry homeowner. Also, respect signs that say “no salesmen” or “do not disturb”. You are not a salesman, but that sign means they are probably not as likely to donate as other people. Don’t waste your time on people who probably won’t donate.

Turning In The Money

After you’ve collected the cash and checks, use the enclosed, addressed envelopes to mail them to the National Office. Please call or email to let us know to expect the funds. The mailing address is as follows:

National Youth Rights Association
5557 Baltimore Ave
Suite 500-2039
Hyattsville, MD 20781

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