The participants of the upcoming SU of AEGEE-Dresden, AEGEE-Berlin and AEGEE-Wroclaw will definitely not stay hungry. Especially AEGEE-Dresden was very successful in getting sponsored goods in kind for the TSU “Adventure Time: The Return of the Rabbits”, which starts this weekend. The Golden Times asked Jorge Sánchez Hernández, Viktoria Schwarz and Jan Philipp Rauprich from AEGEE-Dresden about all the goodies they got.
GT: You will spoil your SU participants with tons of fund-raising goodies. What did you get?
Jorge: We will try to spoil our participants in the best way we can! At the end of the day, they’re trying to get Eldorabbit back, and that needs lots of effort! Together with Philipp and Viki, we did the fundraising for part in Dresden. We got a very big list of fund-raising items, I can list some of the most outstanding stuff:
1120 bottles of Innocent Smoothies, 71 kilos of whole wheat bread, 60 personalized T-shirts, over 20 kilos of different cookies, 150 muesli bars, 180 condoms, 45 kilos of tomatoes, 20 liters of juice, 7 kilos of nuts and lots of other food — all bio — we’re doing a green SU!
GT: In total, what value does this represent?
Jorge: We haven’t calculated it, but we estimate around 5000 Euros, of which maybe 4000 Euros are for the part in Dresden.
GT: Was it hard to get all these things?
Viki: Well, we did a huge effort to collect names of the local companies, to build a database of contacts and enterprises… We had to start from zero because AEGEE-Dresden is new, but in the end, getting the stuff was quite easy!
GT: How big was the success rate? Did you get many rejections?
Jorge: We asked 133 companies, 75 of them didn’t answer, 50 replied with a negative answer, and 8 of those 133, wanted to support us — so, 6%.
GT: Can you tell us a funny story about your fundraising adventures?
Viki: We asked a company for 25 kilos of tomatoes, but they said they want to give us 45 kilos because they taste so well and we will run out sooner as we think…
Jorge: We were supposed to get 2 kilos of nuts from Kluth, but when the package arrived, it was 5 kilos more than we expected!
GT: Among others, you got 1120 smoothies. Do you have a fridge big enough for them?
Jorge: Haha no, we don’t. We are storing them in different fridges from our members, the fridges in our office and the gym where we will be sleeping at in Dresden’s part. We are bringing two third of the total to Wroclaw and Berlin.
GT: You got a huge amount of goods from the drugstore chain DM. How did you carry it home?
Jorge: Philipp, Doro — a friend from BEST Graz who was visiting me — and I went to DM with my car and picked everything up. It was really a lot of stuff!
GT: Did you also get money or just support in kind?
Philipp: To get money is really hard in Germany and companies are just willing to give support with their products.
GT: Fundraising is a real art, but in AEGEE not many people have such success. Are there typical mistakes that many people make? And how can people avoid them? Do you have some dos and don’ts?
Jorge: We decided to be clear with the enterprises and in the first approach, we told them exactly what we wanted from them, number and name of products.
Viki and Jorge: Dos: Plan ahead and send high quality information material and letters to the companies. Be clear and know what you’re talking about. Seem professional, even if you’re not, and do not make spelling mistakes in your emails or documents. Thank the enterprises afterwards — an email saying “Thanks” is not enough! We bring them personally a wooden frame with a group picture of our event and tell them how it went, and that it was thanks to them. We also post about them supporting us on our Facebook page and webpage — and also a postcard for Christmas is also a must from our side. Don’ts: Don’t Lie. Don’t lie, never! If you get caught, you will destroy a possible good relationship with the company. And final advice: don’t be lazy — everyone can do fundraising, just get to it!
GT: Jorge, did you go to fundraising trainings in AEGEE?
Jorge: No one from us went to any fundraising training in AEGEE, but I attended one in a Regional Meeting from BEST in Brno. The trainer was an old member from BEST, who had worked for big companies like Heineken. He was really good at fundraising and he taught us some nice tips. Also I have learned a lot from BESTies, asking them and seeing how other associations do fundraising.
GT: So, Best is really good at fundraising trainings? Can we use this knowledge to make our own fundraising trainings better?
Jorge: I guess that the best would be if the Academy and the pool of trainers of BEST would collaborate more often and even train each other. I believe that we have a lot to learn from BEST, mostly on fundraising.
GT: One of AEGEE’s very first working groups was a Fundraising WG. Wouldn’t you like to establish something like this? AEGEE hasn’t been successful with its attempts to establish such a body recently…
Jorge: A body that helps the antennae and projects raise funds is indeed needed in AEGEE, but I do not have the time nor such a big knowledge to create a FRWG now… But who knows what the future’s got for us…