Module 5: Offline Fundraising Ideas

Remember that the fundraising page is the only pre-approved fundraising method, and any other fundraising plans (including the ideas below) need to first be submitted to Unite For Sight for review and approval.

When approaching Kaplan, Princeton Review or Examkrackers, it works well to describe this as a great opportunity for the company to advertise on your campus. One student will receive the course voucher through the auction, but many other students will likely learn about the course and therefore enroll with the company on their own.

While planning the auction, it will be helpful to refer to Harvard’s Facebook event as an example. Similarly, your Facebook event page should give details about the voucher. What classes can it be used for? Does the voucher expire? Where can it be used? It’s also important to set a minimum bid of $1000. Otherwise, you risk receiving much less money than the voucher is actually worth. If someone were purchasing this course directly from the company, they would pay $2,000. The minimum bid should therefore be at least 50% of $2,000, or $1,000. Volunteers frequently get the bidding up to $1500, which means that the winning bidder pays $1500 to support cataract surgeries for patients in Ghana, and the winning bidder has also saved $500 on the course.

All bids should be multiples of $10 or $20. This way, bidders don’t increase their bids by mere pennies or dollars.

Publicity is key to the success of these auctions. Volunteers have had success distributing flyers outside classes with lots of pre-medical or pre-law students and emailing health- and law-related email listervs. Be sure to emphasize that this is a great deal for students. They only pay if they win, and the winner pays much less than they would otherwise.

This type of fundraiser works well for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are fundraising for Unite For Sight.  Those enrolled as an undergraduate, for example, can auction the course voucher among their classmates, while medical students can auction an MCAT course voucher among the undergraduates at their university.



To begin this fundraiser, enroll at the Cartridges For Kids website. They will then provide advertising materials and collection bins. Set up these bins throughout campus, focusing on spaces like the library, computer lab, media center and administrative offices. It works particularly well to coordinate the fundraiser with the employee in charge of the printer or copier so that they know to deposit empty cartridges in the collection bin. Volunteers have also collected larger used electronics like GPS devices and laptops from their hometowns during winter and summer break. This is especially successful since larger devices are worth more money.

Cartridges For Kids provides all shipping materials free of charge. Materials should be mailed at least once every six weeks. Most volunteers raise over $20 each month, or approximately $100 during the academic year.


There are a variety of scoring systems, but it seems to work well to assign points based simply on the value of the coin. Pennies and silver coins add points, whereas dollar bills subtract points. For example, Team A increases their own score by depositing coins in their jar, and decreases Team B’s score by adding a dollar bill to Team B’s jar. The contents should be emptied and counted daily, and the totals for each group should be posted to encourage friendly competition.



















Chain restaurants that have held restaurant percent nights in the past include: Chick-fil-A, California Pizza KitchenPanera, Panda ExpressFriendly’sUno Chicago GrillBoston MarketBD’s Mongolian GrillCiCi’s PizzaFriendly’sBruegger's,Max & Erma’sMoe’sNoodles & Co.PotbellySonicSouplantation/Sweet Tomatoes and Buffalo Wild Wings. Family-owned restaurants are also very supportive of this kind of event. For the best results, choose restaurants that don’t require customers to present a flyer or mention Unite For Sight. This way, all purchases contribute towards the Unite For Sight’s proceeds. Volunteers have also increased revenue by placing a donation jar at the cash registers so that customers can donate above and beyond the restaurant’s contribution.

Advertising strategies include distributing flyers in from of the restaurant and making announcements in class on the day of the event. It also helps to encourage students to attend in groups (i.e. with their entire sports team after practice, with their class after a big exam, with their families, etc.).









Go To Module 6: Practical Advice from Alumni Volunteers >>