January 20, 2018

Your campus fundraiser or service project: Both make an impact!

Dave Kelly - Your campus fundraiser or service project

At APCA Nationals 2012 these Broward College students earned t-shirts for community service projects.

Building leaders – and a nation – through service

From the beginning of his term, President Obama has called for each of us to get involved in community service as a way to usher our nation through these trying times. I’ve been doing that for over three decades now and in support of that initiative, I help student organizations plan and execute service projects that have lasting effect. I teach students the practicalities of fundraising and volunteer work and guarantee they’ll always ¬†walk away some great tools for success.

One of the first things I like to share with students is the difference between a Service Project and a Fundraiser.

A Service Project…

  • Is usually a ‘hands on’ project for the benefit of someone else, usually with their participation, or at their location. For example: raking leaves at an elderly person’s home.
  • There is typically not any money raised, the idea is to help the person or group with something they cannot do themselves.
  • Can be an on-going effort, perhaps with no discernable conclusion, such as reading to elementary school children once a week – that provides benefits on a long-term basis. (This is one of my favorites that I still do today!)

A Fundraiser…

  • An effort to raise money for the benefit of a person, group, or agency through a large event or a campaign.
  • This is an opportunity to have various levels of involvement – from contributor to participant to organizer to day of event volunteer.
  • Allows participation from people even if they cannot attend the specific event, go to the location, or do not care to be “hands on.” They can still donate!

As I’ve given leadership and community service training around the country, college campuses are involved in a wide variety of both Fundraisers and Community Service projects including and they have a lot of fun with it.

Community Service Projects…

  • Pet Therapy (at an animal shelter or take the animals to a nursing home),
  • Packing rescued food at the local food bank,
  • Make greeting cards for children in hospitals, elderly in homes, or troops overseas.


  • Relay for Life;
  • A Topless Carwash (wash bottom of the car for free, customer must pay to get top of car washed–after you have already soaped it up. Sorry, we can’t clean up your dirty mind!),
  • A Kiss the Pig contest (gotta get faculty and administration involved in this one if you REALLY want to have fun – and raise money!)

Drop me a comment and boast a little bit about your successful campus projects that helped someone in your community. I’ll share some best practices and really cool ideas to make them even more fun and successful.


Dave GONZO Kelly

About the Author: Dave "Gonzo" Kelly (64 Posts)

Dave Kelly is the leading authority on student leadership and community service on college campuses today. As a professional trainer, motivator, and servant leader, Dave is an expert on all aspects of running and leading campus organizations and developing the character of a servant leader. Dave has 20+ years training leaders and advisors from student government associations, campus activities boards and campus clubs of every kind on organizational leadership and community service projects. He has trained students and advisors at more than 150 different colleges and universities and is the national coordinator for the APCA Serves! Initiative by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

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