With in-person events ramping up this fall, the University of Utah SOM MSFC leaders wanted to keep Medical Students for Choice and reproductive health topics at the forefront of our classmates’ minds. We also wanted to raise additional funding to use to help us put on events throughout the year, as well as to send members to the MSFC conference. To accomplish both of these goals, we decided to host a fundraiser at a local brewery to give students and healthcare professionals an opportunity to socialize and relax while also learning more about joining and/or supporting MSFC.
Salt Lake City is home to a variety of microbreweries, and we felt hosting our event at one would be an effective way to both support a local business while providing an interesting event for our classmates to attend. The brewery agreed to donate 20% of their sales from the evening to our cause. We made the event more appealing by also emailing local businesses to collect raffle donations (MSFC has sample letters here you can use to ask for in-kind donations). Their enthusiasm for our cause was refreshing and several businesses donated amazing prizes, including $100 equipment rentals, enormous gift baskets, and unique artwork. To boost our direct donations, we asked people to pay $2 per raffle ticket to increase their chance of winning a prize. We also asked for direct, private donations to our MSFC account for people that couldn’t attend. To boost attendance, we used Facebook, Instagram, and class time to promote the event to the entire UUSOM student body (use MSFC’s design resources to create social media posts).
The turnout for the event helped us realize how many amazing healthcare professionals in Utah understand the need to protect organizations that promote reproductive justice. We estimate that over 100 medical students, physicians, and nurses attended the event leading to over 100 in person donations and several private donations. Because of the great turnout, we were able to raise almost $3,000 for our chapter! We’ve already used some of the money to organize a patient abortion panel featuring one of our MSFC leaders, which 60 students attended. This month, we have plans to host several IUD insertion workshops, sponsor a rural reproductive health talk, and discuss racial disparities surrounding reproductive health. People who attend our events have been discussing the impact learning about abortions has had on them and how that changes their perspective on reproductive rights. We already feel we are making progress to help our community.
I encourage other MSFC chapters to investigate unique ways to fundraise money and promote MSFC’s mission. For some quick advice:
- Set a target dollar amount that you are trying to raise. This helps you figure out how much needs to go into planning the event—a smaller goal will likely require less work than a larger one. Our target goal was $1,500.
- If you choose to hold your fundraiser at a local restaurant/brewery/etc., let the owners of the business make most of the decisions regarding timing of the fundraiser. I gave them a range of dates that worked for us, and they decided on a time. 4-7 PM on a Saturday worked well. They know when their business is busy and when sales will be high.
- Incorporate multiple streams of income into the fundraiser. The brewery donated 20% of the sales from the night to our group. This was only about $600. Most of our donations came from the raffle and private donors.
Good luck and get out there!