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Welcome to the Fundraising Guide


First of all, thank you. Thank you for signing up for USCDM and deciding to join the effort to support the miracle children and families at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. Everything we will accomplish this year is because of you. Every dollar you fundraise, every student you encourage to sign up, every Facebook and instagram DM-related post you make, every letter you write and email you send, every person you connect with along the way will make a difference.

Below are six ways you can make miracles. We encourage you to read more about each one and challenge you to utilize one new idea each month. 

1. Build a List of People and ask them for Donations


Making a LIST of people to ask for donations from before you even begin fundraising is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. Ultimately, the more people you ask for donations, the more money you will raise FTK!


*First and foremost, be shameless. Ask anyone and everyone. It can be hard to ask people for money, but remind yourself of a few things-- 1) the money is not for is being used to support children and families at PHCH, 2) you are asking for any size donation--whether it is $1 or $100, 3) people are usually more willing to donate than you would expect (and it is an especially awesome feeling when you get donations from people you don’t expect!!)


Who to look for…

  • High school friends AND their parents

  • College friends

  • Parent’s friends

  • Parent’s work colleagues

  • Friends from a summer sports league or summer camp

  • Co-workers

  • People you’ve had multiple classes with

  • People you tutor, mentor, etc.

  • People from your hall when you lived in the dorms

  • People who are involved in philanthropy work

  • People who you have donated to for other causes

  • Old babysitters (or ask families you have babysat for)

  • Old coaches, directors, etc.

  • Professors you have a relationship with


To brainstorm--look through phone contacts, high school yearbook, people who donated last year, Facebook friends, twitter/instagram followers, LinkedIn connections, and Blackboard class rosters.

Ask your parents to brainstorm as well and send you a list of contacts and their emails.


Keep a hard or electronic copy of your list and keep track of when and how you ask each person on the list. How you ask people for a donation is very important. Adults are typically more receptive to heartfelt letters and emails, whereas students and friends are usually more receptive to venmo requests and things that don’t take a lot of time.

3. Go Canning


Canning can be a very effective way to raise money, especially during the summer when you have more time to spend on fundraising.


How to “can” effectively…

  1. Make your can/container reflect USCDM and Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. Use paint, sharpie markers, and other craft items to make your can into something that sells your cause!

  2. Ask for “spare dollars” rather than spare change.

  3. Can in your polo or a DM shirt.

  4. Hand out flyers ahead of time letting people know you’ll be canning on a certain day.

  5. Print tiny sheets of paper with information about USC Dance Marathon and your donor drive link so that people who don’t have spare change can still donate later.

  6. Put up posters advertising USCDM and pointing people in your direction.

  7. Can in a high-traffic area…

    1. Can in your neighborhood on a nice day when lots of people are outside

    2. Can at a local sporting event → USC gets out of school on May 2nd...most high schools still have school for at least another month--take advantage of this and can at lacrosse games, baseball games, etc (especially when teams are playing in post-season tournaments)

    3. Set out a donation can at parties (4th of July, Memorial Day, etc)

    4. Ask local businesses if you can leave a donation can by the register for a week.

  8. Pair your canning efforts with a service.

    1. While you can at a sporting event, sell water bottles or brochures.

    2. If you can play an instrument, play outside a coffee shop and put your can on a table in front of you.

4. Work for Donations

Try out one of these 13 ways to turn your hard work into money FTK!


  1. Car wash - put up posters around your community and host a car wash with friends.

  2. Babysit

  3. Mow lawns

  4. Host a kid’s camp -- craft camp, science camp, sports camp, etc.

  5. Bake sale/lemonade stand

  6. Give 5 to 10% of your paychecks

  7. Paint Canvases and other stuff for Big/Little gifts

  8. Hand-paint monograms, etc for high school graduation gifts

  9. Start an Etsy store selling jewelry or custom goods and donate a percent of the proceeds to your donor drive

  10. Take senior pictures/family pictures for people

  11. Host a yard sale/garage sale -- un-clutter your life and raise $$ FTK in the process!

  12. Offer to do a family’s school supplies shopping for them in return for a donation to your donor drive

  13. Uber or offer to drive people for donations

5. Use Campus Causes an App that gives us free money!

  1. Campus Causes: -- do all of your online shopping with a Campus Causes account and they will kick back a percentage of your purchase to USCDM!

6. Try any of these other fundraising ideas!


  1. Birthdays -- If your birthday falls over the summer, consider asking for a donation to your donor drive in place of a physical gift. Publicize the fact that you’d prefer a donation on your social media outlets--Facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.

  2. Casual Fridays -- If your mom, dad, or older sibling works in an office, ask them about setting up “casual fridays” where employees can donate $5 to dress down on Fridays.

  3. Design a T-shirt/Tank -- You can design a shirt to market to your community back home, to students on campus, or even to the world using a t-shirt fundraising platform like Booster.

  4. Sell clothes -- Make use of websites (Craigslist, eBay) or secondhand clothing stores (Plato’s closet) to sell your old clothes and accessories for donations.

    1. You could also sell:

      1. American Girl Dolls

      2. Legos

      3. Old musical instruments

      4. Old furniture in storage

      5. Scooters, bikes, etc

      6. Books/novels to secondhand book stores

      7. ASK your parents if they have anything in storage they’d be willing to get rid of

  5. Letter writing -- Handwritten letters and/or heartfelt emails are one of the best ways to get donations. Take advantage of free time over the summer and draft and send at least 12 letters FTK!

  6. Host a dinner party or lunch and ask guests for a donation -- This is a great way to make money FTK… no guest would be opposed to making a $5 donation in return for dinner/lunch and good company.

  7. Sell glow sticks or candy to people watching fireworks on the 4th of July.

  8. Sell your textbooks from the past semester -- Make money FTK by selling your textbooks back to the bookstore or selling them to other students (i.e. younger students you know through a student organization).

  9. Hold your own raffle -- Local businesses are often willing to donate products and gift cards to worthy causes. Consider calling/emailing local business and using their donations to create raffle baskets. You could sell tickets for the raffle items to your neighborhood or you could sell the tickets during a summer celebration (i.e. the Fourth of July).

  10. Odyssey/Buzzfeed -- If you write for an online journal or news site, consider writing an article about Dance Marathon and inserting the link to your donor drive at the end of the article. If you can show others what Dance Marathon means to both you and the miracle families, you may be able to get donations from strangers who are touched by DM’s mission. It will also be a great way to reiterate to friends and family what the organization means to you and why they should support your participation.

    1. Or, if you don’t write for an online journal or news site, submit an article to your community newspaper!

  11. Post to Facebook and Instagram regularly with you donor drive link -- social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about USCDM and to share your donor drive link. Take advantage of social media when you are planning on canning or if you are selling a T-shirt you designed for donations.

  12. Utilize the following holidays for fundraising pushes on social media…

    1. May 6 -- National Nurses Day

    2. May 14 -- Mother’s Day

    3. May 24 -- Emergency Medical Services for Children Day

    4. June 18 -- Father’s Day

  13. Host a pancake breakfast or dinner for your community (perhaps before a large sporting event or holiday celebration) -- charge flat rate for everyone and then have several cans out so that people can make donations.

  14. Offer to organize/clean an area of your house for a donation from your parents.

  15. Make a deal with your parents before the end of the Spring 2017 semester -- for every A you get on a final or as a final grade, they will donate X amount to your donor drive.

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