Girl Up + STEAM: How to Take Fundraising to the Next Level

Advocacy , Education , Fundraising
This summer, Girl Up is excited to announce the STEAM club challenge (which I helped create with Teen Advisor Co-Chair Rachel Auslander) to encourage girls like you and me to pursue STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design and Mathematics) careers and learn from #GirlHeroes in our communities who work in STEAM every day. I’m very passionate about girls and women pursuing STEAM related fields and wanted to share some other club activities for the summer.
Last summer, I was happily raising thousands of dollars through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) tutoring lessons for girls in my community. You must be thinking, “Fundraising? STEM? How is that even possible?” We all know fundraising can seem daunting, trust me, I know. In fact, at my first fundraiser event, only 10 people showed up even though I had planned for 100 but over my Teen Advisor tenure, I’ve learned a thing or two about fundraising.
In this blog, I hope to share three fundraising tips that I have learned during my Girl Up journey.

First, partnerships are awesome. For my summer tutoring fundraiser, I partnered with a non-profit called TechGirls that fights the gender gap in STEM. Because I had such an amazing and supportive partner organization, I had double the resources at my disposal. I also reached out to local tech companies in my area to discuss corporate matches or donations, and the response was overwhelming. Talking to new partners is always a little scary, but more often than not, people are more than willing to help and the reward is immense. You can reach out to local tech organizations by phone, email, in person or even tweeting at them! After all, what’s the harm in asking?

Second, advertising is key. I spread the word about my tutoring lessons on social media, put flyers in school newsletters, and even held a free intro lesson to get people interested. I kept my target audience (middle school girls and their parents) in mind and tailored my content to this audience. By using short and simple bits of information, I got my message across more effectively.
Third, double your impact by inserting girl-positive messaging wherever possible. When I organized my summer tutoring fundraiser, I provided special STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) tutoring for girls to encourage them to enter such fields and reduce the gender gap.  Whether you’re hosting a bake sale with Girl Up themed cookies or organizing a screening of Hidden Figures, it makes a difference when you combine fundraising and awareness efforts.
In the end, fundraising is most effective when you’re doing what you love. Whatever you’re passionate about, use your skills and interests to fundraise. As always, remember that the Girl Up Community, staff, and Teen Advisors will always be there to support you, and feel free reach out to any of us at any time.
Good luck and happy fundraising! You can also download the STEAM Club Challenge toolkit here by logging in the Girl Up Community.
Lavanya Singh is a 2017-2018 Girl Up Teen Advisor Co-Chair from Fremont, CA.