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Penn State Gets Creative With Alternative Fundraisers For THON 2016

With the elimination of canning weekends and a ban on late night fundraisers, THON organizations had to get creative this year to raise money FTK.

Mobile applications stood out as one of the most simple and convenient ways to raise funds. The Yankee Candle Fundraising application, for example, offers a 40% credit to the organization that a buyer credits – that’s $11 per large jar candle. This led to a number of organizations finding themselves creating Yankee Candle Fundraiser accounts and sharing the candles with loved ones over the holidays.

A Penn State specific application, UKnow, allowed individuals to credit their organization $1 for every download. The organization that downloaded the application the most then earned a $1,000 donation from the applications creators.

Canvassing has always been an alternative fundraising option, but hasn’t always been completely utilized. Organizations register locations to go door-to-door canvassing and ask home owners if they would like to donate to THON. Though volunteers weren’t able to travel to can, they could go canvassing, and this year the door to door fundraising effort was utilized immensely.

Along with canvassing, age-old THONvelopes were on the forefront of raising money. Despite always being a popular fundraising option, they became a focal point for many organizations fundraising efforts. With THONvelopes comes potential corporate matching, so the more envelopes sent, the more money volunteers will inevitably earn.

Some orgs used the HUB to its THON potential by registering tables to sell various items for the kids. Penn State Cheerleading sold hair bows, Alpha Chi Omega had a carnation sale near Valentine’s Day, ATLAS sold cancer ribbons to raise money and awareness, and a number of orgs sold FTK wristbands, hot loops, and other THON weekend accessories.

Businesses like McLanahan’s and Are U Hungry even held promotional days benefiting THON. Twenty-percent of McLanahan’s Penn State sales the week of February 10th benefited THON and Are U Hungry donated fifteen-percent of their sales from January 11th through January 13th.

Specific organizations like ATLAS have their own unique fundraisers on top of the basics. “There’s a family we met while we were canning one year and they were so inspired that they wanted to help us,” said one ATLAS chair. “They help us host a barbecue in the fall and a food crawl in the spring. It’s a lot of fun, it raises money, and we invite other orgs out to join us too.”

Alpha Sigma Alpha and Lambda Chi Alpha gained attention with their Bachelor fundraiser, but their efforts didn’t stop there. “We had two night-time fundraisers that were between 8 and 10 p.m. and we sold grilled cheese and fried Oreos. We also had a ton of trunk shows where companies would set up in Center Court and sell jewelry and clothes,” ASA THON chair Courtney Konin said.

Delta Gamma and Sigma Pi held a spaghetti dinner and a Longaberger Basket Fundraiser. “Moms love the baskets and we had Penn State themed ones to sell as well. We did really well with that fundraiser,” Sigma Pi THON chair Ryan Connelly said.

Penn State Panhellenic also held a social media contest that required participants to post Instagrams or tweets containing the hashtags #WhyWeTHON #PennStatePanhellenic and their organization name. The sorority with the most posts earned $200 credited to their total from Penn State Panhellenic, which was Delta Gamma this year.

Hershey Kisses For The Kids partnered with the The Diner and hosted a grilled stickies fundraiser. The Diner sold the organization the sweet treats to the org before winter break and allowed them to take them home to friends and families. “They gave us 50% of the money we raised for that which was awesome!” said HKFTK member Erin Shopf.

Despite a lack of canning, Penn State still put in work for the kids — maybe more than usual — and that in itself is something to be proud of.

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About the Author

Emma Curtis

Emma is a staff writer for Onward State. She is a sophomore in the College of Communications and a first generation Penn Stater. Emma comes from a diverse military family and has moved around a lot; however, she has recently found her favorite home in Happy Valley. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @cinemmatiic.

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