Since its launch, the Binghamton University Givology Chapter has been involved with a host of initiatives, ranging from fundraising to letter-writing to spreading the message of giving on social media outlets. This month, we were thrilled to catch up with Alyssa Famolari, President of the Binghamton University Chapter, about the chapter's recent fundraising efforts and its plans for the future. Alyssa's best advice to prospective chapter founders is to "not to let the size of you club ever overwhelm or scare you" and to let your passion shine through. To learn more about the Binghamton Chapter, read the full interview here.
[b]Megan Foo: What inspires you about Givology’s mission?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari: [/b]In all honesty, everything about this mission inspires me. Education is something that so many of us take advantage of because it is convenient for us. We do not realize that there are children out there who do not have that luxury. Getting an education gives someone a chance to succeed and improve his or her situation. For a simple club like ours to get the ability to change a life through small dollar donations is such an amazing feeling. It is so true that every dollar really does count. I want to become a teacher and working with this organization really makes me appreciate the importance of school and knowledge.
[b]Megan Foo: Could you explain step by step how starting a chapter works?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari: [/b]Starting a chapter is not as hard as one might think it is. Before you create a profile on the Givology website, make sure that your school knows your plan on starting a chapter. The logistics on starting the chapter through a school depends on the institution. It can vary from a lot of paperwork to multiple presentations, but it should all be easy if you are passionate about this organization. After you get the approval from your school, you can go ahead and create a profile online through [url=http://www.givology.org]www.givology.org[/url]. It is just as easy as when you created your Facebook profile. After typing a few bits of information, you are set to start fundraising. Grab a couple of friends and market your club through fun events and flyers! Before you know it, you will be sending kids to school and funding projects!
[b]Megan Foo: Can you tell me a bit about the Binghamton University Givology Chapter?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari: [/b]Givology at Binghamton University strictly focuses on providing education to those in underdeveloped nations. We work with Givology and Kapadia, which fundraises money to pay for college tuition for students in Ghana. We are currently sponsoring four students. For the last few years, our club was so small at just ten members, but after a summer of annoying marketing techniques, we increased our membership to over two hundred members! Believe me, I was quite obnoxious when it came to getting members to join. When our club would table, I would physically call out students to come to our table and it worked! The environment we want to create is really laid-back and familial. We are so comfortable with each other and joke around all of the time! There is a reason why it is called FUNdraising. I kind of hate myself now for writing that.
[b]Megan Foo: What activities and initiatives has your chapter been involved with (e.g. blogging, letter writing campaign, fundraising, etc.)?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari: [/b]Our club just finished our first letter writing campaign. We are actually trying to develop a “pen-pal” type of relationship with the students through Givology. Each of our members chose a student they felt connected to and our club is going to continually write to the students throughout the year, such as holiday cards and just letters to catch up with them. We have our blog on the Givology website. We provide the organization with monthly updates on our club and events. We also recently participated in the video Givology made for International Day of the Girl and viewed a documentary in honor of the day at our meeting.
When it comes to fundraising, we love to have bake sales. Before you picture boring chocolate chip cookies, I should let you know that we do not play when it comes to baking. For out first bake sale, we made cupcakes that looked like frogs, cheesecake, cupcakes with peanut butter cups on the bottom, nutella brownies, cupcakes with cookie dough in the middle, and so much more. If you ever wanted to get Diabetes in a fun way, definitely come to one of our bake sales. We have our Halloween bake sale on the 21st and get ready for how amazing these cupcakes are going to look. Just for a sneak peek, I will let you know that we are baking cupcakes to look like Jack from Nightmare before Christmas.
We also work with local organizations with fundraising. We have a Five Below fundraiser next week where we give out flyers that customers bring into the store and 10% of their purchase is immediately donated to Givology. We will be doing those with Sweet Frog, Tully’s, Chipotle, and others as well. This semester we are also planning on having an on-campus carnival in November where students pay $3 to enjoy a bunch of games, such as a dunk tank and pie-eating contest, and a chance to win prizes, like t-shirts and frisbees!
[b]Megan Foo: Which Givology project(s) is the Binghamton University Chapter planning to fundraise for this year?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari:[/b] As a club, we have not finalized which projects to donate to, but we are definitely adding Kiberia’s School for Girls projects on our list and any projects that focus on helping out those who have gone through violent or troubling childhoods.
[b]Megan Foo: As the Chapter President, what has been your favorite part?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari: [/b]You are killing me here with having me choose just one. I would say my favorite part is seeing my members get so involved and passionate when it comes to this project. I know a lot of kids just join clubs like ours because it pretties up their resume, but when you see some students actually care about our cause, it is really rewarding and it makes me feel like I have done my job as a president.
[b]Megan Foo: What is your advice for people who are interested in starting chapters in their area or high school?[/b]
[b]Alyssa Famolari: [/b]I would say not to let the size of you club ever overwhelm or scare you. You can make just as much of a difference with five members than you can with five hundred. Let your passion shine through. Just do not ever lose sight as to why you are involved in this organization.
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