Money Perspective

SnowmanIt’s Arts & Crafts Show Week, and I need a break so…

I’m blogging ūüôā

Now, you might wonder why I get so excited over an Arts & Crafts Show twice a year now.

As part of my position, I am tasked with coordinating the Annual Holiday and Spring Arts and Crafts Shows which are fundraisers for the MSU University Activities Board large programming budget.

Now, it’s rare that¬†an activities board is required to raise the majority of their programming budget. And this is the first time I’ve ever done¬†so in my career. And let me tell you, it changes one’s approach to programming, student activities and advising.

So I thought I’d give you an insight into my new found perspective:

  1. Soft money is real. We are all expected to budget a year in advance, in order to get budgets approved etc. However, with soft money one estimates a budget assuming ( in our case) certain fundraising goals are met. If those goals are not met then the budget must be altered. Unlike a budget established on set amount from student fees or taxes once or twice a year, fundraising drastically ebbs and flows almost on a weekly basis and one makes adjustments to fundraising efforts and programs constantly because of it.
  2. Advising changes tone. While we all constantly talking about budgeting with our respective students, when they are involved in the fundraising process for their budgets they seem to really understand the need to ensure each dollar spent is spent wisely. It seems they have a higher respect for their budget and resources because it’s not just another fee or tax assessed but time and effort by staff and themselves to earn those funds.
  3. Back burner ideas. In the back of my mind I’m always storing ideas on how to enhance the two large fundraisers I primarily work on.¬†The fees vendors pay for their spaces at each show all goes to our programming board. So keeping our vendors and artisans satisfied is top priority, hence always thinking of how to ensure great customer service and experiences to our vendors as well as marketing to ensure we get a great attendance to encourage vendors to return to our show in addition to our traditional generation of student events and activities ideas.
  4. Time with students. Having to focus on fundraising efforts at 30% of the time, it does take time away from advising and working with students, so I’ve come to really cherish the times I get to be with our students even more so than before.
  5. Business like tone. With being a revenue generating office we do function more like a business in regards to daily operations and practices and how we approach our work. Additionally the need for justification is greatly heightened due to that we are directly responsible for the funds being garnered and spent.
  6. Great development opportunities. With this unique component of funding our programming board, there are many opportunities for leadership and skills development that many programming boards are not able to experience, such as customer service, fundraising, collaborating and sponsorship development.

Just a few thoughts on my new perspective of student activity funding and its processes as I take a breather from prepping the show for this weekend!

This Weekend Billboard

And of course I have to promote the event this weekend!:

2015 Holiday Arts & Crafts Show Website

Facebook Event for the 2015 Holiday Arts & Crafts Show Website

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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