"Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong," said Steve Sexton. His first major fundraising event as the chapter president of Students Helping Honduras at UMD—a 5K— was a, "disaster that barely broke even."
“I wanted to deflect the blame at first," he said, "But I took a long look in the mirror and said it is my fault. I can’t let this happen again.”
He dusted off and said to himself, “You can’t let some naysayers put you down. You gotta keep going!”
Steve wanted to improve the team's unity and morale. Soon, barbecues, rollerblading nights, and paintball outings were organized. His biggest focus as the leader was simple: “to look out for my friends in the chapter.”
In this episode, Steve deconstructs how they raised $1,500-$2,100 per day selling Krispy Kreme donuts at metro stations and through their campus thrift shop. “Every waking moment I had to do something," he said, "Planning, organizing, talking to somebody.”
During the spring semester of 2017, the UMD chapter raised $45,000 to build two schools in Honduras. In this episode, Steve Sexton explains step-by-step how it was done.
Steve Sexton Show Notes
- Steven Sexton found out about Students Helping Honduras at UMD’s First Look Fair
- Students Helping Honduras was Steve’s first experience volunteering abroad
- Steve got many of his friends to join SHH
- When Steve was elected, he asked himself, “can I do this?”
- “I have a lot to do,” he said to himself and got to work
- “We had to plan ahead and be prepared,” he said at the beginning of the year
- The UMD team created a calendar of events, deadlines for tasks, and small milestones
- “What would differentiate our table?” he asked for the First Look Fair
- They gave out juice bags at the First Look Fair
- When they organized a 5K, “everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong.” They had problems with the t-shirt orders, signups, and delays. “It was a disaster and we barely broke even.”
- He realized that a lot more planning had to happen
- Upon returning from Honduras, the UMD team started fundraising immediately
- Steve spent many hours organizing weekly meetings for the general body and for the exec committee. He also held many one-on-one meetings with his officers.
- The team organized barbecues, parties, rollerblading nights, and paintball outings to keep the group united and engaged
- He mixed down-to-business meetings with fun activities
- The Students Helping Honduras chapter focused on selling Krispy Kreme donuts at metro stations each week. They started with four stops but eventually were selling in ten stops simultaneously
- A box of 12 donuts cost the chapter $4. They sold each box for $8-$10
- The first Krispy Kremes sales day was “chaotic”
- They bought $1,000 worth of donuts
- They woke up at 5am to start selling. They need supplies like tape, tables, Square credit card readers, etc.
- The chapter organized one, large event per month like a thrift shop, gaming tournament, soccer tournament, Easter egg hunt
- They chose the metro stations through trial and error
- The best stops had the best foot traffic
- They always went in the mornings. They would meet up at 5:30am and drive to their respective stops. They were out selling by 7am and be back on campus by 11am
- Friday was the best because members had less classes
- Thursdays were the best selling days since on Fridays some people don’t work
- The chapter made $1,500-$2,100 per day selling donuts
- At the height, they had 17-18 people participating per day
- “You can’t be afraid to get a no.”
- Many people ignored them but others are super friendly and ask about the cause
- “You can’t let some naysayers put you down. You gotta keep going!”
- Sometimes after the Krispy Kremes sales, the team went out to celebrate at the local Denny’s for a family brunch
- Steve helped set up fundraising pages for his members and held letter writing workshops.
- During one week, the UMD-SHH chapter had the campus-wide easter egg hunt AND the thrift shop during the same week
- For the thrift shop, the chapter gathered clothes and random stuff (snowboard, telescope, toys, etc.) and spent four days organizing them
- They took the items to the Student Union and set up the thrift store for three days
- Steve needed to coordinate the event, making sure the event was well staffed and organized
- The easter egg hunt was done in honor of Kayla Libby, a former Students Helping Honduras volunteer who passed away a few years ago. Participants had to look for clues and find the eggs.
- “I was constantly thinking I was forgetting something.”
- “Every waking moment I had to do something. Planning, organizing, talking to somebody.”
- The chapter raised $500 from the easter egg hunt and $2,500-$3,000 from the thrift shop
- The other members kept Steve motivated
- At one point, Steve wanted to do the thrift store outside. But one of his members, Taylor, wanted to do it indoors. The team got into a healthy debate and ultimately decided on doing it indoors. Steve was convinced by the long pros and cons list.
- “I wanted to deflect the blame at first. But I took a long look in the mirror and said it is my fault. I can’t let this happen again.”
- Some people have a hard time thinking for themselves, solving problems on their own
- When giving instructions, you have to be very specific
- Steve gave a short speech to his church and raised $2,000
- “Try new fundraisers. Branch out.”
- “Don’t be afraid to ask for a donation.”
- “Look out for your friends in your chapter.”
- Steve wants to thank Max and Taylor Judge for their hard work last year