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Organizations search for new ways to fundraise

by Rebecca Fiore / Beacon Staff • December 6, 2012

Atlas_screenshotbychapman
Atlas Magazine used Indiegogo.com to fundraise for their magazine.
Atlas Magazine used Indiegogo.com to fundraise for their magazine.

Finding enough money to produce print issues is a constant challenge for on-campus magazines, which have turned to organizing events and creating online fundraising drives to augment or replace Student Government Association sponsorship. 

After not having enough SGA allocated funds to print this semester, Atlas Magazine reached its fundraising goal of $3,500 on Nov. 26 through an online campaign.  

The funds will allow the magazine to print 500 copies of its current issue and reimburse staff members for expenses. One member paid for a backdrop at an event, and others have helped with the cost of fliers and other supplies, said Sarah Dwyer, Atlas editor-in-chief and senior writing, literature, and publishing major. 

Atlas used Indiegogo, a website that allows people to raise money online, to conduct its campaign, Dwyer said. 

When it was founded in April 2011, Atlas was unable to print copies of its magazine, but the next semester used Kickstarter, a fundraising website similar to Indiegogo, to raise enough money to print 200 copies, Dwyer said. The SGA does not recognize the publication, which makes earning money more challenging, according to Dwyer.

Editors of Chaos Magazine, which was founded this year and claims to be Emerson’s first publication dedicated to music, said it also plans on raising money online for print issues.

The first issue of Chaos came out on Nov. 12, and is only available digitally.

Melanie Cohen, co-founder and marketing director of Chaos, said that plans for fundraising have started this year, and will be executed next semester. The magazine will create an online funding campaign using either RocketHub, another website similar to Indiegogo, or Kickstarter. Staff members also plan on selling CDs filled with their favorite songs and a custom-designed album cover Cohen said.

“Our goal is for the second issue to be printed and start fundraising,” the junior marketing communication major  said.

In addition to Atlas’ campaign, Dwyer said she asked members to sell as many subscriptions as they could during Thanksgiving break. Students do not need a subscription to purchase the magazine, but people with subscriptions are guaranteed a copy, Dwyer said. 

“It is difficult sometimes to try to motivate the staff to try to go out and get donations,” Dwyer said.

Members were also encouraged to donate $10 to cover the cost of their printing because of a lack of funds, Dwyer  said. She said that she doesn’t want to ask staff members to make donations every semester, but that it was challenging to find enough money to print.

“It’s a really difficult process,” Dwyer said. “First of all, you are competing with everyone else on campus who is trying to raise money. So it’s like coming up with ideas that makes people want to come to things.”

Atlas’ latest fundraising event was the talent showcase held on Nov. 30 in the Multipurpose Room of Piano Row, which included stand-up comedy, a musical performance, and poetry readings.

After being recognized by the SGA, some organizations still struggle with fundraising, such as Your Magazine, which faces difficulties finding money for print issues, even though it holds events and sells advertisements, according to Editor-in-Chief Kilian Webster.

“In the long run, it is [better to have SGA recognition],” the senior writing, literature, and publishing major said. “Right now, it is tough because we didn’t receive as much as we wanted. It will be really beneficial. I see Your Mag [continuing after] me and going on long after I’ve graduated.” 

SGA Public Relations Commissioner  and junior journalism major John King  said it is a hard process to raise money without SGA recognition.

“It is pretty difficult and tedious not getting SGA funding,” King said. “SGA doesn’t have a mass amount of funds to allot to each organization. It’s good and says a lot about each organization’s character to conduct fundraisers on their own.”

The Undergraduate Student Handbook states that organizations that are not recognized by the SGA are not allowed to hold fundraisers on campus by themselves but can partner with SGA recognized organizations. 

“It is difficult [to raise money without SGA recognition], but we have proved that it is doable. It’s not something I want to keep relying on,” Dwyer said.

Atlas and Chaos are applying for SGA recognition this spring.