By Brea Kratzert – Development Vice President, Wounded Warrior Project
By now you’ve probably settled into the routine of school again. Yes, I’m talking to you, college students! Classes, homework, exams, and of course, finding time to make new friends and get reacquainted with old ones. As your backs have grown stronger under the weight of your textbooks and your minds have grown sharper with new learning, you’ve probably begun to think about the future and what lies beyond school, especially if you’re entering your final years of university or college.
Practical skills become important at this point in your life, like building a resume with extracurriculars that help you stand above the sea of other young adults making their way into the workforce. Employers are looking for them all the time – including Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
WWP has a program that can help you develop some of these skills firsthand. Our Student Ambassadors program not only helps WWP provide life-changing programs and services free of charge to wounded warriors, their families, and caregivers. It will challenge you and give you practical, real-world experiences that allow you to establish key workplace skills you won’t find in a textbook.
When getting started with your Student Ambassadors fundraiser, you will need to develop your idea. Any entrepreneur’s product begins with a question: What do I want to sell? You’ll learn by hosting a fundraiser that the approach is the same: What do I want to sell or do to raise money? First, determine a reasonable objective: How much do you want to raise, and how will you raise that much? By creating a goal to reach toward, you’ve become organized and know where you’re going. How you get there is up to your creativity.
Once the idea for the fundraiser is established, you will need to find ways to get people interested. By reaching out to those around you either to donate or volunteer, you develop a critical skill that is more important than ever in the business world. Your ability to approach people and create positive relationships is something that can’t be taught. It requires practice, and by starting young, you can build the confidence to keep doing this through your professional career.
If you’ve opted for a fundraiser that requires some upfront investment, you get to put your money management skills into practice. If you’re hosting a bake sale or selling a product to raise money, you’re going to have upfront costs. Spend too much, and you won’t have much profit at the end of the campaign; spend too little, and you might not have enough to maximize your earnings. You can figure this out by writing down your fundraising goal and comparing it against the costs of producing whatever you’re selling; you may need to adjust the sales price accordingly. This is a very basic form of money management, but being able to see and evaluate the big picture and is a major advantage in starting any business.
Fundraising and Sales
It’s time to bring in the cash – but how? Are you selling yourself as a marathon runner, going an incredible distance to raise awareness and funds? If so, how can you convince others to support that? Are you selling pies? Great; how do you go about selling those to people as they walk by your booth? As a salesperson, you find your voice in selling a product – it can be anything.
Do you procrastinate? A lot of people do, but when you’re managing a big project or a fundraiser with deadlines, putting things off is not an option. As a student, you’ve probably had to manage multiple assignments, exams, and projects. The same will be true for your fundraiser. Trial and error is part of multitasking – but once you have a realistic understanding of specific time constraints, it’s up to you to figure out how to plan accordingly – especially if you want to find time for fun in your day! Learning how to manage your time and execute tasks efficiently is critical in our fast-paced world. Learning it early and mastering it quickly will set you apart for any job in any field.
Performing a Social Good
“Companies like volunteer experience” – a very true statement. There are a few reasons for this, beyond the fact that doing good for others is a good thing to do. It displays a generous attitude that reflects your positive attributes. And it also shows a willingness to self-start. A worker who will get things done because it’s needed or the right thing to do shows a fantastic work ethic.
Starting today, a campaign is beginning for students of all ages to get involved with WWP. Your efforts will help WWP connect wounded veterans with programs and services that will empower them to live their lives on their own terms. To learn more about how you can be part of the campaign to “Honor Their Courage,” visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org/give-back/students. To see this impact in action, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org.