AMSA's Local Chapter Project Directory

Project title A Cause for Cocktails... and Cathexis
Project type(s) Fundraiser
Date completed 09/18/2008
Chapter University of Nevada SOM
Project Coordinator Benjamin Stump
Summary of project The Nevada AIDS Foundation (NAF) is an independent, regional, non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization dedicated to providing housing assistance, support and advocacy for those living with HIV/AIDS, their families, loved ones and friends, and to work toward disease prevention through education, outreach, and community awareness. Unfortunately, given the decline in funding for non-profits across the state, NAF has been confronted with a number of economic challenges limiting their ability to address the needs of the HIV/AIDS population. The UNSOM chapter of AMSA hoped to alleviate or lessen the impact of the current economic situation by hosting a fundraising event in the name of NAF.

The event involved food, beverages, and music in an effort to revitalize local support for NAF. We used the event to serve as a center point for raising funds both through personal and on-line donations. Additionally, we identified local professionals willing to volunteer as members of the NAF Board of Directors. Cathexes (, a local environmentally savvy construction firm, generously allowed the use of space in their Reno office building for the event. Music was provided by Kate Cotter, who is an accomplished musician and avid supporter of our cause. Food and alcohol were largely donated from local businesses.

The event lasted for two hours on the evening of September 18th. However, the planning and fundraising began several weeks prior. In the early stages, we established a link on the NAF website ( that would allow for ticket sales as well as on-line donations. We found that a large portion of our financial support would come through small pay-pal donations from family, friends, and colleagues unable to attend. KpS3 marketing volunteered their services in designing the event announcement ( Local publications provided space for advertisement of the event.

In the end, we were able to re-establish relationships between NAF and local support groups that had been forgotten, we identified new leadership for the NAF board, and were able to raise $5,000 to support the services provided through NAF.

Content area N/A
Number of participants 200
Participant hours involved 2 hour(s)
Coordinator roles The role of the project coordinator was largely to facilitate and coordinate efforts of medical student and community contacts participating in the project. He served as the contact point between all of the entities involved. He also coordinated the formation of the host committee. While he was responsible for a huge portion of the workload, he could not have completed the project without the support of other AMSA members and UNSOM students.
Coordinator hours 200 hour(s)
Total project cost 80
Project funding Donation
Funding breakdown of sources and/or donations: One of the draw backs to this project was that it was initiated late in the fiscal year. This made securing donations from businesses in philanthropists difficult being that many had already itemized their ability to donate early in the year. In order to absorb costs incurred prior to the event, we established a host committee whose members donated $100.00 in order to participate. The host committee included local HIV/AIDS activists, supporters of AMSA and UNSOM students, and personal acquaintances who were supportive of the cause. For the most part, this money was used to secure catering. The left over funds were given to NAF. The majority of the funds raised were through on-line donations through pay-pal. We made efforts to disperse the event notice as broadly as possible over e-mail and encouraged donations in any amount. Tickets to the event were $35 ($25 for students). Additionally, we accepted sponsorships at the level of $500. Sponsors were recognized in all of our publications and allowed 10 admissions to the event.
Project advertising KPS3 marketing created our event announcement, which was delivered online as well as through the UNSOM Department of Interdisciplinary Medical Education to adjunct clinical faculty and community physicians. UNSOM and the University of Nevada, Reno included the announcement in faculty, alumni, and student communications. Local news agencies, including the Reno Gazette Journal, and locally produced periodicals made announcements as well. Finally, we relied heavily on the delivery of event information through personal e-mail lists. We believe that we were able to easily and successfully advertise the event by collaborating with individuals involved in public relations not only within the school of medicine but also those in the community willing to support NAF and local medical students.
Success rating
(1 = unsuccesful, 5 = very successful)
Lessons/suggestions The first suggestion is related to securing funding. Many businesses and philanthropic groups are willing and devoted to financially supporting student projects. However, planning should begin near the beginning of the fiscal year in order to not miss out on donation opportunities. Many groups were unable to donate to our project due to the fact that they had already reached their donation capacity for the year.

Second, prior to initiating a project similar to this, form relationships with local non-profits and community based organizations. Many of them have been already developed the infrastructure and models to put on successful fundraising events and will make the coordination of your event much easier. One of our greatest contacts is a VP for a national community service organization. She was instrumental in establishing the relationships necessary to ensure the success of this project.

Finally, the coordinator should not be afraid to delegate responsibility. Events such as this are time consuming and require more effort than anticipated. Find support in friends or colleagues and allow them to share the work load.