Our Winter Fundraiser and Making an Impact in 2021

Posted on: 24 November 2020

At Student Hubs, we’re an honest bunch: it’s incredibly important to us as a staff team and as an organisation that we can have meaningful, in-depth discussions with our students, community partners, university partners and alumni about what’s happening locally and across the network, and what we need. 

As we look towards the end of 2020, we can truthfully say it has been a challenging year for our students, our community partners and participants, for universities, and for our staff team too. There have been many firsts this year, including delivering our programmes virtually, delivering several programmes across the summer months, adjusting to virtual freshers’ events, and continuing to get the job done as a staff team whilst under two national lockdowns. 

This will also be our first Winter Fundraiser, following on from our 600k Fundraiser back in May. Because it’s important to us to be transparent and open, we want to share with you our reasons for the campaign, why we would love you to support and invest in our work, and what we’re reflecting on as a network as we head into 2021. 

Why are we fundraising? 

Put simply, we’re fundraising because we are a charity and we have work still to do. Our vision and mission is about mainstreaming student social action, connecting students to social and environmental issues in their university communities, and creating a new generation of active citizens through engagement with us. As we’ve seen this year, the necessity of these goals have only gotten stronger, and the work we do really is vital to the students and communities we support.  

Responding to the short-term and long-term impact of Covid-19

We’re a pretty lean and agile team at Student Hubs, and when we want to do something, we can move incredibly quickly. However, the biggest thing stopping us from doing this effectively for our students and communities is funding. Funding for charities has been hit incredibly hard during this period as everyone has tried to function through the crisis. Because of this, we have had to think hard and carefully about how we use our funding. The more donations we have, the more we are able to invest in students and community projects, the quicker we can move (because we don’t have to ask anybody else for the money and wait for them to say yes!), and the more we can ensure that local teams can respond. 

There have been lots of good news stories in the past fortnight about the promise of Covid-19 vaccines, and that’s fantastic to think that we might have a way out of this cycle of lockdowns soon. But this does not change what’s already happened. Even if a vaccine was released tomorrow, we are still looking at challenges for young people in their aspirations, motivations, the huge gaps in learning during the pandemic period, along with potential instability in their family lives. We are still looking at challenges for older people, in how they cope with having lost loved ones, friends, and support networks and systems that may have launched as a Covid response to tackle social isolation, only to be dismantled again. We are still looking at a long-term impact to our economy, to the ability of charities and social enterprises to survive, to the gaps left by the organisations and businesses which didn’t make it through this year. Of course for our students, we see similar challenges: lost learning, lost opportunities for work experience and to meet new people, and students tackling mental health challenges that have risen during this time.

We need funding to continue to meet these short and long-term challenges presented to us by our students, communities and partners for 2021, and so we can shape our ongoing strategy for the future of our programmes. 

We want to continue offering high quality opportunities to students

During the pandemic, we’ve seen how crucial our programmes can be to the 1000+ students who engage with us every year. Our opportunities and Hub staff have offered students a network during the lockdown periods and outside of this, provided structured support in wellbeing, as well as enabling students to get work experience and skill development when most work opportunities were cancelled. Our students also wanted to help their communities, but they weren’t sure how.

Student Hubs has always been about bridging the gap between students and communities, and we saw the power of this for both during 2020 as we continued our delivery over summer to meet the needs of students and our communities, and in how we adapted our programmes for virtual delivery across the autumn term. But for at least the first six months of 2021, we can expect our usual business of delivering programmes to remain as odd and unusual as it has been this year, and we need funding to do this successfully. 

Becoming long-term

The impact of Covid-19 will be with us, our students and our communities for years, and in order for us to be sustainable, to survive this period and essentially, to grow, we need to fundraise in a way that matches with our values: bold, motivational, social, ambitious, and most vitally, long-term. Your donations are one key part of how we become long-term as an organisation and continue to have the ability to be flexible, to adapt, to take risks, and to invest in what our communities need in the short-term so we can design long-term solutions with more substantial funding. 

So how can I help? 

Firstly, if you have the means to, we would love you to donate (and we really mean if you have the means to!). You can also share our Winter Fundraiser campaign through your networks. We’re running this campaign completely online, so we need your help to reach incredible people who might be able to help us. 

You can: 

  • Share our campaign launch on #GivingTuesday (Tuesday 1st December) and donate at our our Winter Fundraiser page
  • Encourage your student networks to donate just £1 through our Super Satsuma Day campaign (Wednesday 2nd December)
  • Sign up to our alumni Christmas quiz, just £5 a ticket and share your memories in our #ThrowbackThursday campaign (Thursday 3rd December)
  • Engage with and share our local Hubs’ social issue campaigns, where they’ll be spotlighting how we’ve been responding to social challenges during the pandemic on our national social media channels (Friday 4th – Thursday 10th December)

Secondly, we would love you to consider becoming a regular donor to us in 2021. We have a fantastic donor offer, and we would be hugely grateful for your monthly support with however much you can spare: our offer starts from £2 per month, less than a coffee! Most importantly, your regular donation means we can plan for the future, provide funding support to all the new issues and projects that have been raised by students and communities in responding to Covid-19, and invest in the growth of our amazing network. You can donate to Student Hubs (either as a one-off or as a regular donor) here.

Thank you for reading, for your support with our cause this year, and for joining us to reflect on what 2021 will look like. It’s been a tough year, so take the time to be kind to yourself, appreciate how hard you’ve worked this year, and have a rest this winter, and look hopefully and optimistically to the new year ahead.  

If you have any questions about donating to Student Hubs, please get in touch with Fiona Walsh, Sales Director at fiona.walsh@studenthubs.org

Fiona Walsh

Fiona is Student Hubs' Sales Director. She leads on university sales, alumni and corporate fundraising, marketing strategy and external relations. Fiona started her social action journey as a student volunteer with Southampton Hub.

Tags: Alumni, Community, News, Social Action, Third Sector

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