Debate exposes a child of forensics to meet very DIFFERENT people. They're smart and friendly, but not always. Additionally, it increases one's vocab., speech, and comprehensive skills. One gets to travel when they normally wouldn't. (even in their own state) Debate can also help a person overcome one's fear of crowds. To fundraise, teams could sell stuff like donuts, candy, etc... They can also have a debate-a-thon where you debate counting by the # of rounds or hours. Hope that helps.

Rakesh, WRHS Debate


Hi Jim,

I am simply a student at the University of Florida. I am not sure if I qualify to give you info. However, I have dealt very closely with obtaining funding for forensics at the junior college level and the four year level. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to be sure that you know where the money could come from. Meaning, some schools prohibit certain groups from being funded by the administration. This is the case at UF. The speech team at UF must seek funding from the student government association. Even if President Lombardi wanted to fund the team he could not because of University bylaws. The point is be sure your pr efforts are well aimed at the group who will fund you. Also, avoid any kind of jargon that we might use in forensics. This turns many administrators off. I found that simply by informing some of the admin. of our existence, our strength increased. At my junior college I actually convinced the president to let me speak at every board of trustees meeting about the speech team. In those meetings I focused on the academic benefits of forensics. I also provided them with two papers completed by forensics instructors on how forensics helps to retain students who might drop out. Anyway, I know that this is probably not that helpful, but your request reminded me of a lot of work I did for my team at Santa Fe Community College and some work I have done at UF.

Andy Bogeajis, IE Captain University of Florida



Sorry it took so long, I have been out of town. Here is the idea that has raised that kind of money: Free car wash. You probably have heard of it before, I see it done in So Cal all the time. Get sponsors for each car done, 10 cent min, and if everyone really gets sponsors, you have no problem raising the money. If the average is$5 in total sponsorship for a person per car and you have 10 people getting sponsors, that is $50 per car washed. If you place this car wash on a good street corner (usually a gas station with enough room will donate the water, when it is explained to them that this will draw more customers in), and do 200 cars (that was the avg when I did it years ago)then that is $10,000 plus a few hundred in tips. 100 cars is still $5000.Either way, if planned well and people work hard, it is a much better investment than selling candy bars. I hope that it helps someone to keep their program alive and well. peace.

Tony King, Chico


To all interested coaches and participants,

Here at Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minnesota we know a thing or two about fund raising. Let me first point out that our yearly debate budget from the school is $500.00 (I didn't stutter when I said hat) not including the head coaches salary. Not much to run a competitivedebate program with? Our team ranges in size from 30 to 40 traveling debaters each year. Now $500.00 seems even less. So, how do we fund ourprogram? You need several ingredients; hard work, patience and persistence. Here are some ideas....

1. Parent's organization: It is important to have a solid supportive parent's group promoting the benefits of the activity and organizing fundraising. Our parent's group is a legal non-profit organization complete with a mission statement and a board of directors. This group does things like lobbying the local school board, talking to local businesses(especially law firms) and organizations (VFW or American Legion) about contributions, arranging fund raisers (some businesses will, if asked, provide help in fund raising. Dayton's/Target Stores is just one example)and running the snack bar at our debate and speech tournament. The parent's group is important in order to maintain and present a united message about the benefits of the activity.

2. Candy Sales: The debate team at Jefferson is to put it bluntly the school sugar pushers. We sell candy all day every day from the debate room as well as individually by the debaters themselves. Now candy may not work for your team (due to school rules and such) but I'm sure if you thought about it you could find something to sell that students would buy. The key to success is consistency of availability. Once you start the sale of an item you need to maintain your market share by always being present with the product and having ample stock to sell. You will not get rich but it can be the difference between attending a particular tournament or staying home doing nothing.

3. Participation Fees: I know this is the one ugly reality we have tried to avoid as much as possible. Our parents group is responsible for soliciting funds from the parents of participating students. Right now it is voluntary but eventually who knows. As the cost of running a forensics program continues to escalate we may need to recognize the neccessity of participation fees (I know some places have them already, maybe they could speak to the pros/cons of these as a fund raising method).

4. Miscellaneous: You could hold a giant garage sale. Have the members of the forensics programs families contribute items to be sold for funds. This can be a fun event and also provide public visibility of your programs goals and objectives (remember It is easier to sell a program the public knows about than one they've never heard of). In the past we held a baseball card show (these have fallen off in popularity here in Minnesota but maybe are still viable where you live) or maybe you could hold some other type of collector's show (antique, beanie babies, etc...). Finally you could have a spaghetti dinner complete with entertainment (have some of the forensics competitors perform, you could do a sample debate, but we find that duo and humorous performances go over better). You will not get rich off of any one of these but several spaced out over the year can help to raise money and keep your program afloat.

Just keep in mind to be creative and work hard at fund raising and you won't have to worry about how to fund that trip to the Glenbrooks tournament in November. Funding a forensics program is one big pain in the.... well you get the picture. If forensics only used a ball or puck? Well you know how that goes. We could fund our forensics program for three seasons on what our hockey team receives for one.

Good luck with your fund raising endeavors.

Chris McDonald