Hoping to increase its fundraising revenue any way it can, Troy Camp is expanding its annual Pass the Can fundraiser to give students an easier way to donate — via text message.
“We are trying to solicit donations from people who don’t have change,” said Collin Evans, a senior majoring in international relations and the director of alumni and public relations for Troy Camp. “A lot of people show up with a credit card or no cash, and this is a way to get those people.”
Each year at the Homecoming football game, Troy Camp — a student group that works with local elementary school children — passes empty milk cartons around the rows of the Coliseum, hoping for donations to help fund their annual summer trip for local elementary students.
In the past, though, those milk cartons never made it to the student section because there were not enough volunteers to staff the entire stadium. But Troy Camp has hit a financial rough patch and will target students with the new text message donation system.
“Before, we didn’t have enough students volunteers to go to the student section, so the text messages will allow those students to participate,” said Ben Rose, a junior majoring in international relations and the director of fundraising for Troy Camp’s Pass the Can.
During the game, students can text the word “camp” to 85944. A $5 charge will then be added to the student’s cell phone bill. Troy Camp makes $4.50 for every text message, and the other 50 cents goes to Mobilecause, the company providing the service.
Troy Camp will advertise the text message system on the Coliseum’s big screen, and the group is hoping to get USC’s Spirit Leaders to hold up signs telling students how to donate. The goal is to raise $2,000 through text donations.
Last year, the group raised almost $33,000 through Pass the Can, but since it costs the group about $150,000 per year to put on its annual camp, Troy Camp is looking to raise more money any way it can.
Troy Camp is faced with the task of raising the whole $150,000 this year — it have no surplus from last year’s camp. It is an improvement over last year, though, when it began the year in debt.
“Financially last year we came in with some debt, but toward the end of the year we over-fundraised, so this year we started at zero with no debt and no surplus,” said Xavier Vargas, a junior majoring in history and the co-executive director of Troy Camp.
With the launch of the text message donation system, some have raised concerns about the poor cell phone service at the Coliseum.
“Unfortunately there is not much we can do,” Rose said. “We had a bunch of our members text back and forth last game and they had no problems. I know it is notoriously bad, so I am hoping it works.”
Still, Troy Camp has high hopes for the program and some students have already said they will likely donate.
“I think that’s a great way to get more people to donate. I know I never bring cash to the games, so if I can just text, I will definitely donate,” said Tammy Batzofin, a junior majoring in health and humanity.
Javier Sotelo, a junior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention studies, said he has never known how to donate before and is more likely to do so now.
“I haven’t participated in Pass the Can because I did not know the details of it,” he said. “Maybe if they passed the cans around the student section I would, but it hasn’t been that accessible. Texting would be easier.”
Troy Camp leaders said that if many students donate, they will consider extending Pass the Can to the student section in the future.
Even students who aren’t at Saturday’s football game will be able to donate — the system is open now and will remain open until Troy Camp’s contract with Mobilecause expires in February. This, Troy Camp leaders said, should help them raise more money.