Getting students to travel to London for a national demo can seem like a daunting task, especially financially. But it is entirely possible to do it on the cheap, or even at no cost, if you’re organised and get enough people involved. Here are a few tips, gathered from experience by NCAFC over the past few years.
1. Be coach and transport savvy
Coaches can cost quite a lot, and for many groups and unions this will be the main barrier to coming down. But there are ways to keep costs to a bare minimum: here are a few of the most useful.
- Remember that you can recoup the costs of hiring a coach after the event, so although coaches always seem expensive, they can be quite affordable as long as you sell the tickets rather than give them away, and fill the coach. There will always be enough activists in your local area, and we will help you find them.
- Sometimes it’s cheaper to book private transport, especially megabus tickets, and then resell them, as long as you do it well in advance. So check the availability and price of them now!
- Book chartered coaches as early in advance as you can.
- Start selling tickets now! Selling tickets helps you get the funds back – but it also ties students in. People are more likely to come and bring their mates if they have parted with money. Keep proper lists of everyone who has booked.
Fundraising can be an effortless and easy way to afford the journey down. There are three basic things that you can do:
- Set up an online fundraiser like GoFundMe.
- Ask around all of your local trade union branches, asking them for help with cash. Some branches have a lot of money – some have tens of thousands – and will be more than happy to fund students defending education.
- Ask local academics and community figures for money. Many academics, who will be unable to attend themselves, will be happy to chip in. Many students got down to last year’s demos by running a “sponsor me to go to London” campaign. Go to other trade union meetings (for instance fire stations) and ask for a whip-round.
- Do the usual fundraising events: bake sales, gigs and bucket shaking
3. Ask students who can to pay for their own transport
It’s not ideal to ask students to fund the whole journey themselves, but it’s not immoral either, especially if you can’t do it. Ask students to book asap. But students are more likely to book if you make it easy for them: it’s ideal to advertise the tickets, advertise the times of transport and the website to book on, in the SU or over email or facebook. Make it as convenient and straightforward as possible, and advertise this.
- Send out a mass email telling students to book transport now, if they can, before tickets get too expensive.