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Fun & Easy College Fundraiser: "Canning"

Canning is a really EASY and FUN way for students involved in Autism Speaks’ college program, Autism Speaks U, to raise funds and awareness about autism and their collegiate chapter. Students can raise anywhere from $500-$1,000 from just ONE day of canning!
What is it? Similar to what firefighters do to collect money for a “Fill the Boot” fundraiser, college students will go to high traffic places (store fronts, malls, gas stations, near intersections, etc.) holding cans and signs to ask people for donations. 
Canning Supplies:

  1. Signs
  2. Cans (decorated in BLUE paint/glitter/paper)
  3. Chapter members and friends
  4. Permission from the place you are soliciting donations from 

Canning Tips

  • Go to high traffic places (malls, coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.) during busy times when community members are out.
  • Brand the event with Autism Speaks U signage to let people know donations benefit Autism Speaks.
  • Be energetic! Smile and greet people as they walk by. Getting their attention gives them more reason to donate.
  • Do not get discouraged if donations start to trickle in slowly. The first few dollars are always the hardest!
  • You may be asked questions about autism or Autism Speaks. Print out fact sheets to review and distribute. 

Canning Dos & Don’ts

  • Wear bright colors and your Autism Speaks U chapter t-shirts.
  • Display appropriate Autism Speaks U signage promoting the event. Big, bright, blue colorful signs are a plus!
  • Represent Autism Speaks U and your school in a positive and respectful manner.
  • Be cheerful and happy – people want to donate to smiling faces!
  • If standing near intersections, make yourself visible to drivers.
  • Bring a valid school ID.
  • Alternate taking breaks with other canners, so someone is always canning. 


  • Can in the middle of streets or in intersections.
  • Can alone. Always have at least one other person with you.
  • Can when it is dark outside.
  • Can without permission of the school, store, mall, etc. Not all locations require permits but check first.

                  Have additional ideas, tips or questions? Leave a  
                  comment below! Connect with Autism Speaks U
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The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.