In our first and second articles about school fundraisers, we talked about fundraising principals and offered advice on how to plan a great event. The article you’re reading now is a much more in-depth look at steps you need to take to get a school fundraiser off the ground.
Deciding to work on a fundraiser is a choice one shouldn’t take lightly.
They can involve a lot of labor and resources. It is our hope to equip you with the information you’ll need to plan and run successful school fundraisers. Below we will help to illuminate some of the first steps to take.
Earlier we just mentioned the basic premise behind establishing the purpose of the fundraiser and the goal you had in mind. You need to know what you are raising funds for and also how much money you need as a baseline. Your objective is the “why”, and your target is the “how much”.
You need an objective.
Don’t make the mistake of holding a fundraiser without a fundraising goal. Sometimes organizations hit hard times and are short on funding for many different things all at once. Instantly they may think let’s do a fundraiser! Without a specific objective, raising funds can be complicated – you may even experience infighting over resource allocations.
You need a target.
Some schools may be shy about setting a target up front – thinking it is pushy or may make people hesitant to make a donation when a goal is set too high. That said, if parents and students don’t understand your target, they won’t know how their individual contributions impact it. You to be clear about both your objective and your target to inspire participation.
Finalize the items above before moving any further in your planning. Once set, it’s best to share this information with parents, students and the community.
The next step is to set the fundraiser’s date (or dates depending upon your fundraiser type). You want as many people to attend it as possible, including all those groups mentioned in our last post. You want to choose a date that will be as convenient for everyone and provide plenty of notice.
One of the best ways to set a date for your fundraiser is to request feedback from the people you plan to invite. Try sending an e-mail questionnaire or post a poll on your school website or Facebook page. You don’t know unless you ask and you don’t want to double book with another community event.
Nowadays social media can be your best friend when it comes to getting the word out. Facebook and other sites allow for engaging dialogues about your fundraiser. It’s best you learn how to use social media effectively or at the very least, enlist the help of someone who already knows how.
For many school fundraising events, the majority number of your attendees and donators will be parents. It makes a lot of practical sense to get parents involved in your fundraiser right from the start.
Many students, never mention school events to their parents. If given a flyer, many students won’t even remember to hand it off to their parents.
Ultimately, it comes down to you to get in contact with them. You can send parents an e-mail or letter includes when the fundraiser will take place, and of course, its specific objectives and target.
Try sending your e-mail or letter with a “call to action” (or CTA). CTA’s invite people to perform an action. In this case, your CTA should inspire participation or donation. Your CTA should explain, in simple terms, how the parent can participate or donate.
In short, you want to encourage the parents to be actively involved.
If you have a list of folks who’ve been especially active in the past, you may consider calling them personally about the fundraiser. They jump at the chance to offer their time and money.
Brainstorm additional ways of engaging people. Get social – and start conversations to see if your fundraising idea can gain parental support. If it can, you’re almost guaranteed success.
We’ve talked about getting the parents involved, and yes, that’s an imperative. But remember, schools need students, and so does your fundraiser. School fundraisers critically need student involvement and support. Your students need to be involved in the whole event, from the planning to the final execution of the event.
Just like with the parents, share the fundraisers objective and target, but more importantly, make sure the students understand who will benefit. If the fundraiser doesn’t directly benefit the students, it’s important to engage them emotionally in the cause – instill a sense of civic duty.
Explain how the goals will help the school, students, friends, brothers, sisters, or community as a whole. Invite them to participate and have sign-up sheets available. When asking for student participation, it is best to have a sense where you’d like their assistance.
Brainstorm ways of engaging your students. You might consider calling a meeting in the auditorium of your school, sending information out via social media, emailing students directly.
Put them to work on things like:
When involving students, ask for their input. You want an event that reflects your school, and your students can provide plenty of ideas. Engaging students is of particular importance if you’re creating an event for students to attend. Regardless of your target audience, involving students is always a great idea.
Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing articles on specific topics related to school fundraisers. We will provide fundraising ideas, fundraising instructions, and other useful insights.
If you’re interested in getting all of that information at once, GraduationSource recently published an eBook detailing school fundraising – it’s a draft that’s continually improving with feedback from readers like you.
If you would like to read the entire eBook “Fundraising for Your School” – DOWNLOAD IT HERE