The GraduationSource eBook “The School Fundraising Handbook” contains a detailed and helpful chapter on setting up your school fundraiser venue. Without further ado, here’s a snippet of the chapter entitled, “Setting Up The Fundraiser.”
Planning is complete, and everything is moving along in lockstep. It’s time to prepare the final setup. Don’t worry. You’ve got everything in place and an organized plan. Soon it will be time to enjoy your fundraising event with your school community! For now, it’s time to set up the venue. If you chose a fundraiser type that is silent or piggy-backs on an existing event, this might have all been taken care of or may not be necessary. If you didn’t, then this section is for you.
Once you’ve selected a venue for the school fundraiser, it’s time to create a layout for it. Whether you’re holding a school fair, concert, or even a karaoke event, you must create a plan for a successful and smooth operation.
You need to know where the event will take place, where people will sit, and where they will socialize and relax. You should know where the restrooms are, and where people can enjoy refreshments. It is also essential to understand the flow of traffic to and from your event, so you should even know which entrances (if you have more than one) people will be entering your event from and how to manage them.
Create a mini-map and share it with your volunteers at first. You should also create a version for your guests (especially if you have a significant event like a school fair) so they can find things quickly. Volunteers at your event also need to know how to direct guests smoothly and efficiently. Further steps to finishing the venue are to follow in the sections below.
Once you’ve signed the papers for your venue (should a contract be required), it’s time for you to inspect it to confirm it’s in excellent condition. Take photos of any damages you find before the event and report them immediately. This way the venue management/owner understands that you’re not at fault. You also want to be sure any damages do not conflict with your event plans.
When you’ve gone through your event venue to verify its condition, it’s time to begin setting up. Notify your vendors and volunteers and start decorating and adding what is needed to create your fundraiser.
If your fundraiser has a physical location, then this step is for you. Even if there isn’t a physical location but there are flyers, coupon booklets, and any other printed or digital material, this step can technically be for you as well.
It’s important that your school name, logo, and colors are prominent on everything associated with the event. “Why?” you may ask. This is a school event, and the primary goal is to raise money for your school! Your school, even if you never thought about it before, is a brand! And it’s one that you want well recognized for its positive effects on the community. You want that to be first in everyone’s minds when they walk through the door and during the event itself.
As you planned the decorations, we know you’ve looked for ways to incorporate the school emblem and logo (and perhaps also the mascot) into your decorations. Maybe you are also using the school colors as your decorating theme.
Here are some places your school emblem and logo should be visible:
School pride is a good thing. You want everyone to love that they go to your school, teach at your school, and have children that go to your school. Do whatever you can to get the school spirit flowing.
If you’re doing a raffle, carnival, or fair, this idea is for you. You’ll want to be sure that your committee heads check and verify that the stalls and podiums are sturdy and ready for the event. Drape and decorate them completely for the day/evening in the theme you’ve chosen. Attached the banners that describe what visitors can expect to do at each stall – a ring toss for example, or the raffle booth. Don’t leave the details of your attractions off of your main display!
If you’re utilizing the graduation to raise money, this is an idea for you. A school fundraiser will live long in the minds of students. This is the last event they will attend as students of your school. As they become alumni, you’ll want to develop a healthy relationship with them. What better way than doing something special to honor their graduation?
To leave a lasting memory, we recommend you get unique graduation gowns made. These specialized graduation gowns are an excellent idea to reward students for helping with this fundraiser.
Best of all, this is a keepsake item they will treasure and it will serve to remind them of the milestone, memories, friendship, and fun of this day. Your graduation provider can work with you to get the customized gowns producing more revenue for the fundraiser if you work with them in advance.
If it’s appropriate for the fundraising idea you are working on, music may be a good idea. One of the best ways to set the mood for your event is to play music. You can choose a live DJ or have an MP3 player set up to a sound system. But you’ll want to have music for everyone to enjoy. It’s a celebration!
Create a set of playlists if you are using an MP3 player or iTunes device to play music from your sound system. Always plan more music than you think you’ll need so you’ve got plenty on hand. Hiring a DJ may be higher than your budget would permit, but you could always consider having a student volunteer (although it’s heavily advised you pre-approve the playlist before giving them the reins).
Having the right music in a fundraising event can undoubtedly improve your chances of making the event a major success. It will help in making sure that people go home happy. It’s common knowledge that music has a profound impact on a person’s mood.
You’re almost ready, but don’t ignore the importance of rehearsal time. If you want your fundraiser to go smoothly and efficiently, you should do your best to train your volunteers and rehearse what they will be doing at the event.
If your event is large, it may be set up the day before. A rehearsal of the entire production may be impractical. But you can meet with groups of volunteers (the student volunteers for example) to go over their duties and explain to them what they are doing and to answer their questions. Show them photos of what their booths and stands will look like if they are unable to see them before event day.
This is a school fundraiser, which means a lot of money will be exchanging hands. As a result, appropriate security is an absolute must. Numerous security organizations provide third-party options to customers. You can hire guards and get surveillance cameras installed in all of the locations to ensure that there are no blind spots and that people can move around with relative ease. Regardless of the nature of the event, there’s always a threat involved, which is why proper security is vital to ensure that the whole fundraiser is carried out without any trouble. A good security company will understand any potential threats your location or school might be vulnerable to and will help you address them. At the very least, make sure any people you have collecting money regularly bring the cash they collect to a safe location to prevent it from piling up and leaving it exposed to theft and or general disorganization.
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