Anyone who has ever stepped into a school building or known a school aged child has been a victim supporter of a fundraiser or two. Fundraisers can be fantastic ways for PTOs, clubs, classrooms, sporting teams, etc. to raise needed finances to purchase materials, equipment, experiences, etc. When families and friends are continually barraged with fundraising pleas though, it can lead to some pretty disgruntled supporters no matter how worthy the cause(s) may be.
Finding the right balance between frequency and product can have a big effect on fundraising profits. The last thing any student (or teacher) touting a fundraiser wants to encounter is responses such as What are you selling now?, Another one?, or simply that sigh that states not again as a loyal supporter begrudgingly reaches for the checkbook. To help ensure that fundraising attempts are not met with a soul crushing stares, these 10 tips and tricks can get organizers prepared for a positively profitable event.
- Cover all the publicity bases– Email blasts, signage, flyers, announcements, newsletters, social media, etc. can all make an impact. Students can design signage and even be the speakers at Parent/Curriculum Nights when information about the event is being shared.
- Highlight the purpose– While money may be going into a general fund for a PTO or student organization, sharing a planned purchase or two offers supporters a tangible reason for their investment. Whether it’s uniforms, technological equipment, field trip funds, etc., knowing where funding is going can make others more likely to donate.
- Limit the frequency- Those not again eye rolls can be deterred if fundraising requests aren’t an everyday occurrence. Create a master schedule for all fundraisers in the building. There are lots of organizations and clubs that may be vying for some additional funding, but running consecutive events will diminish profits for all.
- Get parents & teachers involved- While students may be the main sellers, having adults on board to encourage sales makes a big difference. When a parent or teacher is checking in on progress, it adds an accountability piece to the event. When parents and teachers are enthusiastic about making sales and reaching milestones, it can really get kids motivated.
- Have checkpoints for extended events- If a fundraiser will last several weeks, it’s important to have several turn-in days. These keep sales fresh and act as friendly reminders for students to continue pursuing supporters.
- Incentivize sales- While students should be motivated by a profitable end goal for their organization, it doesn’t hurt to add some incentives along the way to keep the momentum going. Sometimes spending a little money to make a lot of money is necessary. Incentives can also be non-monetary in nature for individual students or the study body as a whole (e.g., Hat Day, front-of-line pass, movie).
- Evaluate methods annually- If sales have been declining for a longstanding event, it may be time to change up the product, timeframe, incentives, etc. Just because something has worked well in the past doesn’t mean it has to be the only route to success. Many frequent buyers may welcome a fresh product offering.
- Know the supporter pool-A high-priced product isn’t likely to raise profits in a low-income setting. Items with lower price tags can sell at a higher volume. Maybe a product isn’t the way to go at all. One-time fundraising events like Family Fun Days, car washes, restaurant sale contributions, etc. can be excellent ways to earn funds in one fell swoop with early publicity being key.
- Add some healthy competition- Incentivizing individuals is great, but some healthy competition between homerooms, grade levels, or even buildings can really amp up sales. This is where having teachers on board and posting/announcing daily leaders can become a huge motivator.
- Make it fun– Creating a fun theme or slogan for the fundraiser can be an excellent way to get students excited about the event. Some dollar store décor can don the hallways or be used to decorate the school-wide progress board. This can all lead up to a themed incentive day if the fundraising goal is met.
Fundraisers offer a great way to get students actively involved in supporting their school, club, team, etc. With the proper organization, timing, and management, they can be less stressful and more successful. Taking the time to examine these 10 tips and tricks before getting started can lead to a much more profitable event.