4 Keys to a Successful School Fundraiser

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If planning a fundraiser for your child’s school fills you with dread, you’re not alone. Ask any seasoned school fundraising veteran, and you’ll hear the stories. Often, what was supposed to be fun and productive turned into an exhausting campaign with less-than-expected returns.

Of course, no one can guarantee a successful fundraiser. And, you have to expect the unexpected. Something invariably happens you didn’t see coming. But, the odds are in your favor if you plan ahead.

Don’t Do It Alone

Don’t try to decide on a fundraiser and make a plan all on your own. Pull parents and students together to talk about the reasons for the fundraiser and gauge participation levels. By gathering a group of willing participants and giving everyone, including the children, a say in the decision-making process, you build an enthusiastic fundraising team.

Choose the Right Fundraiser

School fundraising ideas run the gamut from selling items such as candy, pretzels, popcorn and home decor to events such as auctions and contests. Your choice depends on how much help you have, your venue options and which events inspire the most parent and child enthusiasm. 

Other possible factors include the time of year, where holidays or outdoor events become the main theme, how much money you have for supplies, the demographics of your local area or even global pandemics! The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools to resort to virtual fundraising options like those held by Boosterthon.

Gather input from parents and children. Ask for creative ideas. Involve everyone in the final fundraising event decision. Remember, if parents and children don’t embrace the idea, they won’t enthusiastically work toward the goal.

Plan Carefully

Ask for volunteers to handle specific tasks as you plan your event. Create a calendar to track tasks that have to be completed by a precise date. Stay ahead of deadlines. Make sure nothing is left to chance.

If your fundraiser is an event, schedule it on a day when no other major area events are planned.

Get the Word Out

Come up with a catchy slogan or catchphrase to use when you publicize your event. Build excitement, whether your fundraiser is product sales or an event, to let your community know the what, when, where and, most importantly, the why. Let people know where their money is going and appeal to their sense of giving for the good of the children in their community.

Follow these suggestions to get the word out:

  • Begin publicizing an event as soon as possible, preferably two months before start date.
  • Ask the school to send an email blast announcing the event.
  • Get teachers and administrators involved. They may very well have ways to help you publicize the event.
  • Ask local businesses to put up flyers or take donations.
  • Set goals. A thermometer showing how much has been raised and how much more is required to reach the goal gives everyone a motivational visual cue.
  • Offer incentives for children to encourage participation. Give gifts or a special outing as a prize, such as a fun lunch with the principal.   
  • Come up with new ideas. Maybe it’s a quirky new product to sell or a change in the timing to create interest. Try to avoid the same old, same old.

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