“We have to make so much money this year… how are we going to do it?”
Fundraising can sometimes be quite the stress. Ok, let’s be real; fundraising can often be quite the stress, particularly when you have pressure coming from the “higher powers”. Often our first reaction is to fill the calendar with a bunch of fundraisers and just hope they make the required funds. Unfortunately that is not the best approach, and can sometimes even have the reverse effect, so we have developed some simple yet practical guidelines that help to ensure successful, high profit fundraising.
1. Timing. Yep, timing is EVERYTHING! Space your fundraisers out so you don’t burn out or cause your participants and purchasers to lose interest. Consider school holidays and school or community events and key dates such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that you can cash in on. When running a “living” fundraiser, the season is particular important. A guide such as this one will help you plan the best fundraiser for different times of the year according to your area.
2. Aim high (but not too high). It’s important to be optimistic, but also realistic. If you set a target that is impossible to reach, your participants are only going to feel dejected and unenthused when it comes to the next drive. Set reasonable targets and celebrate when you exceed them!
3. Variety is the spice of life! If a particular type of drive proved successful on one occasion, it is very tempting to continue with that type of drive, assuming it will always be a success. This isn’t always the case – people get bored very quickly. We suggest choosing three different types of drive for the year; for example, a take-home drive, a stall and something that doesn’t require any buying or selling. Parents will appreciate not feeling pressured to constantly sell things or fork out money. True – some of these fundraisers may not bring in as much cash as others, but having a balance like this will ensure an overall successful fundraising year.
4. Say thank you. Acknowledging and thanking people is the best way to encourage them to be involved in the next thing you do. Thank people for their individual contributions publicly and personally, e.g, call, email or speak with people who did specific tasks or made the most effort and thank them by name in your newsletter, at assembly or your next meeting.
5. Live and learn. Evaluate each fundraiser you undertake and make improvements for the next one. Speak to your chosen fundraising providers and ask their advice on how to maximise your next drive. Unfortunately fundraising is not a “one size fits all” scenario; every school and community is different so trial and error is often a frustrating reality. The concept of “learning as you go” couldn’t be truer when it comes to fundraising but if you do your research and talk through your plans with an expert, you’re on the road to success.