You don’t need a business degree to raise serious money for your child’s school. With a sound strategy, a little elbow grease, and some buy-in from fellow parents, fundraisers for schools aren’t so difficult to put together.
Whether you’re a seasoned fundraising hand or a first-time organizer, keep these five things in mind as you put together your next school fundraiser.
Recruit Students to the Cause
It’s their school, after all.
If you’re not yet sure what your fundraiser will actually fund, poll your kids’ friends and classmates. What needs do they identify: better classroom supplies or technology, a previously unscheduled field trip, a new class pet, or something else? There’s no right or wrong answer here — that’s kind of the point.
Once you’ve selected a fundraising target, recruit a network of little helpers. Your own brood is the most logical and reliable source, but you’ll want to see if their friends are up for a challenge too. Fundraising can be an educational experience, even for younger kids: a crash course in basic business and sales practices.
Talk to Parents With Relevant Fundraising Experience
Before you begin fundraising in earnest, talk to parents who know more about it than you (if you can find any). They’ll clue you into fundraising strategies that might not have occurred to you, and caution against rookie mistakes that could lead to duplicated effort.
Poll Friends & Acquaintances for Fundraiser Ideas
When it comes to school fundraisers, fundraising products make all the difference. Narrow your choices down to a handful of options that you suspect will appeal to parents and kids in your community, then poll your friends and acquaintances to determine the best fit. Think of this as the “market research” phase of your fundraising effort.
Choose a High-Visibility Home Base
You don’t have to do all of your fundraising in a single location — and you probably shouldn’t. But it helps to have a visible presence, such as a table outside your school’s gymnasium or main entrance, or a stall next to your neighborhood’s busiest grocery store (with the store manager’s permission, of course).
Spread the Word Far and Wide
Publicize your fundraiser early and often. Make the benefits clear to the parents and community members to whom you’ll be marketing your products. For instance, if you’re raising money to subsidize a school field trip or classroom equipment, figure out how much each parent stands to save on out-of-pocket costs. Use visuals and multimedia — charts, videos, brochures — to make your case.
Fundraisers for Every Occasion
Your kids’ school isn’t the only institution worthy of your fundraising talents. Think about the other organizations that matter to your family: intramural or club sports teams, charitable organizations, community groups, houses of worship, and so on.
Fundraising for these organizations isn’t so different from raising money for educational and extracurricular causes. Once you’ve put your first school fundraiser behind you and internalized any lessons learned, why not put your experience to good use on a more ambitious initiative? When you go all-in on a fundraising goal, anything is possible.