Level Up Your Back-to-School Fundraising Game

School’s in session and you’ve got so much to do, but never enough budget. That means it’s time to fundraise! Fear not because we have five tips to secure your fundraising success.

  1. Know your audience

Your first big decision is what types of fundraisers will get your audience excited – both to run and to fund. In a school setting, often you’ll find enthusiastic supporters who fall into two categories:

  • Those who have available time to contribute, but not a lot of cash. These wonderful souls make awesome volunteers and organizers.
  • Those with cash to contribute, but not a lot of time. Depend on this crew for the financial windfall you need.

Make sure your fundraising approach leverages each type of champion in the right proportions given your school community.

     2. Be an awesome storyteller

No matter what stage you’re in – whether pitching a fundraiser idea to your board, seeking volunteers to run it, recruiting sponsors to back it or soliciting family participation – storytelling is key. For example, in a school that needs new playground equipment, visuals and videos are more likely to motivate action than simply asking for $50,000. Why not show a before/after of the old equipment versus the new proposal so that people can imagine how exciting recess will become? Even better, film kids talking about what new equipment they’d love to see and how they’d use it. At every turn, bring the dollars you’re seeking to life (preferably using cute kids!) to show the impact of the money you need.

      3. Pick fundraisers that fit with your school’s values and needs

No matter what type fundraiser you select, make sure it feels like an easy extension of your school community’s values and needs. For example, if your school wants to raise money to stock the shelves of your on-site food pantry, a food-related approach – whether a food drive, partnership with a restaurant or a bakeoff – would be a great fit.  On the other hand, a wrapping paper sale or a wine raffle probably wouldn’t land quite as well.

      4. Understand the financials

Before you settle on a fundraiser, consider what it will take to execute, what you’ll get in return and whether the work and risk involved is worth it. The best fundraiser for you meets your unique requirements for time, effort and resources, while also delivering the dollars your budget demands. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating fundraiser types:

  • How much money do you need to invest upfront? If you need to purchase or rent supplies, space, labor, food or other equipment, do you have access to that amount?
  • What is the risk you won’t earn your investment back? If not enough people participate or your fundraiser is canceled for any reason, will you end up worse off than before you started?
  • Are your assumptions about family involvement realistic? How many families must sell something, buy something or donate something for your fundraiser to pay off?


      5. Look for win/win fundraisers

While we like to think a “warm fuzzy” is enough to motivate people to participate, the most successful fundraisers drive a strong “what’s in it for me” for all those involved in supporting you – including donors, volunteers, sponsors and patrons. When your school receives cash, make sure those who gift it get something compelling in return. Some examples include:

  • A great deal or discount on products and services people genuinely want and need
  • Access to an amazing or exclusive experience
  • A tangible and clear community-wide benefit

For more great insights, including our efficient and FREE fundraising approach, download our guide – 10 Minutes a Day to Your First $10k. Good luck on your path to fundraising nirvana! Drop us a line anytime with questions: hello@generopolis.com.

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