10 Tips for Effective Fundraisers

December 2013, Volume 37, Issue 4

School fundraising is a topic likely to elicit a variety of responses from principals. Some shrug it off as a responsibility of their school’s PTA or PTO. Others may chuckle at the memory of kissing a pig or shaving their head. Of course, some principals will probably grumble at the thought of activities that are perceived as annoying “fundraising noise” by parents, teachers, and the community.

Though principals may have conflicting feelings about fundraising, the vast majority agree that the results are worth the effort. This is especially true with opportunities such as the newly launched fundraising and reading program, Club Connect. Through this exclusive new partnership with NAESP and United Way, schools can raise funds and provide programs and resources for principals through the NAESP Foundation.

To maximize such a program, follow these fundraising tips collected from principals, parents, teachers, and fundraising professionals.

Set clear goals. Work with your PTA or PTO to establish a clear financial goal before evaluating products and programs. Knowing how much money you need to raise will help make these decisions easier.

Plan early. Select your primary fundraising program early to assure ample time for planning. If the school or community does not have a planning calendar, create one. Be sure all of your school’s fundraising events are included. Whenever possible, stagger fundraising activities to avoid competition among groups.

Identify the start and finish. Set specific beginning and ending dates for primary fundraising activities that happen only once during the year, and stick to them.

Rely on your fundraising professionals. Rely on your product fundraising professionals for suggestions and advice. They often know what other neighborhood schools and sports leagues are doing. Tapping this knowledge will help avoid going head to head against another school’s fundraiser.

Keep energy levels high. Communicate with parents, teachers, and volunteers before, during, and after the program, reminding them of the fundraiser’s goals and deadlines. Provide regular status reports and updates.

“Here’s what you missed.” Find ways to communicate with those who miss the program’s kick-off or other important meetings.

Remember to say “thanks!” Don’t forget to thank all your supporters. Let them know, when the new computers are installed or the new playground is ready to open, that it wouldn’t have been possible without their support.

Have fun! With the right approach, fundraising itself can bring ownership and pride to parents, teachers, and students.

This article is adapted from “Controlling Your School’s ‘Fundraising Noise’” by Jon Krueger.

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