Fundraising Tips > School Fundraiser Checklist
School Fundraiser Checklist --
Don't Forget These Essentials
By Jennifer Lawton
Are you planning a school fundraiser? Many schools have at least one or two "big" fundraisers
every year to help support their school, if not other special fundraisers for
activities or special projects. There are so many different fundraisers you
can choose from -- from doing a school fair to selling a product to holding
a dinner dance. But with every fundraiser it comes down to the basics: getting
everyone organized and ready for success. Here is a simple checklist to help
strategize your school fundraiser to be simply terrific!
1. Plan early and plan ahead
When you give yourself (and your school) additional time to work on your project,
you are helping to encourage more volunteers to come forward, time to find
more sponsors, time for more creative thinking and just more time to find any
challenges that may exist in your school fundraiser. Finding event sponsors
will help you save money, but sometimes this takes extra time. Event sponsors
also tend to step forward when they see that an event is popular in the community.
So that extra time could mean more event sponsors for you.
The ideal time to start planning next year's fundraiser is literally the week
after the event is over. That might be tough, but at least hold a brainstorming
meeting to talk about what worked and what didn't so you can overcome those
challenges for next year. Write down everything and type up your notes
and recommendations for the next chairperson. They will thank you for
2. Go with what's popular
Fundraising is essentially a team sport, not an individual one. It is important
that you look for fundraising ideas that everyone is going to get excited about
and want to jump on the bandwagon. This is not to say that a unique idea isn't
welcomed -- sometimes a unique idea is just what the doctor ordered! But listen
to parents, teachers, the principal and encourage your committee and others
in your school to voice their opinions about fundraising ideas. People in your
community will want to support your school, give them a terrific fundraiser
that helps to raise the energy high and gets people excited.
3. Develop your winning team
You can't go this alone for successful results. To fundraise for your school,
a team of volunteers is needed to form a committee for your event or fundraising
project. Invite your Board Members or School Staff to join in on the project.
Be sure to ask everyone, not just the "usual suspects". Some fresh
voices and new energy could be just what your fundraising project or event
needs to go over the top and raise more than you ever expected.
4. Motivate every volunteer
Your volunteers should feel positive, enthusiastic and energized about their
role in the fundraiser for the school. Every volunteer is needed and appreciated
and should be thanked for their service on a regular basis. Encourage volunteers
to come forward to do tasks they want to do for the fundraiser and motivate
them to take-charge of what interests them and needs to be done.
Don't micro-manage your volunteers, but offer them positive leadership that
they know is available as a resource for the project. Place volunteer leaders
in those positions that have excellent communication skills, as a volunteer
who can communicate with everyone will most likely help to keep a team motivated.
A motivated team succeeds.
5. Pay attention to the numbers
Sometimes when doing a school fundraiser, a group can wind up with a seeing
the "forest but not the trees" mentality. Your budget is crucial,
what you can afford to spend on the fundraiser and what you need to raise.
The budget needs to be in full focus at all times. The primary reason to do
the fundraiser is to raise funds, so the budget must be considered with every
choice that you make.
When deciding to use a paid vendor for your project always get several estimates
to select from, as even getting an estimate from another vendor may encourage
your original choice to give you a lower price for your fundraiser. Paying
attention to your budget all the time will help you stay on target, and will
keep your event a fundraiser instead of putting your school in the red for
an event that should have been monitored better.
6. Seek publicity
Every event needs publicity to help get the community involved and to encourage
potential sponsors, more volunteers and other relationships. Contact your local
newspaper, magazines, cable television and radio stations. The media will typically
need at least several weeks’ notice to cover an event as they get many
press releases. Getting pre-event publicity is the most important as this will
help your event get more attention and may help you raise more funds. This
is also the perfect time to thank your event or project sponsors and volunteers.
7. Say "Thank You"
When your fundraiser is completed it is important to say "thank you" to
everyone involved. A handwritten thank you note or a personal telephone call
goes a long way. Being recognized for hard work makes people want to give again
to your projects when another important project for your school comes up again.
Remember to also thank your event or project sponsors and advertisers.
About the Author: Jennifer Lawton searches for fun and creative
fundraisers that parents, teachers and students will enjoy. She is a frequent
writer for SuperFundraiser.com a
site that provides customized fundraising programs for schools, sports
teams and other youth groups.