Schools, school groups and parent organizations all want to improve fundraising results. Done right, these programs provide a much-needed financial boost to enhance the educational experience. Each year, $1.4 billion worth of playgrounds, computers, field trips, uniforms, school supplies and activities are paid for by selling popular consumer items to raise money, according to the non-profit Association of Fund-Raising Distributors and Suppliers (AFRDS).
A persistent misconception is that major elements of the program should be changed year-to-year to heighten results. But fundraising experts advise that sometimes all you need is a tweak to see significant improvements next time. Here are some of the small, yet sometimes overlooked, ways to improve fundraising efforts as you head into the fall season.
Evaluate What Really Matters By Digging In
Meet with your fundraising committee to review the entire program and any notes taken along the way. Provide an overall report to the school principal in a brief meeting. And provide your fundraising company representative with your feedback.
Out With the Old and In With What Works
Cross off the list some of those other fundraising ideas that won’t be worth your group’s time and effort again next year. According to a survey of parent group leaders, product fundraisers consistently yield more profit than other programs and typically require fewer volunteers to pull off.. Perhaps more importantly, by eliminating extra fundraisers you lesson the likelihood of burnout and apathy among supporters and in the community.
Reward Achievements as Advertised
Present personal and group awards after the products have been delivered. Announce dollars earned, top sellers, and prizewinners. Display charts in classrooms or school halls to give students a sense of achievement in helping the school reach its goal.
After The Event, Don’t Forget About the Media
Remember to tell the local media about your success. Not only can you raise further awareness about the school’s fundraising efforts but you can garner the community’s support in future events. Tap a volunteer with good writing skills to craft a short press release (templates are available online). Or if you have a strong relationship with media local reporter or editor, send them an email or give them a call. Be sure to emphasize the goal of the fundraiser and thank key volunteers for their efforts.
Small adjustments to your fundraiser can go a long way toward improving results. Resist the urge to wrap up the program and move on to another project immediately. Like any other business project, it’s best to evaluate results and determine where to make positive changes for next time. Remember that your fundraising professional can help with this process too!