Sticky space

The 12 Dos and Don’ts of Fundraising for Schools

By Clay Boggess on Sep 2, 2023
Fundraising for Schools

A Guide to Successful School Fundraising.

Schools frequently raise funds for a myriad of reasons. Doing it right is critical as it may reward you with more funds for less work in the long run. In this article, we examine six dos and six don'ts of fundraising for schools. We'll then cover a few commonly asked school fundraising questions. Let's dive in.

School Fundraising: What to Do

The following is a list of what to do when raising funds. Follow these recommendations to ensure a successful fundraising campaign.

1. Form A Committee

The first step of fundraising is forming a fundraising committee. A fundraising committee comprises well-rounded volunteers who plan, execute, and evaluate the fundraising process. The group is best when committee members are well-rounded, as this will offer various skills and backgrounds. Roles include a manager/president, an accountant, a communications liaison, a marketer, an operations manager, and a volunteer coordinator.

2. Plan Your Raise

Planning is crucial to school fundraising success. School fundraiser planning includes goal setting, choosing the type of fundraiser, setting fundraising dates, recruiting volunteers and participants, determining the best way to execute the fundraiser, and choosing rewards and prizes.

3. Market Your Raise

Marketing your raise makes a difference in terms of your end profit. The more people know about your fundraiser, the more people can donate. Let's put it this way: you can't give if you don't know there is a need. Hang fliers, directly contact your network, and post on social media. Do whatever it takes to get the word out there!

4. Incentivize Participants

Strong participation is essential when it comes to school fundraising. It is in your best interest to incentivize students to participate and to encourage them to give it their all. A great way to incentivize students is with a reward. Prize programs, parties, school dances, and no homework days are all great options.

5. Thank Your Donors

Encourage recurring giving by showing your gratitude and appreciation for the donations and help you receive. Thank donors and volunteers by sending letters, gift packages, or with an honorable mention at your next school event.

6. Evaluate The Outcome

Continually evaluate the outcome of your fundraiser, providing you with the information you need to do even better the next time. Consider what went well and what could have been better. Collect the data and review it during the planning phase of your next fundraiser.

School Fundraising: What Not to Do

Avoid the following pitfalls when planning and executing your school fundraiser.

1. Fundraise Last Minute

Don't wait until the last minute to fundraise. Campaigning is a process, and it takes time. You must plan, recruit, execute, and collect and process donations. BFI recommends planning three to six months before your fundraising start date.

2. Not Set Goals

Setting goals gives your fundraiser direction, tells donors the extent of your need, gives participants something to shoot for, and assists you in evaluating the outcome of your sale. Be sure to set a goal that is challenging yet within reach. We recommend SMART fundraising goals when planning your school fundraiser.

3. Leave Out Parents, Alum, Faculty, or Community Members

Students aren't your only option for participants. Alum, parents, faculty, local businesses, and even community members can get in on the action. The higher your participation rate, the better your return. Don't limit your raise by leaving these key players out.

4. Limit Your Sales Channels

Another way to accidentally limit your raise is by taking advantage of only some sales channels available. There is a wealth of ways to accept donations, and each donor will have their personal preference; therefore, the more channels available to your donors, the better. Channels include in-person solicitations, online donation pages, social media donations, text-to-give, and gifts-in-kind.

5. Skimp On Your Fundraising Story

Don't skimp on your fundraising story. Your fundraising narrative tells the potential donors who you are and why you need their help, allowing the potential donor to relate to you and your cause and, therefore, want to give. Include real anecdotes in your fundraising story to add sentiment and further help the potential donor relate to the beneficiaries of your raise- the students.

6. Consider It Done

Your fundraiser isn't over when the campaign ends. You have two critical steps left: thanking your donors and participants and evaluating your raise. After that? Start the planning process for your next raise three to six months out! The fundraising process is constant and revolving. Don't consider it done because the funds are in.

School Fundraising FAQs

Below, we answer a few commonly asked school fundraising questions.

Why Do Schools Fundraise?

Schools fundraise to gain the capital needed to better their students' education and recreation experience. Groups use funds to buy materials and equipment, hire speakers and workshop leaders, take field trips, host dances and other school events, and more.

When Should Schools Fundraise?

School fundraising is a year-round task. Planning, executing, and evaluating school fundraisers is an ongoing commitment that genuinely never ends so long as there is a need for funds. That said, we recommend four fundraisers per year or one per season.

What Types of Fundraisers Are Good for Schools?

Types of school fundraisers vary greatly, and the right fundraiser for your school depends on your preferences, needs, and capabilities. Types of school fundraisers include food sales, product sales, events, virtual fundraisers, text-to-give campaigns, social media campaigns, and more.

Are you interested in more school fundraising tips and advice? Dive in monthly by subscribing to our free newsletter, where we share fundraising best practices, ideas, and more.

Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.

Join the discussion