4 Ideas for School Foundations to Raise Money Online

Learn how online fundraising can be more cost effective than traditional fundraisers.

Fundraising for schools can be a difficult and daunting task, regardless of whether the money raised will be used to enrich students’ basic education need or provide extra opportunities. And while bake sales, walk-a-thons, car washes and similar events can be effective ways to raise the money, parents and teachers are busy. Why not take advantage of an easier and more cost-effective way to raise the funds?

From 2015 to 2016, the amount of money raised online increased to make up 7.9% of total fundraising revenue. Though it is less concrete than an event, online fundraising is more cost effective, more targeted and easier to implement than traditional fundraising efforts.

If your school is not already embracing online fundraising, it needs to be. We’ve come up with four online fundraising ideas to get you started.

1. Annual fund campaign

One way you can allow a fundraising campaign to continue year-round is by creating an online annual fund campaign. Simply build a donation page off your website and encourage annual support from parents and the community. Define levels of giving and demonstrate how donors can impact the classroom by giving at each level.

Encourage monthly giving on this page of the school’s website. If parents commit to giving monthly, or even yearly, from when their child is in kindergarten until they graduate high school, the donations will quickly add up.

You may have different programs or funds you want donors to give to. If so, create gift designations for each school or program that needs money. Donating online makes it easy to capture a donor’s wishes electronically.

Get creative: Capture parents and supporters by kicking off your campaign at events such as the first of the year, “preview day,” and club meetings. Use mobile-friendly donation pages to take donation at the event or hand out cards that direct parents to the fundraiser page.

2. P2P campaign

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) uses the supporters of a cause to spread the word about it and raise money on your behalf. Thanks to supporters eager to tell their network of contacts about a cause they care about, this type of fundraising is efficient at reaching far. P2P and crowdfunding is a natural fit for school foundations. It is also a great idea for schools on a tight budget.

In a school setting, P2P could look like having teachers, students, parents, grandparents or classrooms create fundraising pages that raise money for a campaign.

Get creative: Have classrooms or students compete for prizes. Reward the fundraiser or classroom that raises the most money - pizza party, principal for a day, etc. Get admin staff involved – who doesn’t love stories of admin staff doing something fun like shaving their head when fundraising goals are met?

3. Event Registration

If your school does host fundraising events—such as annual galas, 5Ks, golf tournaments—try selling tickets online. Offer a discount if tickets are bought early and online. This makes it easy to register for the event and at the same time allows you to capture attendee information (such as email addresses) electronically. Use this to reach out to the potential donors with information about giving to your cause at a later date.

Get creative: Combine your events with a way to build morale in the school. Many school foundations do annual events called “Toast to the Teachers,” which honors your favorite staff member with a luncheon. Sell those tickets online.

4. Product sales

Many schools have products they sell each year to raise money, whether its coupon books, flowers, school spirit wear or candy bars. Why not sell them online? Create a simple online order form that allows the community to order their product online. Then, have orders picked up at the school to be sent home with students and distributed.

To simplify fundraising by avoiding upfront costs, Big Fundraising Ideas offers hundreds of product options your school could be selling to fundraise.

Bonus tip

No matter what you do, be sure to communicate your impact and show how the money raised will impact the school and its’ kids. After the gift don’t stop communicating – tell donors throughout the year how donations are bringing success to the classroom.

Guest Author Bio Ronald Pruitt, Author

Ronald Pruitt is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, an affordable and effective online fundraising platform for small to midsize nonprofits. Ronald has more than 20 years of experience helping nonprofit organizations create effective and results-driven e-commerce Web sites, sites that have raised millions of dollars for good causes from Maine to Hawaii. This extensive experience has made Ronald an expert in user-friendly online fundraising and understanding what drives donors to give online.

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