Are More School Fundraisers Always Better?

Many groups feel that additional school fundraisers will bring in extra money. Even if they plan ahead and spread their sales out over the course of the school year, is this a good strategy? In other words, can schools still reach their goals by having fewer sales?

On paper, if you need to raise a lot of money, it makes sense to have as many sales as necessary. Yet this approach may not always be a good idea.

Here are some reasons why having more sales is not always better:

The Disadvantages of Multiple Fundraisers

Consider the disadvantages to having multiple sales over time:

  • Follow-up campaigns usually never work out as well as the first.
  • If your first sale was ineffective, chances are your second one will be even less effective.
  • Multiple campaigns sometimes force people to pick and choose which one they will participate in.
  • Over saturating the community becomes a problem, especially when other groups are out selling as well.

Crisis-Management Fundraising

Most of the time, schools will have a follow-up sale only if their first one wasn't as successful as they had hoped. Most people don't respond well to crisis-management fundraising, even if told it might happen in advance. Who's going to be eager to sell again after the first one was unsuccessful? Plus, if people know there might be an additional sale, they may choose not to participate in one, or even both. This strategy communicates a lack of confidence in both you as well as your sellers.

The Exception to Multiple Sales Campaigns

In some cases groups will need to have additional sales. Some exceptions where this may be ok are when:

  • Everyone knows in advance about a larger goal that cannot be accomplished with one program.
  • The group has done a good job promoting their goal and gathering support and enthusiasm.

Most of the time, it's best to limit your selling to one or two school fundraisers per year. Communicate that up front with your supporters and stick with it, no matter what your results are. More people will embrace your efforts to raise money if they know in advance that you'll stick to a limited number. To ensure that you can reach your goals with fewer programs, you'll be better off with good planning and effective promotion anyway.

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