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A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a School Fundraiser

By Clay Boggess on Sep 17, 2022
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A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a School Fundraiser

Our easy 5-step process to a successful school fundraising kickoff

Are you in charge of raising money for your school but don’t know anything about fundraising? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article shares a simple to remember 5-step process to starting a school fundraiser that reaches your goals. Consider this process your roadmap to success.

How to Start a School Fundraiser

Before beginning the 5-step process, we suggest forming a fundraising committee. This will be a small group of individuals, preferably with valuable skills and knowledge to contribute. Your committee will be in charge of planning and executing the campaign from start to finish.

Start early so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare before kicking off your raise. Everyone can work autonomously on separate assigned issues and then come together to report their findings to the group. The ultimate goal is to blend your individual areas of responsibility together into one cohesive fundraiser.

Step 1: Determine Your Cause

The first step is to clearly define your cause. Try to make it as specific as possible. For example, instead of stating that you need to raise capital to aid in covering general operating costs, state that you need to raise capital to aid in paying for a new school marquee to help get out valuable information and give your school an inviting and warm welcome at first sight.

Being as specific as possible when defining your cause helps you understand your goal, aids in determining your budget, and tells donors how their funds will be used. This statement should be honest and transparent and should be referred to when allocating funds after the raise.

Step 2: Set Your Financial Goal

Determine a realistic financial goal for your raise. This may require the help of your school accountant. Determine how much capital is required to reach your target from step one. Consider any other forms of revenue that may aid in your cause and any obstacles you may encounter along the way.

Once you know how much you need, consider what amount of capital is a realistic expectation for your selected fundraiser. You may reach your goal with one raise, or you may need to execute two campaigns such as a product fundraiser and a correlating event.

Understanding your financial goals helps you determine what type of fundraiser is best for you, how many campaigns you need to execute to reach your goal, and how to know when your fundraising is complete.

Step 3: Choose Your Fundraising Partner

You will likely work with a fundraising partner. A fundraising company manages most of the logistics of the fundraiser for you. They typically provide you with tools to plan, execute, and evaluate your raise. This may even include incentive prizes for registered participants.

Consider your wants and needs when choosing a fundraising company. Things to ask about include the level and ease of customer support, fees and upfront costs, diversity of campaign types, and the quality of products and services offered.

Step 4: Choose Your Campaign Method

The fundraising ideas to choose from are nearly endless. You can choose to host your fundraiser online, in person, or both. You can host a product fundraiser such as selling candy, food, merchandise, or coupon books. Alternatively, you can host an event such as a concert, an auction, a cookout, or a race. When determining your campaign method, consider what fundraiser best reflects your school’s culture, traditions, and values.

Think about what type of raise is most likely to help you reach your specific goals. Your goal may be to raise capital while also strengthening bonds in your community, in which case you may choose an event. Or, if your goal is to raise capital while boosting school morale, you may decide to sell custom school tumblers with your name, colors, and mascot.

Step 5: Market Your Campaign

The last step is to ensure people know about your campaign! Always use more than one avenue to market your raise. You can print flyers, promote on social media, or even ask for sponsorship from local businesses or local celebrities.

Get creative with your marketing strategies, and don’t forget to reach out to your community members for their support.

Once you have completed steps one through five, you are ready to start your school fundraiser! Are you looking for more advice as you kick off your raise? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter for school fundraising news, tips, and more.

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