Ensure school fundraising success with these top tips and tricks
Schools across the country love raising money online – it keeps kids safer, requires no product delivery, and minimizes the spread of COVID-19. With options like popcorn, cookie dough, candles, wrapping paper, customizable gifts, and more, every school group can find a unique offering that matches their taste.
By using the best online fundraising ideas, schools have achieved incredible success with their online product sales. For instance, one small PTO group in Massachusetts raised almost $9,000. Another even smaller youth football club in New York raised almost $15,000 selling cookie dough online. One board member commented that the product sold itself and is a “no brainer for easy fundraising.”
Want to raise a lot of money like these groups? Use these top 4 tips on fundraising to meet your goals:
1. Successful fundraising begins with a plan.
Planning is the key to a successful fundraiser, especially online product sales. Both novice and experienced student fundraisers need guidance on who to solicit and how to ask for money.
For example, helping students to develop a prospecting list can jump start sales. Parents should brainstorm with their children on who they can reach out to, where they will track interactions, and how they will determine success. Our online student dashboards can help them do all of these things.
With online fundraisers, students don’t need to consider the logistics of making an in-person ask or physically delivering purchases. Ask students to think of the safe adults they interact with regularly, either virtually or in-person. They can even go beyond the obvious family members and close family friends. What about the minister, out of town relatives, parents’ coworkers, troop leader, neighbor, babysitter, or business owners?
With this prospecting list, students can refer to a detailed “cheat sheet” that provides clear, tangible steps to get started.
2. Set achievable goals.
Setting goals allows your team to decide if the fundraiser was a success. Involve your students in the goal setting process to encourage a sense of accomplishment, ownership, and impact.
Start by calculating expenses and income with your students using an expense worksheet tool. Outline the expenses that your group hopes to cover with the fundraiser. For instance, a sports team’s budget for 10 youth could include:
|Item||Group Cost||Student Cost|
Looking at this chart, students can easily understand that raising $400 each will cover all their team expenses for the season. Falling short of their overall goal could mean forfeiting a tournament that requires travel or fixing and reusing broken equipment from last year.
After setting a total fundraising goal, you can develop specific targets for each participant. For a fundraiser like ‘Cookie Dough Online’, the numbers could look like this:
Say the average retail price of your online store items is $18 and the group keeps 40%. The profit made off each item would therefore be a little over $7. $400 ÷ $7 = 57 items each (Consider rounding the goal up to an even 60).
Keep in mind that reaching a goal like this may require more than one fundraiser, and that’s ok as long as you have the time. That’s why planning ahead is important.
3. Track your product sales.
Tracking virtual sales is easy with online sales dashboards. Sponsors can track the entire group and students can know instantly how many sales they’ve made and how close they are to their individual goal.
Sponsors can even know if they’re on-track with in-person brochure sales well before students turn in their order forms by using a product sales tracking form.
Regularly check on student progress and keep an updated master form to stay ahead of the game. Consider ways to boost student involvement if needed or continue what’s working by referring to the actual data.
Make the progress towards your fundraising goals transparent and accessible to all students in the group. Use an online tool like Sumac, post updates on your team’s social media pages, or use a paper fundraising thermometer displayed in the locker room.
4. Motivate students with prize programs.
"The Big Event Super Splash Party was excellent! It motivated those students who did not previously participate to get out and sell,” exclaimed Sonia Longoria, Fundraising Chair for Leal Elementary. By using an epic incentive, like a 2-hour inflatable water party, students get excited to sell.
Big Fundraising Ideas has a ton of free prize programs for every age and hobby. When students realize they can get something exciting by putting in the effort, participation skyrockets.