Your guide to developing a cohesive fundraising team.
Forming a school fundraising committee is often overlooked when launching a campaign. However, it is a crucial first step in the fundraising process. The committee is responsible for planning the fundraiser and therefore is a major factor in whether or not the campaign succeeds. This article is a guide to building a solid fundraising committee. We discuss committee roles and responsibilities, when to form a committee, and who to recruit to fill the necessary positions.
What Is a School Fundraising Committee?
A school fundraiser committee manages the entire campaign process. They plan, execute, and review fundraising results. Examples of tasks a fundraising committee may complete include:
- brainstorming fundraising ideas
- setting expense budgets
- overseeing event logistics
- recruiting volunteers
- incentivizing participants
- analyzing results to determine if the campaign was successful and how to proceed best.
The committee is made up of individuals who are interested in the school's well-being and the campaign's specific goals. They are typically volunteers; however, in rare cases, they may receive a stipend for their help.
School Fundraising Committee Roles
There are several possible roles on a fundraising committee. It would be best if you aimed to fill the following positions. If you can't, delegate tasks to committee members to ensure all aspects of the fundraising process are managed.
The manager oversees the committee. The manager may be in charge of recruiting committee members. This role delegates tasks and generally schedules and leads meetings. This individual should have a background in business management, be organized, and be skilled in speaking to groups.
The accountant acts as a bookkeeper for the campaign. They set budgets, manage expenses, and track incoming revenue from sales and donations. This role reports if the fundraiser is financially successful. The accountant should have bookkeeping and money management skills, be organized, and have experience with data logging platforms.
The marketing coordinator is in charge of advertising the campaign. They are responsible for strategizing the marketing tactics, including the methods and theme. For example, they may use social media, an email blast, and flyers. The individual recruited for this role should have marketing, advertising, or branding experience, be creative, and be a self-starter.
The logistics manager ensures the campaign rolls out smoothly and handles all aspects of operations. This may include overseeing event set-up and tear-down or managing the ordering and delivery of products. This individual typically has a business background, the ability to see the big picture, and effective problem-solving skills.
Volunteer and Participant Coordinator
The volunteer and participant coordinator is responsible for all individuals participating and helping in the campaign. Their duties include recruiting and managing volunteers and recruiting, managing, and incentivizing participants. The individual in this role should have strong leadership and communication skills. They should be organized and available to assist those involved in the fundraising process.
The communications coordinator handles all other forms of communication. This includes emails, newsletters, requests for sponsorship from local businesses, and donor thank-you letters. They may also write the fundraising narrative for the marketing campaign. This role keeps all parties informed and involved. This individual should have strong communication and writing skills, be creative, and have a professional demeanor.
When to Form a Fundraising Committee
Forming a fundraising committee is the first step in launching your campaign. It is recommended that the committee's first meeting is at least six months before the fundraiser launches. This ensures ample time to plan each aspect and step of the campaign carefully. Forming the committee may take weeks to months, depending on your recruitment pool.
Take, for example, a holiday fundraiser planned to launch in December. The fundraising committee should begin work in July, meaning the recruitment process should start mid-May or early June.
Recruiting Your Committee
Who fills the roles on the fundraising committee? The committee is typically volunteer-based, and members can be recruited from various stakeholder groups. School stakeholder groups include:
- school board members
- community members
- local business professionals
Send an email, a letter, or ask them in person. Explain why you are launching your campaign, your goals, and how they can help. Remember that it is best to maintain one committee for all ongoing campaigns. Inform recruits that you prefer a long-term commitment.
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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.