High School Fundraising Ideas that Actually Work

Your ultimate guide to a successful high school fundraiser

Why do some high school groups succeed while others fail? There are those who believe that it’s a feeling they get when they add up the numbers. If they raise a certain dollar amount they feel good. “Wow, this feels like a lot of money”. We made more than we thought we would. This now means our group can experience some of the things we were hoping to do.

Others are convinced that they’re successful only if they reach a measurable goal. So who’s right? Actually, both are. To fully experience success we need to be able to reward ourselves by enjoying the fruits of our labor. Both philosophies must work together. The most effective high school fundraising ideas incorporate goals and passion. Enthusiasm is what leads to the goal.

One thing is for sure. Success doesn’t typically happen by accident. Is the group who feels good about how much they made surprised? Sure, but that’s bound to happen. Goals are “accidentally” exceeded for various reasons. For instance, there may have been a “runaway” product in a brochure that no one anticipated.

But while desire and enthusiasm are important, setting goals are essential. Too many groups put all their hopes in a product or prize program. If the product is appealing, more people will buy it. Or, if we offer a great incentive plan to our students, more will sell. Both the product and prize program are essential. No one’s arguing that.

Yet there are other vital components that groups are leaving out. There are reasons many become disappointed in their results. Even those who didn’t set a goal know when they fail. Some become frustrated and conclude that their efforts were a waste of time.

Success isn’t just feeling bad about a low number and rejoicing about a higher number. The real question is, did you actually have a number before you started?

High school student fundraising objections can also be uniquely challenging. By this age, many claim to be tired of selling, or are busy with other commitments. Or they’ve convinced themselves that selling is not worth the effort.

But there is some good news. Hurdles like these aren't impossible to overcome. To get the results you want, sponsors need to do 3 things:

  1. Convince students on the why
  2. Equip them with the necessary tools
  3. Motivate them to take action

1.Engage Your Students in the Cause

You may know why you need the money, but does your group? You can tell them but knowing why is not enough. Students should believe in your cause as much as you do. They need to feel compelled to get involved.

So why are you raising money and what thought have you put into how you’ll achieve your goal? Will your students understand why they need to take action? Every group needs money. Why should they put in the effort to sell for your organization?

If you give this little thought then so will your students. But, if you take the time to prepare beforehand, you'll probably make a better case. The more persuasive you are, the more convinced your students will be. A strong purpose is the foundation for every successful sale.

It's important to know what you're up against. You're competing against many other distractions and commitments in a student’s life. What do you need to do is make your high school fundraiser compelling to them.

Another way to help them appreciate your mission is to have them comprehend the numbers. Tell your students what it’s going to take to achieve their sales goal.

Beyond the why, high school students need to grasp what it’s going to take to reach a specific fundraising goal. Once they appreciate that, they’ll be more apt to internalize the cause.

When students know the numbers they then take more ownership in the fundraiser. This is powerful because they’ll understand what they have to do to achieve your objective.

Ultimately, they need to be able to answer the question, "What's in it for me?"

Learn how you exceed your high school fundraising goal

2. Take the Time to Prepare Your Students

This sounds logical. High school students should already know what to do right? They’ve got lots of selling under their belt. It’s not enough to simply hand out the sales brochures and then tell them to bring back the money on the due date.

This is a common mistake. Don’t assume that because you're dealing with older high school students, they'll know what to do. Do they understand the process? How much does each student need to sell? What are the registration steps required for online fundraising?

You also need to ensure that you students are well equipped to sell. Do they have the tools needed to be effective? Here are 2 powerful ways to better equip your students to bring in more money:

  1. Make a Buyer Prospect List: Help your students plan who they should approach first.
  2. Use the NOW Selling Method: Provide an easy way to ask for the sale.

Students are much more likely to take part if they know what's expected of them. Thus, be sure to take the time to sit down with your students and provide them with an effective roadmap.

3. High School Fundraising Ideas that Motivate

So how else can you get your students off the fence? Provide some effective external incentives. To do this you need to understand what motivates your group. For most high school students a monetary incentive serves as a powerful influencer.

You may think your cause is enough but you have nothing to lose. Many companies provide free fundraiser prize programs. Plus, you can always add in your own rewards. This is where you can get creative by leveraging your group. For example, sell 5 items by tomorrow and you don't have to put equipment away after practice.

These types of incentives usually don't cost you anything, other than a little extra time. And perhaps the best thing is that prizes can also help make selling fun.

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