How to make your kickoff exciting for your students
Fundraiser kickoffs are one of the most vital parts of your sales program because they gives you the opportunity to establish momentum by creating an exciting atmosphere and setting a positive tone.
The main purpose of the kickoff is to generate as much enthusiasm as possible for your cause. The more passionate your audience becomes, the more likely they'll want to participate in your fundraiser.
And developing sales momentum is the key to your success because you can continue to build on it throughout. The bottom line is, the more excitement you’re able to generate, the more money you'll end up making. Here are 5 key strategies that you will want to implement:
1. Talk About your Fundraiser before the Kickoff
Build hype before your sale to create awareness and suspense. A good example of this is the promotion that takes place before a movie comes out in the theaters. Because of creating public awareness, people look forward to the movie once it is released. The same thing applies to your school fundraising kickoff. You'll want to promote it to your students and parents. You can mention it during school announcements as well as at a parent meeting. Send ‘coming soon’ notes home with your students. Place it on your school marquee as well as on the school website. Plan a meeting with your teachers and staff to discuss your fundraiser goals and objectives. Remember to be creative and fun during your presale promotion as well.
2. The Excitement of a Big Audience is Contagious
The larger your student audience, the greater chance you’ll generate a high level of excitement during your kickoff. Your audience will feed off the high energy from their peers. Having everyone present gives you the opportunity to rally your entire organization. Remember you're working on this project together as a team. Nothing will show that more than to have everyone together. This excitement will create the momentum needed for a successful sale.
3. Plan the Right Setting for your Kickoff
Have your kickoff in a large room, like the school gym or cafeteria. You'll also need access to power for any technical equipment.
The Drawbacks to P.E. Kickoffs
Many schools schedule their kickoff during P.E. because they do not want to interrupt classroom time. The problem with this approach is that you're breaking up your audience as well as the energy that can be created with a larger group. Another issue is none of your teachers or administrators are usually present and so they become disassociated with the entire process. It is very important to gain their support and to have them involved as much as possible.
Lunch Kickoffs Never Work
Avoid using lunch time at all costs to have your kickoff because your audience will be distracted while eating. Plus, they'll be coming and going throughout the entire presentation. This will be a distraction for everyone involved. Also, if you plan to use your cafeteria for the kickoff, decide to have the tables out of the way beforehand to accommodate additional students. Don’t sacrifice having a successful kickoff just for the sake of convenience. An effective kickoff can often be completed in as little as 15-20 minutes.
4. Ask the Principal to Introduce your Fundraiser
Your students will respect your fundraiser more if someone they see as an authority figure is endorsing it. If you're unable to have the principal perform the introduction, have another key person to do it. You'll want them to wrap up the kickoff with some concluding remarks as well.
5. Foster an Exciting Kickoff Atmosphere
Play music at your kickoff
Arrange for a good stereo sound system and have popular radio-edited music already playing as students enter the kickoff area and then again when they leave.
Think Big and Loud
If you're showing a fundraiser kickoff video to help promote your fundraiser, you will want to show it on as large a screen as possible. Your audience will be more apt to be excited and awed by its presentation as a result. However, screen size won't matter unless everyone in the room can hear what's going on. Make sure your use a good sound system as well.
A successful school fundraiser kickoff is the result of thoughtful planning and implementation. What ideas do you have that can enhance a kickoff experience?
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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.