3 Grassroots School Fundraising Strategies

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Local school fundraising ideas

Grassroots fundraising ideas are characterized by their scope, personalized touch, and community-based needs.

Employ cost-efficient ideas to meet your fundraising goals

Millennial-driven fundraising has seen a resurgence of grassroots tactics that keep costs low and leverage the efficiency and connectivity of an extraordinarily social generation. While exposing a complex problem, this trend is good news for fundraisers and public entities that constantly contend with criticism of their overhead and costs of doing business and feel the pressure to do more with less.

In publicly funded institutions, such as schools, unallocated funds are a nonexistent luxury. This means that fundraising promotion and outreach often relies on the creativity and resourcefulness of students, parents and other community volunteers.

By providing quality products and brochures as part of a turnkey fundraising solution, we strive to take some of the guesswork and difficulty out of fundraising. In addition, we also like to pass along some of the best practices in our area of fundraising to help you reach new levels of success in your school fundraiser. Check out these three strategies to learn how to leverage grassroots fundraising for you next school fundraising program.

Fundraise at High Traffic Community Areas

Grassroots fundraising relies on being front and center in the community to overcome barriers to visibility and paid marketing tactics. Scarcely a summer Saturday goes by that you don’t see a group out at one of the major town intersections with creative signs advertising a car wash, pet wash or rummage sale.

While these might strike you as wholly unoriginal, community groups, including schools, still find them to be successful. Local grocers and other small businesses in busy strip malls are often eager to show their community support by allowing product fundraisers outside their places of business. Schools and other community groups have a momentarily captive audience, and as customers approach their table, curiosity lures more customers in to see what your cause is about.

Talk to local business owners about setting up shop on a Saturday with a group of students to help raise money for the local elementary, middle or high school. Let them know specifically what the fundraiser will help achieve, and tell them you’re looking for a chance to get students more engaged in the fundraising process. You can create eye-catching posters for less than $5, and use them for car washes, tabling and other community events over the course of the fundraiser. With some DIY advertising, a table, and some of our lauded brochure fundraising program materials, you have all you need to reach a large community audience for minimal cost.

Fundraise Through Personal Outreach

The most seasoned development experts will tell you that fundraising with those whom you have a personal relationship is one of the most consistently successful ways to raise more money. While these conversations can have their challenges—many folks are not keen on mixing philanthropy with friendships—those who know you best are more likely to support your personal goals.

Have a letter writing party with a couple of students and parents. Ask the students to produce handwritten letters that talk about their school’s goals for fundraising, and help them package envelopes to send out to a list of prospects made up of friends, family and coworkers. This personalized, direct mail strategy is one that many top organizations and community groups still rely on to connect with their community. In the digital communication generation, a handwritten letter has become so rare that it is almost guaranteed to grab attention in someone’s mailbox.

This grassroots fundraising strategy will give students a chance to flex their writing muscles, and can be an efficient way to reach large groups. Postage costs are likely to be the only barrier here, but if each student sends out 20 letters, you should be able to carry out this project for under $10 per person.

Fundraise Through Social Networks

Big Fundraising Ideas has an extensive guide on how you can leverage social media in your school fundraising tactics to reach new levels of money-raising success. Social media combines the best elements of the two strategies above, allowing you to reach those you know personally by meeting them at the intersections of their digital environment.

From pages to events to personal posts and messages, platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer you a robust and interactive way to get your message out there at virtually no cost. Indeed, these platforms have become the basis of ultra-successful peer-to-peer fundraising sites that make great use of visual media and personal connectivity.

Share photos, graphics and other fundraising promotional materials with a compelling call to action. Learn more about how to incorporate a comprehensive digital fundraising strategy into your next school fundraiser.

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