Learn why the kickoff is key and how to leverage it
There’s one thing that you absolutely have to get right about your fundraiser. It’s your kickoff assembly. Also known as the ‘launch’ or ‘start’ meeting, this is where you can make your best case about your sale to your students.
You may have searched far and wide for the best elementary school fundraising ideas. After an exhaustive search, you’ve found it. You have a product that you feel everyone can relate to. People are going to want to buy it.
The prizes are going to be even better than ever. Last year’s prize program was good, but not compared to what you have planned for this year. You’re even using a multi-tiered approach. Every student has a chance to win prizes from your main prize program.
You’ve also added more prizes, like top seller, and most sales made per grade. Even daily prizes are being included. This strategy will get a lot of students excited. Why? Because everyone will feel they can win something.
Parents, teachers, administration, even the community seems to be on board. They understand the mission and the goal. You’ve had a lot of positive feedback. People are eagerly anticipating the start to the fundraiser.
As a result, your hopeful. You expect a lot of sales over the next 2 weeks. You have a big goal and really need things to go well. The combination of a desirable product and exciting prizes are sure to get the job done.
To reach a loftier goal this year, you think you’ve answered the right questions. How are you going to get more students to participate? It’s going to be a challenge but to hit your target you also need to get each student to sell more.
But none of this matters as much as the kickoff assembly. Everything else is superfluous compared to your initial meeting with your students. You’ve done all the preliminary work. Now everyone needs to see the plan unfold. This is where you pull everything together and have it go off like clockwork. You’d better be prepared to hit it out of the park.
When it comes to elementary school fundraising, your students are your biggest asset. It's not the product or the prizes. Having your parents, teachers and community on board is also great. But here's the most critical question you need to ask.
Will your students be passionate enough to take your message home to their parents? And not only after the first day, but throughout the course of the sale. Without this connection between student and parent, you’ll have a lackluster sale. Your students will drive your sale. They'll be the ones to convince their parents to make sales every day.
For this to happen, the key is to deliver a good sales pitch. It’s not just what you say, but how you communicate it. Be confident and enthusiastic. This requires thinking through how you plan to convey information with your students. When preparing, here are 3 questions to get you started:
- What do students need to know about the fundraiser?
- In what order should I present the information?
- Are there more effective ways I can communicate certain points for greater impact?
There’s Nothing Like a Strong 1st Impression
We’re all familiar with the saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression”. This is so true, especially for elementary school fundraiser kickoffs. You only have one chance to impress your students. No pressure but there are no do-overs.
So when it comes to your kickoff, you’ve got to make the most of your opportunity. You’re not only a presenter, you’re an actor. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. No one wants to listen to someone with low energy speaking in monotone.
After you’ve created your presentation outline, rehearse it. Practice makes perfect so do it several times until it feels right. And be sure not to memorize your speech. This is a no-no. Rather, know your outline inside and out. It’s ok to cover each point a little differently each time you rehearse.
Also be sure to get feedback from other board members. This will ensure you don’t leave anything out that needs to be conveyed.
Your kickoff is the first opportunity to make your case to your students. Communicate what they need to hear, but in a way they can relate to it. The pressure is solely on you to create the sales momentum that you’ll need to succeed. Your kickoff assembly needs to come across like a professionally choreographed production.
Remember, your kickoff meeting will give you the foundation as well as set the tone for your success. So take the time to make it right.
Great Fundraiser Kickoffs Require Strategizing
“The devil is in the details”. To pull off an effective kickoff you need to think beyond the presentation. What’s going to lead up to your presentation and what comes after it? Here are some questions you need to answer before your big day:
- Who’s going to introduce the fundraiser? Consider having someone in authority, like the principal do it. When the principal’s involved it must be important.
- When do you plan to introduce the prize program? A good place for this will be at the end of the assembly.
- How should you close out your assembly? Ask the principal to come back up and give some closing remarks.
It’s a great idea to have a dress rehearsal prior to your kickoff as well. Allow plenty of time to set up and test any sound or video equipment.
More Elementary School Fundraising Ideas for Effective Kickoffs
Here are some extra fundraiser tips that can positively impact your kickoff:
- Have radio-edited music playing as students enter the assembly area.
- Speak with the principal in advance about introducing and closing out the assembly.
- If you’re showing a video, use as large a screen as possible.
- Make sure you have a good sound system that can be heard throughout the room. Things are going to get loud.
- Plan to have someone dim the lights before starting any video.
- Get interactive during your presentation. But be sure and ask students to raise their hands when you ask a question.
- If you plan to show your incentives, have them initially covered up on a table in the front. Bedsheets work great for this. But make sure their dark so no one can see what’s underneath.
- Reveal the prizes in an exciting way. Uncover them one at a time as you talk about them. This creates added expense.
- Don’t lose control. Be sure to rein students in after each exciting point. This way everyone can hear what happens next.
Don’t assume everyone will love your fundraiser just because of the prizes. If you want their support, you'll need to earn it.