Fundraising assumptions you don't want to make
If anything, high school fundraising sponsors tend to overestimate their students selling capabilities. And no, we’re not attempting to insult their aptitude. But isn’t it tempting to want to just give high schoolers the benefit of the doubt and assume that they already understand the fundraising basics?
After all, they’re older now and should already be experienced sellers.
In reality though there’s a lot that they don’t know. Making the wrong assumptions can lead to missed opportunities to check for understanding and to shore up potential weaknesses that can end up negatively affect your sale.
1. The High School Fundraiser Purpose is Enough
Many high school sponsors give their students way too much credit when it comes to their level of commitment to fundraising. It’s not uncommon to have a sponsor explain to us during a phone call that their students don’t need to be incentivized to sell because they’re already committed and ready to tackle the group’s mission. Otherwise why would they elect to be a part of the group anyway?
As a result, it’s not uncommon to have sponsor’s attempt to trade the prize program in for additional profit percent. This strategy often backfires as incentives usually motivate students to sell more than how much is made off of each item. However, it’s important to use incentive plans that are geared more towards older students.
2. Older Students Already Know How to Sell
High school students are established pros when it comes to selling, right? Everyone knows that they’ve been doing fundraisers since they were in elementary school. True enough, however the selling process is much different now that they’re in high school. When students were young, all they really had to do was stand in front of a potential customer, smile and hand over the brochure and people would feel a sense of obligation to buy.
Yet, unlike their younger peers, in order for high school students to be successful, they need to know how to approach people in a professional manner. Presenting themselves and articulating their purpose is expected if they want to earn a sale. The kickoff meeting is a great opportunity to review the selling process and even practice a little role-playing.
3. High School Fundraisers Run Themselves
Gone are the days when sponsors could simply hand students their fundraiser materials and ask them to bring back the money. Shouldn’t this age group already know what’s expected of them? On the other hand, proactive high school fundraiser accountability is vital to group success. Most high school students tend to procrastinate and will almost always take the path of least resistance unless you’re constantly holding them accountable to working towards their seller goal.
Tracking fundraiser progress, while incorporating motivational incentives, has been found to work very well for many high school sponsors.