Overcome potential obstacles by developing a straightforward high school fundraiser strategy that works
Reaching your high school fundraiser goal is a result of good preparation, rolling out your plan to your students, and constant seller follow-up and accountability. To be successful, you’ll need to establish a strong foundation at your kickoff meeting and then maintain the sales momentum that you create.
But let’s be honest. You’re busy and don’t have a lot of extra time. You want to raise money without having to put in a lot of effort. Regardless, the last thing you want is a fundraiser that doesn’t get you the results you need so plan carefully.
High school fundraising definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages, your students are capable of having a much deeper understanding of the cause and what’s required to reach their sales goals than their younger peers. This can translate into a stronger commitment. They also tend to be more invested in their group’s endeavors. They weren’t forced to join your group, they chose to.
The disadvantages? Like you, your students are juggling a busy schedule. They face many challenges, including social pressures, dealing with potential home and family issues, and tougher academic schedules. The Princeton Review also found that too much homework was a contributor to stress and a general lack of balance.
Now try to add a fundraiser to their schedule and you can see that you have a daunting task ahead of you. It’s not going to be easy, but it can be done.
Regardless of the hurdles that you and your students are facing, here are 3 important high school fundraising tips that can help you get the most of your sale.
1. Have a Specific Fundraising Purpose
The foundation of your sale is your fundraising purpose. The more compelling it is, the easier it will be to win over your students, and for that matter your supporters. You need to have buy-in from your students.
For example, a high school baseball coach may want to invest in a new pitching machine that throws different types of pitches. His goal is to make his players into better hitters. Becoming better at recognizing and squaring up on a curve ball requires that the players be exposed to it more often.
If the coach has done a good job of convincing his players that the pitching machine will provide them with the repetition they need, they’ll see the value in getting the pitching machine. They’ll be especially motivated if it helps them improve their batting average.
Yet some groups have trouble defining their purpose. Many of our high school sponsors will reply that they’re raising money for the “general fund” when we ask them what they’re raising money for. This may be practical, but it’s not compelling. Rather your purpose should be better defined.
2. Define your Fundraising Goals
Once you’ve got your students to buy into your purpose, they’ll need to understand what it’s going to take to achieve it. This is their roadmap.
At your kickoff meeting, don’t just hand out your fundraising materials and tell your students to “sell as much as they can”. To be successful, your students need to know what you expect them to do. Let them know exactly how many sales they'll need to make. But only after they’re sold on your purpose.
Let’s say that our baseball coach has determined that a new pitching machine that throws multiple types of pitches is going to cost $2,500. If he has 25 players in his program, each player is going to need to raise $100.
He’s decided to sell school tumblers that retail for $25 each. Since the team is making $10 profit on each tumbler, that means that each player will need to sell 10.
3. Track Student Progress
You will need to tell them up front that you’ll be tracking their progress. Your students know how much selling is required, but do they know that you’re going to be tracking their progress? You should therefore plan to have 3 follow up meetings.
The typical brochure fundraiser is 2 weeks long. If 10 items is your end goal, How much do you expect your students to sell by the first day? A good number to aim for is 3 items. Ask your students to bring their order forms and money collection envelopes for you to check. This will help ensure that everyone has gotten off to the right start.
Keep in mind that they may not have the money collected for all 3 sales, but you can expect them to have the money collected for at least the first or second sale. Often times they’ll need to go back and collect money from a few people before the end of the sale. It’s a good idea to continuously reinforce the collection of money with the order.
Where do you expect them to be at the halfway point? At this point, your sellers should be at least half-way towards their 10 item goal. Perhaps setting a mid-sale goal at 7 items will ensure that they’re that much closer to the end goal. In reality, most selling takes place within the first 3-4 days. Some may have even reached the goal. Encourage everyone to keep selling no matter how many items they’ve sold.
Each time you meet with your students you’re reminding them what the next meeting’s goal is. So everyone already knows that 10 items will be expected on the last check in day. This is when all money and order forms will be turned in.
Prior to your end date, you'll want to continuously remind your students about your deadline date for turning in order forms and money. Everyone should be expected to at least reach the goal.
In addition to tracking sales progress, many sponsors use their check-in days as an opportunity to turn in money that's been collected so far. We also recommend incorporating additional incentives that are designed to bring in even more sales.
Unfortunately, there's no easy road to high school fundraising success. But if you’re looking for a sure thing, these 3 sales tips can go a long way towards helping you get there.