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Put Integrity Back in School Fundraising Programs

By Clay Boggess on Jan 26, 2012
Put Integrity Back in School Fundraising Programs

Simple tips that ensure your sale is integrity-proof.

School fundraising programs shouldn't just be about the money. How you carry it out is just as important, especially if you want to have a chance to keep your current customers happy while reaching out to new prospects.

Reputation is everything; word travels fast, whether positive or negative. Even if your first sale goes well, if your program doesn't follow proper ethics, your initial success will probably be short-lived.

Here are some ways to help ensure a good reputation and continued growth and success in the future.

Give Advanced Notice about your Fundraiser

There are few things worse than students coming home with unexpected fundraiser packets. Tell your parents about your sale beforehand, like at a back-to-school meeting or in a letter. This is also a good time to communicate your purpose and how much each student will be asked to sell. You'll be better off extending the courtesy of informing your parents beforehand. Plus, you can create anticipation and excitement by advertising your sale in advance.

If you work with high school students, let them know from the beginning that they'll be expected to help the group raise money.

Set a Limit on Fundraising Programs

If you have a history of doing several sales over the school year, you're probably not getting as good of a response as possible. At best, parents are probably forced to decide which of your sales they will participate in. You're better off limiting your programs to 1 or 2 over the school year.

Promise your parents that you'll keep your word, no matter what. If you reach your financial goal with the first sale, don't plan additional fundraising. If you fall short on the first one, you will have a second one to fall back on. If you ultimately fall short, everyone will have to learn to accept it or be willing to open up their checkbooks. Make sure this is communicated from the start.

Keep Your Word on a Promise

Sponsors offer incentives so students will hopefully sell more, and they can at least recoup their initial investment. But occasionally, fundraisers don't go as well as hoped; however, a few students may have sold more to get the additional incentive. If you promise an activity or special prize, stick with it, regardless of your budget.

Unfortunately, some schools make promises and don't carry them out to their students. This is a setup for failure because your students and parents will lose faith and won't work as hard on your next campaign. Worse, students will probably spread the word about what happened. So even if you don't raise enough money to cover what you agreed to do, find the money somewhere. You always have the option of not offering it again.

Improve fundraising sales without using money.

Enforce Fundraising Courtesy with others

Because your sellers are out in the community, ensure they're polite regardless of the response they receive from a potential supporter. Tell your students to introduce themselves and why they are selling before showing their brochures.

By valuing integrity as much as success, you'll help ensure school fundraising programs have a strong future. For an additional resource on planning ideas for your next campaign, download our free fundraising tips eBook from our school fundraising tips page.

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Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

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.

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