Put Integrity Back in School Fundraising Programs

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 and word travels fast regardless of whether it’s 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 into the future.

Give Advanced Notice about your Fundraiser

There are few things worse than students coming home with unexpected fundraiser packets. Let your parents know about your sale ahead of time, 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 is going to be asked to sell. You'll be better off extending the courtesy of informing your parents ahead of time. Plus, by advertising your sale in advance you can create anticipation and excitement.

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

Make a promise to your parents that you'll keep your word, no matter what. If you reach your financial goal with the first sale then don't plan any additional fundraising. If you fall short on the first one, then 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.

If you Promise an Incentive keep your word

Sponsors offer incentives so students will hopefully sell more and they can then at least recoup their initial investment. But occasionally fundraisers doesn't go as well as hoped; however a few students still may have sold more in order 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 to their students and don't carry them out. 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, make sure they're polite regardless of the response they receive from a potential supporter. Tell your students to always introduce themselves and why they are selling before they show their brochure.

By valuing integrity as much as success, you'll help ensure school fundraising programs have a strong future.

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