How to fully optimize your next school fundraiser
Most parents and school faculty know how important school fundraising is to support annual projects and new development for their school. While we wholeheartedly agree about the significance of school fundraisers, we also believe that many schools are missing out on precious proceeds by failing to fully optimize their school fundraising events.
That’s why we’ve created a quick guide below showing how to improve your next school fundraiser by incorporating online registration and mobile bidding. Feel free to share these ideas with your school staff, PTO, or other parents who are involved with your school’s fundraiser!
1. Online Registration & Ticketing
We’ll start with online registration and ticketing first because, typically, you will need to plan a bit further ahead for this part of your school fundraiser. Shockingly, many school fundraisers rely on manual or paper ticket sales, selling tickets door-to-door, at the school, and at the door the day or night of your fundraising event. While sales may go pretty well in this scenario, they could grow exponentially using online registration and ticketing.
Online registration and ticketing platforms allow you to quickly and easily create a custom event page online, describing your fundraiser and what it is supporting. More importantly, your online ticketing page makes ticket purchase extremely convenient for your busy parents. Rather than having to seek out tickets, they can simply navigate to your online registration and ticketing page in order to purchase their tickets. Saving time for your parents means they’re more likely to continue donating throughout your event!
Another huge benefit of online registration and ticketing is that you will collect your guests’ information prior to your event. There are two major advantages here:
A. Pre-registration for fundraising at the event – In the next section, we will talk about the benefits of mobile fundraising. In case you do plan on having continued fundraising at your event (donations, silent auctions, raffles, etc.), having your guests pre-register online during ticket purchase will make the process very easy for your guests. Rather than having to enter their personal and payment info at your event, this information will already be stored from when they purchased their tickets. Now, there are even platforms that offer both event ticketing and mobile fundraising, meaning the information will be integrated and will only need to be entered once. This development means a seamless ticket purchase and donation process for your guests, and it means higher proceeds for you!
B. Easily Accessible Donor Data – A more obvious benefit of online registration during ticket purchase is the value of the data that you will have collected from your guests. Not only will you have their contact information, but most platforms will also allow you to collect custom data that you may find valuable. This data can include:
- Number of children
- And more!
Having rich data on your attendees will allow you to build an effective communication plan after your event, lasting throughout the year. Here, you can use email and social updates to thank your donors, update them on new developments with the school, and develop a stronger relationship with your donors so that they keep coming back each year.
2. Mobile Fundraising
Just as online ticketing and registration will help you raise more money leading up to your event, mobile fundraising will help you raise more during your event!
Being involved with school fundraisers, you know the downfalls of traditional silent auctions and raffles all too well. These disadvantages include paper bid sheets and raffle tickets, little interaction, and long checkout lines.
With mobile fundraising, you can bypass all of these, and provide your audience with a more accessible, easy-to-use, and engaging way to donate!
When we refer to mobile fundraising tools, we typically are speaking specifically about:
- Mobile silent auctions
- Mobile raffles
- Fund-a-need campaigns
- Donation pages and text-to-give campaigns
When used effectively, these can add major gains to your yearly proceeds. Some of the major advantages of mobile bidding include:
1. Anyone can participate from anywhere, at any time – Because mobile bidding is mobile and online, anyone can participate anytime. No longer are you limited only to those who can attend your event. Instead, those who support your school but may be limited by time, other commitments, or geography can still bid on your silent auction items, buy raffle tickets, or donate to your cause! Additionally, this participation can happen anytime, not only during the hours of your event. With mobile fundraising, you can begin accepting bids and donations prior to your event. This means people can start participating while they are purchasing their tickets online!
2. It is more engaging – Mobile fundraising is also more engaging and fun. Rather than guests having to write down their bids or keep track of paper raffle tickets, they can simply bid online or via text message, and will receive instant notifications if they’ve been outbid or have won an item. This means your guests do not need to walk back and forth to your item table and can enjoy your actual event. People will love being informed in real time, and this will also result in higher participation and proceeds for your school.
3. It makes things easier! – Finally, mobile fundraising is easier. While you have already learned why mobile fundraising makes it easier for your guests to donate, here’s another benefit: It also makes setup and checkout much easier for your staff of volunteers. Using a mobile fundraising platform, you can easily set up your event ticketing and mobile fundraising all in one place. As mentioned earlier in this post, this platform will also store all of your donor and ticket purchaser data in a convenient location.
For event checkout, your guests will instantly be notified when they have won, and can make payment directly from their mobile devices. This easy-payment process means event checkout will be much quicker and easier for your staff – those of you who have managed the checkout table at an event will really appreciate this!
We hope that your team can take advantage of our guidelines above – over the years, we have seen these make a lasting difference for school fundraisers, and we hope that they will improve your next fundraiser, too!
Guest Author Bio
Zach Hagopian is the co-founder and COO of Accelevents, a mobile fundraising platform that enhances silent auctions and raffles through online and text-message bidding. An active member in the Boston fundraising scene, Zach focuses on improving traditional fundraising methods and increasing fundraiser proceeds.