How to fully optimize your next school fundraiser.
Most parents and school faculty know how vital school fundraising is to support annual projects and new development for their school. While we wholeheartedly agree about the significance of school fundraisers, we believe many schools are missing out on precious proceeds by failing to optimize their school fundraising events fully.
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 involved in your 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 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 supports. More importantly, your online ticketing page makes ticket purchases highly convenient for your busy parents. Rather than seeking out tickets, they can navigate to your online registration and ticketing page to purchase them. Saving time for your parents means they’re more likely to continue donating throughout your event!
Another massive benefit of online registration and ticketing is that you will collect your guests’ information before your event. There are two significant advantages here:
A. Pre-registration for fundraising at the event – In the next section, we will talk about the benefits of mobile fundraising. If you plan on continuing 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, some platforms offer both event ticketing and mobile fundraising, meaning the information will be integrated and only need to be entered once. This development means a seamless ticket purchase and donation process for your guests and 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 you will collect 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 them so 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 these and give your audience 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 significant gains to your yearly proceeds. Some of the significant advantages of mobile bidding include:
1. Anyone can participate from anywhere, anytime – 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 before 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 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 event. People will love being informed in real-time, resulting 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 win and can pay directly from their mobile devices. This easy-payment process means event checkout will be much quicker and easier for your staff – those who have managed the checkout table at an event will appreciate this!
We hope 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 they will improve your next fundraiser, too!
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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.