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Organizing a School Fundraiser: Your Step-by-Step Guide

By Clay Boggess on Dec 3, 2022
School Fundraiser

A guide to planning a successful fundraiser for your school

Preparing a school fundraiser is a lot of work. It takes significant time and effort to launch and execute a profitable campaign. Having a plan helps make the process less overwhelming and more likely to succeed. In this article, we share a step-by-step guide to organizing a school fundraiser as well as when the planning process should begin.

Steps to Organizing a School Fundraiser

A ten-step process to organize your school fundraiser is outlined below. These steps will take you from start to finish smoothly.

  1. Form a Committee:

    You'll need a fundraising committee to organize your campaign, make campaign decisions, and ensure the raise stays on track. The committee may include a committee leader, a marketing coordinator, an accountant, a logistics manager, and a participant coordinator.
  2. Determine the Need:

    The next step in organizing your school fundraiser is determining the need. In most cases, this is a dollar amount needed to reach a particular goal. The committee should solidify the campaign's cause, goal, and desired capital gain. The goal can be challenging, but it should be realistic to not discourage participants.
  3. Choose Campaign Methods:

    Now it's time to determine your campaign methods. Methods include independent vs. outsourced, the type of campaign, and how to end the raise.
    1. Independent or Outsourced: When you outsource to a fundraising company, many logistics are taken over by the company. They will often act as a liaison with the product company, track sales and revenue, and offer online fundraising pages and catalogs. Managing your fundraiser independently means everything is handled in-house by the fundraising committee.
    2. Type of Campaign: Campaign types include product fundraisers, crowdfunding, and event fundraising. Both product fundraisers and events can be hosted in person or virtually. The fundraising committee will make these decisions based on the school's needs and capabilities.
    3. How to End: The last method to determine is how to end the campaign. There are two ways to end the campaign. One is to select a dollar amount to close the fundraiser when reached. The other method is to set a date to finish regardless of the money raised.
  4. Consider Your Budget:

    Most fundraisers will require financial input. This may include hiring a fundraising company, buying products upfront, and hiring caterers or entertainment for events. Set your budget in advance and stick to it. Make sure you consider your estimated revenue to ensure that you raise enough for your cause after expenses.
  5. Write Your Narrative:

    Sharing your story will improve your chances of hosting a successful campaign. Donors are more likely to give if they empathize with your cause. Your narrative should include a little about your school, why you are fundraising, and what funds will be used for.
  6. Encourage Participation:

    The sixth step in organizing a school fundraiser is to encourage participation. Potential participants include students, parents, faculty, alum, and community members. Ways to participate include registering a fundraising page, selling door-to-door, helping with marketing, and volunteering at events. One way to encourage participation is to offer incentives such as prizes or recognition.
  7. Launch Your Raise:

    At this point, you are ready to start your fundraising campaign. If you have followed steps one through six, this will likely be the easiest step in the campaign process. Begin selling your product, launch your crowdfunding page, or have your event.
  8. Market Your Raise:

    The eighth step is to market your raise. If people don't know about your campaign, they can't help! Marketing techniques include posting to social media, hanging flyers, sharing the campaign with your email list, and posting announcements in the local papers and on local radio stations.
  9. Thank Donors and Participants:

    The fundraising committee's work doesn't end when the campaign does. The next step to organizing your fundraiser is to thank donors and participants. You may hold a donor and volunteer appreciation event, recognize them at a school function, or send thank-you letters in the mail. This is an excellent time to share the outcome of the raise with those who helped.
  10. Review Results:

    The final step is to evaluate school fundraising results. Did everything go according to plan? Did you reach your goal? Is there anything you could have managed better? Would a different campaign method have been more fitting? Consider your results and apply what you've learned to your next campaign.

When to Organize Your School Fundraiser

The planning process should begin long before the anticipated start date of your campaign. Preparation is an ongoing process. You need time to brainstorm ideas, recruit participants, and prepare for each step of the fundraising process. When you finish reviewing one campaign, it's time to start organizing the next one!

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