A guide to becoming a good school fundraising marketer
Here’s how the typical school brochure fundraiser promotion campaign works. The front office calls the students and teachers to the auditorium for a kickoff assembly. This is the first time that anyone, besides the sponsor and maybe 2 office personnel, has heard anything about a fundraiser.
After the kickoff is over the students are told that they’ll receive their information packets from their teacher just before they go home. Then the principal follows up the next day with a fundraising announcement reminding the students to keep selling.
Just before the last day, the students are told to turn in their order forms and money envelopes. The money is collected and the orders are mailed in for processing. This is how most sponsors run their sale, so where’s the problem? Well, actually nothing if you want to settle for average results.
However, if you want to improve your results, there are ways that you can enhance your brochure fundraiser promotion. To be truly effective, you’ll need to be able to answer the following questions:
When should we start promoting our fundraiser?
In our example, no one outside of a couple of people even knew that a fundraiser was about to start. It’s very similar to a fire drill that catches a lot of people off guard. This approach only makes your campaign appear like a last minute decision and this is not the impression that you want to make. Yet who has the extra time to spend on effective brochure fundraiser promotion anyway?
As it turns out, many groups are missing out on opportunities to publicize their fundraiser early and often which can help generate interest and boost sales. Here are some things that you can do to announce your sale in advance:
- Announce it in your newsletter
- Put it on the marque
- Post flyers near the front office
- Morning announcements
- PTA website
- Send a note home to parents
Who needs to know about our sale?
Here are the important people that you’ll want to start promoting your fundraiser to before your kickoff, along with some ideas that will help get them involved:
- Parents: If possible, plan to have your kickoff assembly the day after your first parent night meeting. This gives you the opportunity to announce and promote your sale to your parents. Some school fundraising companies offer a promotional video which is a great solution for this type of activity.
- Teachers: Already having your teachers on board before your kickoff is imperative since they’ll see your students on a regular basis. Plan a short meeting and discuss ways that they can help. It can make a difference if you explain how the money will benefit the school. Consider bringing a snack to the meeting to show your appreciation for their time.
- Administrators: Getting the principal on board as an advocate and promoter can end up paying off big for your cause. Consider making an appointment to discuss your purpose and fundraising goal. Also, be sure to ask them to introduce your sale at the kickoff as well as become involved with daily promotional announcements.
You can also offer parent and teacher-related incentives to encourage their participation. For example, the top seller’s parents get special VIP parking for a month. Teachers that can achieve 100% participation in their class earn a free dress-down day or a pass from recess duty for a week.
You can ask the principal to do something unusual if the school reaches their fundraising goal. For example, they can dye their hair green, wear their pajamas to school or even spend the day on the roof. Be sure to publicize this heavily before and during your sale. Some schools have even been able to get a write-up in the local newspaper.
What forms of promotional media should we consider?
Incorporating different forms of promotional media can help you take your sale to new heights. In addition to the standard daily announcements that every campaign already uses, here are other things to consider:
- Use social media like Facebook and Twitter:
- Create a letter asking your parents to promote the fundraiser to their friends and family.
- Ask them to promote your company’s online store link.
- Most companies count online sales towards earning prizes.
- Send periodic letters home to your parents reminding them about the importance of continuous selling.
- Incorporate automated calling to send recorded messages to your students’ homes. Have your scripts prepared in advance and then ask the principal to record the messages to add credibility.
A little extra time invested in promoting your first fundraiser may mean saving a lot of time later because you won’t need to do a second sale.