The Ultimate Cure to the Zombie Fundraiser
With so many school fundraisers out there, have you ever wondered why they’re fundraising in the first place? You may be surprised at how many schools raise money simply because it happens to be that time of the year when all schools do it. If you ask them why they're having a sale, their answer is always the same. They're raising money for the very vague ‘general fund’. Their students, staff and parents never ask any questions. It’s as if everyone is in zombie mode.
The fundraising kickoff happens the same way every year without a hitch, the students take home their packets and the selling commences. After the sale is over, order forms and money are turned in, the order is processed, and the merchandise is shipped. If there were no problems, they do the same thing next year with the same company.
But does it have to be this way? Schools are actually settling for mediocre results just so everything can happen on autopilot. Let’s face it, teachers and staff are busy. They don’t have time to fundraise; however, they still need the money. While this approach may be a compromise, we’d argue that by communicating a compelling purpose, they could increase their profit significantly.
The Zombie Fundraising Excuse
The familiar saying applies, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” And let’s face it, the least amount of work we must put in the better, right? After all, no one really wants to fundraise. To top it off, we feel successful if we achieve the same results as last year. Parents who participate, sell because they feel a sense of obligation to help the school. No one bothers to question the fundraiser or ask why their sales are the same every year. Plus, Johnnie has his eye on a certain prize so we’re going to help him get it.
Why Have a Fundraiser Purpose?
Conversely, groups that take the time to define and promote a purpose usually experience greater fundraising success. Why? The reason is people feel more confident supporting something tied to a specific goal, especially if they can relate to the need. It's that simple.
Here are some things that you can do to develop, implement and promote your purpose:
- Schools always need money. If you don’t already have an obvious need, ask around. Talk to the principal as well as individual teachers. Do they need money for books, classroom supplies, a specific field trip or a new marquee?
- Brainstorm with your board members.
- How much will it cost to accomplish your purpose? Make sure to do your homework and ask plenty of questions. This will help you set achievable goals for your students.
- Can the purpose be achieved with one fundraiser or will it take more?
- Make sure as many people as possible can understand what the purpose is and why it's necessary.
- Promote your purpose before your kickoff by sending letters home to parents.
- Sell it at your parent meeting.
- Put it on the school website and the marque.
- Make sure to talk about your purpose to your students at the kickoff and how the purpose will benefit them.
- Keep talking about the purpose throughout your school fundraiser until it’s over.
In other words, do whatever it takes to convince others that your purpose is worth selling for. The more successful you are at doing this, the more fundraising success you'll have. It’s that simple.