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How School Fundraisers Profit Without Costly Incentives

By Clay Boggess on Dec 19, 2020
How School Fundraisers Profit Without Costly Incentives

A guide to boosting sales without spending money.

You get out what you put in. It takes money to make money. You reap what you sow. There's a lot of truth to these sayings. It's hard to argue against this philosophy.

To get better at a particular sport, you have to practice. If you want to do well in school, it's essential to study. Getting that promotion takes time and sacrifice. Making money requires hard work and even more money. These are all vital and worthwhile virtues.

To get your students excited about selling, you have to motivate them. And when they see something they want, they'll do what they must to get it. Better prizes lead to more significant results. But big-ticket incentives aren't in everyone's budget.

So how do school fundraisers profit without adding prizes every student wants?

Regardless of the type of incentive, students need to understand what's in it for them. It may be raising money to buy equipment that will help the team get better. Perhaps their goal is to win the district championship. This is intrinsic motivation. Or, it may be winning the big prize at the end. This is an example of becoming inspired to do something for external reasons.

So the question remains. How can you raise more money when you don't invest monetarily in your fundraiser?

Fundraising is no different than anything else. You must be willing to take full advantage of the little opportunities others may not see. And small things combined can add up to significant results. If you're willing to make these sacrifices, you can get ahead. You can create an edge to help you reach your goal without the fancy prizes.

Here's how you can generate free fundraising money.

Leverage Your Company Prize Program

Many fundraising companies provide complimentary prizes. Since this is 'free money', why not get the most out of them? Here are some ideas:

  • Post extra flyers around your school, especially in high-traffic areas. Add special artwork and messaging that will draw attention. Some companies offer large colorful posters, which will help.
  • Start with simple and manageable goals. Early on, ask your students to sell 1-2 items. Most prize programs only require students to sell 1 item to get a prize. Getting started is the hardest part.
  • Remind students to sell a couple of items each day. Consistency always adds up in the end.
  • Engage them in the prize program by asking them to pick out their goal prize. If they need to sell 40 items to get it, that's about three items per day. (Based on a 2-week sale)

School Fundraisers Need Consistent Promotion

Unfortunately, many schools don't take full advantage of this free money. Sponsors are guilty of under-promoting their sales once the excitement of the kickoff has worn off, and there is dead silence. What a shame. Significantly when an effective promotional campaign doesn't cost you any money.

Here are the ABCs of fundraiser promotion:

  1. Hold students accountable for selling.
  2. Broadcast your sale daily.
  3. Be a cheerleader to the end.

Encourage your students to set their own goals. Then urge them to stay on course throughout. Be creative with your daily announcements. To do this, you can:

  • Incorporate periodic prize drawings. This helps break the sale down into smaller short-term goals. Give students something to look forward to tomorrow.
  • Instead of reminding students to sell, ask them engaging questions. "How many have already sold five items?" "Who's trying to win the glow-in-the-dark soccer ball?"
  • Offer no-cost incentives that will keep your students engaged in selling. You can do creative things as long as you are willing to invest a little time. Here are some ideas:
    • 'Free Dress Day' Pass
    • 'Extra Recess Time' Pass
    • 'No Homework for a Day' Pass
    • 'Line Leader' for the Day
    • 'Classroom Leader' for the Day
    • 'Principal for the Day'

See low-cost student incentives for your next fundraiser

Make the Most of Your Fundraising Kickoff

Real estate investors often say, "You make money upfront when you buy". If you do well with your purchase, you'll likely profit better when you sell. Schools that prepare for their fundraiser kickoff are laying the groundwork for success. They understand that this is where they must sell their cause to their students. A good kickoff also helps establish needed sales momentum.

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Talk up your Fundraiser before the Kickoff.
  2. Have everyone at the meeting, including your teachers.
  3. Plan the right setting. PE and kickoffs during lunch are not as effective.
  4. Ask the principal to introduce you and your cause.

If you invest financially in your campaign, ensure you've done your homework. Picking the right prize that students are talking about is critical. This will help ensure a good return. But you have options if you want to increase sales without spending extra money. But you'll probably need to invest your time, which can be priceless.

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Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.

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