Introduce your fundraiser to your students the right way and discover how to bring in more sales
The school fundraising kickoff is probably the most important opportunity that you have to present your cause to your students. If you get it right, it will establish a strong foundation that can carry your sale to new heights. However, if it doesn’t go that well, it’s really hard to recover and make up for it. It will be like trying to redirect a ship in the open water.
It’s your job as the sponsor to find out what’s going to inspire and motivate your students. How do you get inside their hearts and minds? You have to understand what will make them want to convince their parents to help them sell.
Careful thought goes into picking out the perfect sales brochure, finding the right prizes, and deciding how the money will be spent. These are all important things. But now you need to make your all-important sales pitch. How are you going to put your fundraiser into motion and generate the necessary sales momentum that will catapult your sales?
You only have one chance to make a great first impression. In the same way that fundraising companies need to influence you to work with them, you have to do the same with your students. The primary goal of the kickoff is to get your parents involved. And the best way to your parents heartstrings is through their children. This is especially important with elementary schools.
For more ideas, see 5 Steps to an Exciting School Fundraiser Kickoff
Ultimately, you’re looking for lots of sales through improved parent participation. Here are 3 tips that can turn most every student into a fundraising ambassador:
1. Set the Tone with Great Kickoff Music
Not enough time is spent on choreographing and rehearsing your kickoff before your students arrive. What you initially present to your students is important. But how will you do it?
First, set the tone from the beginning by having exciting music already playing before your students arrive. This will make them curious about what’s going on and help get everyone into a positive mood. The kickoff is about generating an inspiring atmosphere. Always make sure that you have prescreened your music and it’s been radio-edited.
If you’re an elementary school, you’re going to have a lot of students in a large area, like a cafeteria or auditorium. It will make a big difference if you have a good sound system that can be heard well throughout the entire area. If you want your students to get excited, make sure the music has good range with high-quality bass and treble.
Make sure you test your system by walking to the back areas as the music is playing. Keep in mind, your audience will muffle the sound once their in the room so your sound system needs to be able to make up the difference. It’s always better to have the music turned up a little louder to compensate.
One important tip. Don’t feel obligated to play music if you don’t have a good sound system. There's nothing worse than having to listen to a cheap stereo. You can’t afford to make a bad first impression so if there’s any doubt, you’re better off not having any music at all. Students are also going to get loud, so you need a system that will keep the music volume well above the noise. At the same time, make sure you find a volume that will be suitable.
Prior to the speaker coming to the podium, you should already have someone gradually fade out the music. This change will get your students to pay attention to what’s next. Don’t just stop the music all at once. This abrupt change is unprofessional and will catch people off guard.
Similarly, once the presentation is over, have the person slowly turn up the volume so the music is loud again as the students begin walking out. In other words, the music is a que to help get the students excited, but at the same time, it lets them know when it’s time to listen to the speaker.
Also, if you'll be presenting a company’s kickoff video, it’s always better to show it on a big screen as opposed to a smaller TV set. This may require using a laptop computer that can hook into your sound system.
2. Always Test Your Equipment In Advance
No production team films a television commercial live the first time through. This would be crazy. Nothing goes perfectly until it’s been rehearsed and tried a few times. There are numerous takes and edits that take place before the viewer sees the finished product. Unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of retakes with your kickoff either. But you do have the opportunity to test your presentation equipment beforehand. Anything that involves technology, there’s always something that can go wrong.
We observed one kickoff at a school that didn’t realize they didn’t have sound to their video until after they started showing it to their students. They didn’t take the time to test it beforehand. Needless to say, the silent movie kickoff presentation didn’t go off as intended.
Fundraiser kickoff videos that are professionally designed, can be a powerful tool. If you'll be showing a video, make sure you run it through at least once before your students arrive. Also, be sure to test your microphone to make sure your voice is clear and loud from every point in the room. This will take a little time so be sure to make testing your equipment a priority.
Ensuring that you equipment is working properly will help eliminate embarrassing mishaps. Think about it, you need to put your best foot forward. There’s no turning back once you have an audience. You’re performing for your students, so the least you can do is to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
3. Good School Fundraising Kickoffs Include the Principal
Most schools will have the person in charge of the fundraiser walk up to the front of the room and start talking to the students. Sounds boring and uninspiring doesn’t it? Don’t make this mistake. If you're going to be the keynote speaker, make sure you arrange to have someone important introduce you. By important, we mean someone that the students all look up to. This is where the principal comes in. If they care as much as you do about their school having the needed funds, they’ll be glad to help.
By asking your principal to introduce you, you are communicating to your students that what’s about to happen is important. Students usually respect the principal as the leader of the school. So what they have to say should be worth listening to. And since they should be stressing the importance of involvement, your students will take notice. This will help set a powerful tone from the beginning.
Learn how to motivate your students to reach your sales goal. Fun Principal Incentives
How can you add credibility to your school fundraising kickoff?