How to implement a successful promotional fundraiser strategy
Learning how to effectively promote your school fundraiser can mean the difference between a below average sale and a very profitable one. Thousands of dollars could be at stake, so your primary goal should be to come up with an effective plan that will engage as many students in the selling process as possible.
Your students are your biggest fundraising asset. There are 2 questions you should be asking yourself at this point: 1) How are you going to get more of them involved in your campaign? The goal with any fundraiser should be to find ways to increase participation. And 2), what are the best ways to get previous sellers to raise even more money? You can also improve sales by getting those who have already participated in previous fundraisers to sell more.
What follows are our 3 promotional ABC's that will help you to maximize your student participation so you can reach, and exceed, your group’s financial goals:
A. Keep Students Accountable to a Sales Goal
Before you can hold your students accountable to a sales goal you first need to know your financial objective. Have you actually calculated your school fundraising goal? This is not a trick question.
Believe it or not, the majority of groups fundraise because they know they’ll need some money at some point during the school year. There’s no purpose, and no goal. Students are simply told to, “sell as much as you can!”, or “every little bit helps!” The problem with this philosophy is, most won’t sell at all. The reason is no accountability. This is not the way to conduct a fundraiser.
If groups truly want to experience successful school fundraising everyone needs to know where the finish line is. To do that you’ll first need to answer 3 questions:
- How much money does your entire group need to raise?
- What are the number of students in your group?
- How many items will each student need to sell to reach the combined group’s sales goal?
Once you have established your goals you’ll need to regularly check in with your students on their selling progress. If you only tell them their goal at the fundraiser kickoff meeting, some will take it to heart right away, but others won’t.
If you’re dealing with elementary school students, the very next day after the kickoff, ask them to raise their hands if they’ve already sold 3 or more items. Then continue to do this throughout your fundraiser. Even if some students aren’t being completely honest, this exercise communicates a powerful message. My peers are selling, maybe I need to do the same.
Also, be sure to ask your teachers to directly checking in with their students. This may require meeting with your teachers prior to your kickoff to explain your goals and how they will benefit from the sale as well. It's important that everyone in the school understands that they play an important role as fundraising ambassadors.
On the other hand, if you are sponsoring a smaller group, like a high school band or sports team, talk about the fundraiser during class or gym. Some sponsors even check order forms. This is a perfect opportunity to get your student’s attention by adding incentives during your sale.
B. Plan to Broadcast Your Fundraiser Daily
Make sure you're at least announcing your sale every day so everyone's reminded to sell. However students already expect a basic reminder. You should go a step further. Be creative by asking things like, “which students have already reached their fundraiser goal?” or “who thinks they’re going to be the top seller?” To incorporate these things into your announcements is going to take some advanced planning. But it should be worth the extra time and effort.
Consider conducting prize drawings to give the students who are selling a chance to win extra prizes or special privileges. Your sellers can turn in prize coupons and be in a drawing. By using this approach, other students will want to jump in so they can be a part of the drawing as well.
It also doesn’t hurt to use this time to announce any additional surprise incentives that the students didn’t previously know about. This communicates a powerful message to the students to keep selling because there may be even more surprises to follow. So be ready.
C. Be a Cheerleader to the Finish Line
Good sponsors see themselves as cheerleaders. Remember to always be in inspiration mode throughout your sale. This way your students will want to keep selling. Making sales isn’t always easy so positive encouragement should be a top priority. Always keep the end goal in mind and how everyone is going to benefit from the money that’s raised.
You will always reap a good harvest if you’re willing to design and implement an effective school fundraising promotional plan.