7 Habits of Highly Successful School Fundraising Sponsors

Discover what separates highly successful sponsors from the pack when it comes to school catalog fundraising

There are basically 2 ways that potential customers can inquire about our school fundraising programs. Contact us by phone or submit a web-form. Either way, it’s fairly easy to tell when we have an experienced sponsor on the other end.

They’re questions are more advanced and they want to make sure that they have all of the necessary sales tools to ensure that their students are ultimately successful. They already know why they’re raising money, and they even have fundraising goals for their students. They understand what’s worked and what hasn’t, and they also have an idea about how they want to motivate their group to sell.

Moreover, they’ve already reviewed our catalog fundraisers and prize plans and are asking more advanced questions to see how our programs can best meet their needs. So what else makes them unique? Here are 7 specific things that highly successful sponsors always seem to do:

1. They Have a Clear Fundraising Objective

With a well thought out purpose, you’ve established a strong foundation for a strong fundraising outcome. However, you’d be surprised at how many groups simply have a fundraiser because they know that they’re going to need money at some point during the school year. No one ever asks, “Why are we raising money?”. Everyone involved simply falls in line like zombies. These schools are easy to recognize because when they provide us their purpose for their parent letter, the most common response is, "it’s for the general fund".

People should want to know more. If you want people to go out and sell, they deserve to know the ‘why’. Most schools don’t have to look far to see where their financial needs are. So how hard could it be to define their purpose? Perhaps people won’t support it, or worse, they may even oppose it. Many sponsors don't want to be locked into committing money to a specific purpose. What happens if they don’t reach their sales goal?

Effective sponsors understand that having a well thought out purpose and financial benchmark is a must. Why? Because if they've effectively sold their purpose up front, they know that people will be more apt to support it.

Learn 24 keys to fundraising success

2. They set Achievable Fundraiser Goals

Why is it not ok to simply ask your students to go out and do their best? It’s because most probably won’t. If you tell them that, why should your students take you seriously? It’s amazing how many sponsors kickoff their sale and then expect the sale to just happen. It’s as if the fundraiser kickoff meeting is enough by itself. These types of sponsors are grateful for whatever money comes in. They assume that if they reach last year’s goal, they’ve had another good year. However, if they fall short, there’s nothing they could have done about it. And if they happen to do well, they don’t know why, but they’re happy. This mindset is the norm for far too many groups.

Successful sponsors know how much money they need and how many catalog items each student needs to sell. Then they inspire them to reach their goals. We had one school that wasn’t satisfied making $30,000 every year because they know that far too many students weren’t participating in their fundraiser. As a result, they reworked their numbers, made a few changes and now they consistently bring in almost 3 times that amount with every fundraiser.

See how to set achievable school fundraising goals

3. They Track Their Sales Progress

The majority of sponsors don’t know how their fundraiser turns out until it’s over. By then it is too late to affect sales. Successful sponsors raise more money do so because they track their student's progress. Then, if needed, they can adjust by influencing sales performance before it’s too late. Here are 3 tools that can have a profound effect on fundraising results:

4. They Use Additional Fundraiser Incentives

Good sponsors understand that in order to maximize results, they have to offer their students more than just the company’s basic prize program. They use additional fundraising incentives to get more students involved. Then they entice them to sell extra items out of their catalog.

Discover how to improve fundraiser sales without using money

5. They Inspire Students to Sell More

Great sponsors are ‘natural-born’ leaders because they understand how to motivate students to succeed. They consistently incorporate the perfect blend of effective accountability with positive optimism that not only impacts students but also their fundraising team, teachers and staff, as well as parents.

6. They Understand that Success Requires a Team

Effective sponsors don’t go it alone, so they make it a high priority to recruit others to help them run their sale. They understand the need to get the teachers and the parents on board as well. Therefore, they’re excellent at recruiting and delegating.

7. They Have Fundraising Credibility

When someone is credible, everyone takes them at their word. However, when they’re not, the opposite will happen. There’s nothing worse than making promises without following through.

Not too long ago we worked with a sponsor who promised a limo ride for her students who reached a higher fundraiser goal. When we followed up with the school to find out how their students enjoyed the limo, they said that they didn’t do the limo after all. How do you think their parents and students felt? Word definitely spread. How many additional people found out that the limo ride never happened? Unfortunately they weren’t concerned about how this would affect future sales.

Good school fundraising coordinators always come through, no matter what adversity they may encounter along the way. Their students and parents will trust them to follow through. As a result good sales results usually follow.

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