Let’s say you were to take a poll of several fundraising companies that help organizations raise money and ask what the most successful high school groups are. What do you think they’d say? The answer would be performing arts, sports teams and spirit squads.
Strong groups excel because they have very obvious and well-defined financial needs. Their sponsors are typically highly motivated and extremely organized. The students are part of a strong motivational support structure that's highly involved and requires a shared commitment. As a result, students are more dedicated to the group's needs and goals.
Strong Student Accountability
In addition, many students feel the need to work hard on a group-related project because they want to make a good impression on the sponsor. Many high school sponsors make fundraising mandatory. It also helps that their students usually meet on a regular basis. This allows sponsors to monitor sales progress.
What about sponsors of other types of high school groups?
Effective High School Fundraising Strategies
The following strategies have been proven to bring in more dollars, regardless of the group:
- Have a formal kickoff meeting. Don’t just hand out your information as your students are walking out the door. Take the time to sell the program to them. What will they be selling and what can they win? By meeting with your students to launch your sale, you are instilling the importance of the fundraiser in their minds.
- Have a purpose and goal. Make sure your students understand why they're selling and can communicate that to potential customers. Make sure your students know what the sales expectations are. Do you want them to sell 10 items or 25? What will they get if they exceed the goal? Will the top seller win anything?
- When will the sale end? More time to sell doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. If you give your students a stop date they'll treat the sale more like a race. Otherwise your campaign will seem to drag and students will procrastinate. Most high school sales are made within the first 3-4 days. A two week sale is usually optimal.
- Promote your sale. Don’t assume that your students will remain focused on selling once the kickoff is over. You'll need to remind them and hold them accountable. This is also a good time to revisit important things that you'll want them to remember about the sale.
- Meet on a regular basis. In order to promote your sale effectively, you'll need to meet with them on a consistent basis. Some sponsors find this easier to do than others but most find it worthwhile to make special meeting arrangements.
- Offer additional incentives. Most companies offer prize programs. Many feel this is enough of a motivator; however stronger sponsors understand that they need to do more by offering additional incentives to their students.
- Sponsor enthusiasm is contagious. If you are excited and motivated about your fundraiser, chances are your students will be also. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.