Find middle school fundraising success by using some simple strategies (Updated)
Middle school is an interesting age. If you’re sponsoring a group you already know the challenges. According to Atlanta Parent, these students are learning how to express their individuality while being faced with social pressures that may not be in their best interest.
This is definitely a transitional age period with the younger students just finishing elementary school, and the older students anticipating what high school will be like.
Finding middle school fundraising ideas that will work also poses some hurdles. You can have a great product, but if you don’t have your students on board, you won’t succeed.
The need is obviously there. At least you can understand it. So how do you now communicate your purpose to your students?
Some objectives are definitely easier for students to connect with than others. For example, let’s say you’re want to do a spring fundraiser to raise money for a fun trip at the end of the school year. What student wouldn’t want to go? On the other hand, it may be more challenging if you have to pay for new band equipment.
Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to find a way to connect your ‘why’ to your students emotions. In other words, how are your students going to personally benefit? Once you’ve crossed that hurdle, the next step is to get your students ready to sell.
Assuming that your students will automatically sell just because they believe in your purpose is a bit far-fetched. You’ll need to prepare them to make sales. Among other things, to be successful at raising money they must have clearly defined sales goals and expectations.
Another consideration is motivation. How do you inspire middle schoolers to sell who are already a little skeptical of a prize program that’s geared more towards elementary students?
Effective strategies that will enhance motivation is yet another factor that must be considered. You can no longer throw a prize flyer at them and assume results. Middle school students just aren’t as easily influenced like they were when they were younger. Therefore, additional strategies should also be considered.
Sponsors who incorporate fun and competition into their sale achieve greater results. Here are some team-building concepts that can help.
1. Incorporate Middle School Fundraiser Teams
Make middle school fundraising fun by turning it into a contest between teams. Whoever sells the most items wins. Or, if you have uneven numbers in each group, use highest average sales. And if 2 teams happen to end in a tie, determine the winning group by most dollars sold.
Regardless, you can improve your group’s overall outcome by dividing your sellers into teams. This helps promote teamwork and encourages peer accountability. To make it even more interesting, let your students choose a team name from a list of options. Perhaps each team can vote on an NBA, MLB or college name. Individual teams are encouraged to meet at various times throughout the sale to document how much each student in the group sold.
You can even encourage middle students to come up with their own inner group incentives for meeting certain requirements. For example, the student who sells the most items after day 1 gets a special class privilege the next day. Make sure you have someone from each group report to you what the incentive is so you can approve it.
Students will need to be told to have their order forms and money collection envelopes with them so both you and their teammates can verify their progress on your assigned check in days. This is also a good time for you to check to make sure that money is being collected with the orders.
2. Assign Strong Middle School Team Leaders
You’ll know who these students are, but you don’t want anyone to know why you’re choosing them. You should already have them picked out prior to your kickoff meeting. The goal is to pick leaders who will rub off in a positive way on their teammates and hopefully influence additional selling.
Have your team leaders report the progress of their members to you during your assigned check in days. By the way, we recommend incorporating 3 check in days. The first day after the sale, halfway through, and finally on the last day. Why?
Most sales are made during the first few days of the fundraiser so you’ll want to encourage all of your students to get off to a strong start. Checking their progress early will encourage accountability.
Half way through the fundraiser is also a good time. It allows you to gauge the overall sales progress to see if any adjustments need to be made. And finally the end of the sale is a perfect time because everything needs to be turned in anyway. If your students know that they’ll be meeting on these days with their teammates, they’ll be more apt to be prepared.
Make sure to continually remind sellers throughout your sale about upcoming check in days.
3. Middle School Fundraising Ideas that Reward Progress
The obvious reason for dividing your group up into teams is to encourage competition. But how do you reward progress and results? Some middle school students will enjoy competing against one another even if the motivation is simply to sell more than their peers. After all, they still have prizes they can win after the sale is over. Yet others may need more incentive.
You can increase your group’s profit by offering additional incentives. For example, you can offer a special privilege to the team that sells the most after each check in day. One option that also works well is our money game. You would simply have all of your team names in a hat and only draw out 1 name for each check in day. If that team can verify that they’ve reached your preassigned goal for that day then they get to split the $20 prize.
However, if that team doesn’t reach the goal, the money’s not given out and for the mid sale check in, the potential winning team gets $40, and so on. You can reward individual students or the entire team. It’s quite possible that you end up not giving any money away.
By making your sale fun and engaging, you're helping to encourage more sales which should be the primary objective anyway.