With recent cuts to federal and state budgets drastically reducing educational funding, your school’s fundraising efforts are becoming more and more important. The responsibility of generating financial support for school programs and projects is falling to parents, teachers, and volunteers – who often have little to no fundraising experience. Because of this, the creation of a cohesive fundraising strategy is often overlooked.
The following questions are designed to help you analyze your fundraising strategy – so you can devote your time and energy to the activities and efforts which best meet the needs of your educational institution. If your school already has a fundraising plan, these questions can be applied to evaluate its effectiveness, and help you create or strengthen your existing fundraising guidelines.
Why you are raising funds?
Your fundraising efforts should be focused on the problem you hope to resolve, or the needs and opportunities you hope to meet with the funds collected. Raising funds to purchase new playground equipment is great – but the real reason you are raising those funds is to allow children to play safely, and promote their health by encouraging them to exercise. By emphasizing the reasons behind your goals, you’ll help your fundraising team and donors understand your purpose, define how the money raised will be used, and provide a connection between your goals and fundraising efforts.
What values do you share with your donors?
In the example above, your school’s efforts would be supporting the health and safety of students. Your best prospective donors would be those who also hold interest in supporting those efforts – for instance, the parents or grandparents of your students, or a community organization which is focused on teaching kids healthy exercise habits. Ask your fundraising team to brainstorm, and identify any local organizations or individuals known to share the values which define your efforts – and you’ll find yourself connecting with donors who are already inspired to support your cause.
Do your efforts align with your values?
It is essential that your fundraising strategy reflect the values of your goal, or it may be counterproductive. For example, a cake walk to support the purchase of your playground equipment (which aims to promote the healthy habits of students) would be inappropriate – where the sale of healthy snacks, such as those offered in a Popcorn Palace fundraiser, would be perfectly suited to support your efforts. Making sure that your fundraising activities and efforts align with your ultimate goals and values is important to donors – and to the success of your campaign.
What will your fundraiser cost?
A comprehensive fundraising strategy needs to take the cost of fundraising activities into consideration. If your fundraiser is centered around product sales, make sure you are clear on any up-front or out-of-pocket costs before committing. You should also take into consideration additional costs such as posters or flyers, prizes, or awards, when determining your campaign budget, and cost per dollar raised. Revisiting these numbers after your campaign is completed will help you refine your fundraising strategy for future efforts, as well.
Are your fundraising partners operating in their integrity?
Partnering with corporations or other organizations is a great fundraising strategy, and can be an effective way to raise additional support for your campaign. It helps you demonstrate wide support for your efforts, and can help you raise additional awareness about your educational organization’s needs. Still, you should carefully assess any company or organization considered for partnership before beginning your campaign, in order to ensure that their values align with your own, and that they are operating in their integrity. Aligning with a business who’s efforts or practices are in conflict with your goals could be detrimental to your campaign – but a strong partnership with an organization whose values and goals reflect your own can offer an incredible boost, and reinforce your fundraising efforts.
How will this campaign benefit your community?
Whenever possible, explain how the accomplishment of your school’s goals will positively impact your community. When you can help others understand how their contributions directly affect their community on a wider scale, you’ll gain greater support, and pave the way for their willing participation.
While these questions aren’t the only things to consider, you can use them to hone your fundraising strategy, educate your community, and prepare volunteers and students for interacting with potential donors. By focusing on your school’s goals, and the values they support, you’ll allow your donors the opportunity to contribute to your campaign in a way that makes them feel valued and connected.
For more information on how Popcorn Palace can help you launch a fundraising campaign which supports the health and well being of your students, with no out-of-pocket cost – contact our fundraising team, and we’ll help you get started on the path to fundraising success!