Rising budget cuts place a growing burden on schools to rely on fundraisers to supplement federal and state funding. But fundraising isn’t easy. It takes hard work to reach your fundraising goals and achieve success. Is your PTO/PTA or non-profit group making these common fundraising mistakes?
5 Fundraising Mistakes – and ways to avoid making them
1) Failure to adequately research- Research what your supporters want and what other organizations are doing. In addition to researching what your community wants, it’s important to research what other groups, teams and schools in your area are doing for fundraisers. You don’t want to compete for sales with the same or similar fundraising product. So, don’t waste your time and energy planning cookie dough fundraiser that coincides with a community bake sale, etc. Also be sure to research what other community events are on the calendar and take that into consideration when scheduling your fundraiser.
2) Failure to equip and motivate your sellers- Teach your sellers to sell. Give them sales strategies that they can use when appealing to supporters. Help them to connect “shopping” with “giving”. Set weekly targets throughout your fundraising campaign and stay in close communication to keep sellers committed and motivated. Competition works. Tap into your seller’s competitive natures. What about a friendly sales competition between the upper and lower classmen for a high school fundraiser? Don’t forget about the importance of incentives. Choose desirable prizes that will motivate your sellers. And they need not be things that cost. What about a “hat or sunglasses day” or a class “pizza party” for the class that sells the most?
3) Failure to have a clear goal– Make sure people know how much money you are trying to raise and have a clear explanation of what the money is being raised for and how it will be used. Tell people exactly where the money is going and what it is being used for. Your supporters ARE interested in the details so be specific. This is your chance to tell your fundraising story and personalize your campaign which ultimately will yield more sales as this connects your supporters to the goal because you are telling them how it affects them.
4) Failure to market and promote your fundraiser– It doesn’t matter how perfectly you’ve researched what you supporters want and which fundraiser best fits your group if you fail to promote your fundraiser effectively. Marketing your fundraiser is critical to the success of your fundraising campaign. We live in a digital age so one of the quickest and simplest ways to promote your fundraiser is by using social media. Post reminders, status updates, and celebrate reaching important milestones across a variety of social media channels. Send home parent letters, create email blasts and get local media involved (if appropriate) to spread the word far and wide.
5) Failure to show gratitude- Don’t forget to send messages thanking your supporters. Without their purchases you would not be able to reach your fundraising goals. Also be sure to thank your volunteers. Without the investment of their time and energy you would not have the manpower needed to effectively run the fundraiser. Let them know how much you value and appreciate them. Recognize their hard work in both large and small ways.
By avoiding these 5 common fundraising mistakes you will increase your group’s likelihood of success. Learn from your mistakes. Forgive yourself. Fundraising is both a science and an art form.