5 Ways to Simplify Your Elementary School Fundraiser
5 Ways to Simplify Your Elementary School Fundraiser
Elementary schools allow for great creativity when it comes to raising money for your school. But even when focusing on just one or two fundraising ideas, planning and managing a fundraiser can be overwhelming.
Between volunteer recruitment, fundraiser promotion, and managing donations, there’s a lot to keep up with in an elementary school fundraiser. If it seems complicated, consider these five ways to simplify the process:
1. Engage your elementary school students
There’s an old saying that if you enjoy your work, you’ll never work a day in your life. This is true of fundraisers, too! Your fundraiser will feel less like work if you choose a fundraising idea that you and your students enjoy.
You discover a wide range of fundraising ideas by looking at online resources created. For instance, here are some of Read-a-thon’s elementary school fundraising ideas that will make your students excited to participate:
- Read-a-thon: Students read a certain amount of books by a set deadline and parents can either make a one-time donation or pledge money based on the number of books or pages their students read. This fundraiser is great for kids who love to read and will promote reading to those still discovering their passion.
- School costume days: Designate certain days to be “costume days” and let students have fun dressing up in exchange for a small amount of money. For example, you might tell students they can wear Halloween costumes on Halloween for $5.
- Pie-in-the-face: Find a teacher (or your principal) to volunteer to have a pie thrown in their face if the school raises enough money by a certain deadline. The pieing itself will be quick, lighthearted fun that still gets elementary school students excited.
- Teachers in Jail: Set a fundraising goal and incentivize students by putting a teacher “in jail” if their class raises the goal amount by the deadline. For the winning class, have a teacher take them outside for extra recess, while the jailed teacher gets a free planning period.
These ideas can promote healthy competition between students and also encourage good habits that might be reflected in students’ schoolwork. For example, read-a-thons will encourage students to read in their free time, which can boost their reading skills.
From a planning perspective, these ideas forgo the trouble of recruiting volunteers or renting venues. Since your students will be incentivized to participate, they’ll naturally promote your fundraiser by asking their parents and family-friends to contribute.
2. Manage your donors
If you have the resources to invest in donor management software, your platform makes it easy to keep up with all your donor information. Use it to communicate with your donors and reach out to them with fundraising requests that appeal to their interests. Donor management software can track:
- Contact information
- Demographic data
- Engagement history
- Specific notes about donor’s communication preferences
Having all this information in one platform can organize lists of your supporters, their contact information, and their donations. This will make donation requests and follow-up a breeze.
For example, after the fundraiser you’ll want to follow up with your donors and thank them for participating. If you have detailed notes about their contribution, it’ll be easy to send them a personalized thank-you message showing your appreciation and including specific details about their donation.
3. Promote your fundraiser through social media
Parents are often very involved in their elementary schoolers’ education and the school community. As a result, you should focus your marketing on building relationships with these parents. By prioritizing effective communication with them, you can keep parents in the loop about all school needs and projects throughout the year.
An easy way to target the right audience is through your school’s social media accounts. Here are some ways you can promote your elementary school fundraiser through social media:
- Share pictures of students’ costumes from a costume contest (with parent permission) on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram.
- Give instructions for starting a peer-to-peer fundraiser so parents can create their own donation pages and share them on their social media accounts.
- Post pictures to illustrate each fundraiser’s goal, such as pictures of old books that need to be replaced to encourage raising money for your library fundraiser.
If you have any other easy-to-access marketing channels, lean on these, too. For example, a school newsletter or email list to communicate with parents can also easily include information about your fundraiser.
4. Fundraise year-round
There are certainly times throughout the school year when fundraising events or campaigns can be inconvenient. Instead of only running complex fundraisers a few times each school year, set up a method of fundraising that will stay open year-round.
For example, you might set up an online shopping fundraiser that allows shoppers to give to your school while they’re doing their regular shopping. Shopping fundraising platforms negotiate with retailers to have a portion of participating buyers’ sales total go to your school. This means supporters don’t have to pay anything extra to support your school when they’re making a purchase.
Follow these steps to start an online fundraiser.
- **Choose an online shopping platform. **These platforms have relationships with retailers and will handle all negotiations about the rates they will contribute at.
- Promote your shopping fundraiser. Share instructions for how to join your shopping fundraiser on social media platforms, flyers that you send home with students, and emails.
- Track proceeds earned from shoppers’ purchases. Your shopping platform will track the amount of money collected so you can see your fundraiser’s progress over time.
By fundraising year-round, you’ll ease the pressure on yourself and your donors. Instead of giving a few large gifts, donors can contribute small amounts throughout the year. Plus, your big fundraisers won’t feel quite as high-stakes when you’re also receiving small amounts of consistent income.
5. Take your fundraiser online
The easiest way to manage every detail of your fundraiser is with digital tools. Not only are there tools to organize your data, but they’ll also help you keep track of your fundraising progress and make donating easier for your supporters.
For example, you can create a fundraising web store where your supporters can shop for and purchase products to support your school directly from your website. This is an easy way to run a product fundraiser for your school.
Tracking your data also helps future fundraising. By analyzing your previous fundraising data, you can determine what worked, what didn’t, and how you can improve next time.
As you look for a fundraising program that is simple to start and maintain, make the process easier on yourself by leaning on the resources that are available to you and using digital tools. Use these tips to simplify the process so you spend more time focusing on your goals.