As we are sure you know by now, fundraising is not an easy task. It's always tough to convince people to donate, even if it is for a good cause. It doesn’t matter that they are your loyal supporters who have donated before or just identified as potential donors. The fear of rejection makes it worse.
However, no matter the challenge, fundraising remains essential in helping you deliver your mission as a school. You must aim to keep growing your school’s impact on the community, and fundraising is the oil that keeps that engine moving.
Whatever you want to accomplish from your school fundraiser, here are strategies you can use [and should] to maximize your fundraising.
Warm Up Your Social Media Audience
Think about it this way; you cannot approach a random stranger, and ask them for a donation straight away. It is the same thing with social media.
Instead of asking for people to donate straight out of the gate, it is better to be strategic about how you get them to donate. Weeks or months before the fundraiser, warm them up by dazzling them with images and videos of the impact the previous fundraisers have had on your school [and the students].
Additionally, share your mission and the goals you want to accomplish. Where possible, share pictures/profiles of past beneficiaries and donors, with their permission of course.
Make your posts authentic and appeal to the emotions of your reader. By the time you ask them for their contribution, you will have taken them on a journey they will hopefully want to be a part of.
Plan In Advance
One mistake many fundraising organizers do is wait until the last minute to start laying down the plans. This compromises their ability to get the most out of the fundraising drive. To maximize your school’s fundraising revenue, start planning your fundraiser a year before. Keep in mind that donors have different giving cycles. By planning early, you will be giving them ample time to prepare their budgets and make a contribution.
Be sure to take notes and solicit feedback from your fundraisers. Review your observations when you start planning the next fundraiser. By planning early, you will not be missing any deadlines while donor correspondence can be handled with time to spare.
Minimize Your Budget
Perhaps the most obvious strategy to maximize your fundraising is to take a good, long look at your budget. The goal is to reduce your expenses to the bare minimum. Scrutinize the budget with a fine-tooth comb. Where can you cut unnecessary expenses? How can you utilize volunteers more instead of paid contractors?
Write a Winning Proposal
When it comes to fundraising, the quality of your proposal is essential to receiving donations. As much information about your drive as possible should be included in your proposal. This may seem obvious, but many fundraisers miss this point. Tell them what your goals are, what your plans are for the activities, how much you need, and how you will use the money.
Keep in mind that you are not the only school looking for funding. You, therefore, need to stand out to increase your chances of securing the money. The quality of your proposal will determine if you get funded.
Some of the best practices for writing proposals include:
- Using simple and understandable language. Steer clear of jargon.
- Avoid grammatical mistakes as they will reflect badly on your institution. Have your staff proof the proposal before sending it to potential donors.
- Don’t be overly academic when describing the problem and the solutions you intend to provide unless it is absolutely necessary. Too many facts and numbers will ‘scare’ the donors.
- Show your human side in the proposal. This will convince the donor that you truly care about your cause. However, avoid being too emotional lest you appear phony.
Lean More on Face-to-Face Meetings
Technology has made it much easier to fundraise through the internet. However, nothing replaces the good old face-to-face meetings. This is the best way to articulate your cause to prospective donors, show how much you care about the cause, and also understand the donor’s perspective. Technology, with all its advantages, cannot replace this.
To make the most out of your meeting with the donor:
- Properly introduce your school and the drives you’ve held in the past. However, avoid boring the donor with lengthy stories.
- Learn more about the donor beforehand so you can make a good first impression. For example, if they have a website, go through it to avoid asking questions whose answers are already on the website.
- Listen more than you talk. Suggestions from the donor may help you better optimize your fundraiser. Remember to thank them for their time even if they didn’t promise to contribute.
Focus On Donor Engagement
Constantly finding new donors to support your cause can be exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming. Working hard to keep the donors you already have is the more sustainable approach. Focus on ways to improve your school’s relationship with the current donors. Utilize online pledge software where donors can promise a donation to be collected in the future. Keep them engaged with good stories showing the impact of their past donations. This will keep them excited to keep supporting your cause.
Nowadays, more and more people are using their smartphones to access the internet. To maximize your fundraising, you must make your website mobile-friendly. Research shows that internet users are 5 times more likely to abandon an online search if the website is not mobile-optimized. If you want as many internet users to donate to your cause, they must be able to access your website from their smartphones. Make it easy for them to access information about your school, past fundraisers, and most importantly, the DONATION form.
There are millions of routes you can take to maximize your fundraising potential. Consider some of these best strategies to raise more dollars and achieve your fundraising goals. Give them a try and you will succeed at your next fundraiser.
If you are looking for a fundraising partner to help you engage with donors and raise money, look no further than LeanStream. Check out the fundraising solutions we have to help you in your noble cause to support education for our students. Contact our support team for any queries.