Raise your hand if you’ve sold products door to door to raise money for a school club or organization.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever purchased wrapping paper from a student or school fundraiser to support a school-related program.
Raise your hand if you sponsored an athlete by donating to their fundraiser (maybe an email appeared in your inbox asking for your support).
Raise your hand if you were asked to buy something for a school fundraiser, but, in turn, you asked if you could just make a flat donation because you didn’t need another item entering your house or office.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked, “Can we just make a one-time ask for the whole year vs. hosting a school fundraiser for every season of the year?”.
If you raised your hand at least once, thank you for supporting our schools, students, and teachers!
If these things are such a hassle, you might be asking yourself, how else can we support our classroom teachers, club sponsors, and coaches who are the most valuable resources we have in education (along with our students)? How do you know what type of fundraiser to host? What are the most successful fundraisers? Do we ask our donors?
Why yes! Why wouldn’t we poll our donors (also known as our biggest supporters) to identify their preferred method of fundraising and giving? Stakeholders should be able to share feedback on what they will or won’t support when it comes to school fundraisers. You definitely don’t want to put a lot of time and effort into an event or project that won’t yield a good return on your investment. Right?
Get Feedback, but whose?
So, start the planning process for fundraising by sending out a simple poll (whether it’s in print or online) asking your stakeholders and potential donors what type of event or fundraiser they would be willing to support. They will appreciate being asked for their feedback and suggestions.
But that leads to the next question, who are our stakeholders and donors? Don’t assume they are just your neighbors or those who live in your school district or community. Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to outreach - think global! You might be a little intimidated by the term “global” and you might be thinking “I don’t have time to go around the world asking for donations.”
Well, have no fear – travel is not required or involved with this task. I would be willing to bet that you have former students, alumni, grandparents, and supporters that possibly reside all over the world.
How are we engaging our alumni – those who have a personal and deep connection with you and/or your program. They know your purpose and your mission. They were once involved in the program or organization that you now oversee. So, it’s not a cold call – it’s a hot call!
I think it would be fair to say that most alumni want to pay it forward. Someone supported them when they were in elementary school, high school, etc., and made a difference for them so, why wouldn’t they want to do the same? Your Alumni may be scattered across the globe, and that’s okay… Here’s a great example from one of our clients:
In chatting with one of our clients, a high school band director, I learned about a recent donation he received from one of his former band students. I was fascinated by this story and asked permission to reach out to his former student so that I could learn more about their “why”. I’m always curious about a person’s motivation for making a donation.
When asked the question: What made you want to donate to this particular cause? The former band student responded…
“Like most kids who participated in high school band, the BRHS band program changed my life and shaped who I am as an adult. Having the stability of a guaranteed friend group through the rough high school years and having band directors I trusted and who understood my home situation probably saved me from making many bad choices. A band director is a teacher you get to keep for all four years so it is inevitable to form a relationship! Now that I have been an educator (a music educator at that!) for over 15 years, I can see how the band program shapes so many young lives in a positive way. I donated so money would not be a barrier to the benefits of a band program for at least one child.”
Well, if that testimonial doesn’t get you a little choked up…
This testimony is a great example of paying it forward, supporting the new generation – the Now Generation. This is very similar to a loyalty program, your brand (as long as it’s a trusted and valued brand) counts! And, speaking of alumni, there are still class reunions taking place each year, online and in-person. Online class reunion groups pop up all the time on social media. Group members are encouraged to invite their fellow classmates to join the online conversation so everyone can keep in touch.
How are we engaging these class reunion groups? We have a great opportunity to reach out and connect alumni to our current cause.
Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Check out our on-demand webinar to get more insight on how you can increase funds for your school program or event and be on the lookout for our next webinar, "Building connections and relationships: The value of developing partnerships with small businesses and corporations" scheduled October 20, 2021.
If you need any help regarding your fundraising events, feel free to reach out to LeanStream for our personalized guidance. We also have an inclusive variety of fundraising solutions that have helped fundraisers achieve their funding goals quickly!