A school fundraiser is a school-sponsored event that is held to raise money for materials or programs that the school needs. Schools and organizations hold fundraisers to make up for budgetary shortfalls and to gain extra funds for extracurricular activities and programs. Fundraisers are supported by staff, students, parents, PTO/PTA groups, and the community. One of the most important factors in holding a successful school fundraiser is getting the whole school involved in your fundraiser.
How do you get everyone involved?
#1 Choose the Right Fundraiser
First, choose the right fundraiser. Select a fundraiser that aligns with the school’s goals and values. Picking a versatile fundraiser that will raise enough funds for the program at hand is also important. And consider the fundraising options suitable for the entire school community. You want to get everyone involved, so make sure you pick a fundraiser that interests the most people.
For example, a Fine Arts charter school might choose an Art Auction Night to fundraise for one of its programs. A Fun Run might not be as interesting to the school populace. Send out questionnaires to find out what kind of fundraiser your community is interested in.
As reading is integral to any education, a ReadAThon is always a great fundraising choice. ReadAThons are equitable and inclusive, do not require selling, and keep the focus on learning, not just fundraising. ReadaFun software simplifies running a ReadAThon and makes it easy to get the whole school involved!
#2 Plan and Prepare
Not knowing what you’re doing is a surefire way to discourage engagement with your fundraising. Research the fundraisers you want to do, find out how to organize a fundraiser, and organize your thoughts into a cohesive plan.
There are some important questions you’re going to need to answer when planning your fundraising proposal. These include:
- What is the purpose of the fundraiser and why is it important for the school?
- What are your fundraising goals?
- What is involved in running this fundraiser?
- Who is going to be running the fundraiser and who will be participating?
- When will you run this fundraiser?
- Has this fundraiser been done in the past and did it do well?
Form a fundraising committee comprising staff, students, and parent volunteers. Get to know your committee and the strengths they bring to the table. Allocate responsibilities and tasks to individuals according to their strengths and interests, if possible.
Set clear goals and targets for the fundraiser. If you need $10,000, a $500 fundraising effort won’t do. Knowing how much you need to raise will help guide your other choices.
Create a timeline and schedule for the fundraising activities. You don’t want competing fundraisers clashing with each other. Having fundraisers back to back is also not a good idea. If you want the whole school involved, participants need to be fresh and enthused.
You do need to consider when the deadline is for raising funds. Planning a spring fundraiser for a fall need is not going to work out.
#3 Get Teachers on Board
Present the fundraiser idea to teachers and staff members. Explain how the fundraiser will benefit the school and its students.
Encourage teachers to incorporate the fundraiser into their classroom activities or curriculum. Offer support and resources to help teachers integrate the fundraiser effectively.
Platforms like ReadAFun make this process much easier by providing tools and resources to run a fundraiser smoothly.
ReadaFun’s Reading-Raiser software makes it easy for teachers to track data and get students involved. They can differentiate involvement, making participation enjoyable and equitable for everyone.
#4 Engage Students
Organize a kickoff event to generate excitement and enthusiasm among students. Educate students about the fundraiser’s purpose and how their participation can make a difference. Get students excited to participate and feel like valuable partners in the endeavor.
Create friendly competitions or incentives to motivate students. Provide students with fundraising tools and ideas to help them get started. Making it as easy and fun as possible to participate will go a long way.
Have teachers choose “ambassadors” for the fundraiser to go to each class and talk about it. Hearing details from a peer will motivate and interest students, as well as give participants agency.
Make sure you have appropriate rewards for participation! Junky plasticky toys don’t motivate anyone. Try a unique reward, like a limo ride to school for the 4 top performers. Canvass the school population for what they would like as rewards.
#5 Involve Families
Send out communication via flyers, mail, email and social media to families explaining the fundraiser and its goals. Encourage families to support and assist their children in fundraising efforts.
Host a family information session to address any questions or concerns. You can get this to coincide with another time families will be on campus or set it up separately. Just be mindful of people’s time limitations.
Organize parent volunteer opportunities during the fundraiser events. If your fundraiser looks fun, more people will want to be involved.
#6 Integrate the Fundraiser into School Events
Incorporate the fundraiser into existing school events, such as sports games, concerts, or parent-teacher conferences.
Set up fundraising booths or activities during school fairs or open days. Be a continual and enthusiastic presence.
Partner with student clubs, or other organizations to host joint fundraising activities. This will increase your reach and create a sense of community, as well as pool resources.
Your organization can work at a stadium during or after an athletic event as concession stand staff, ticket takers, or cleaners for a percentage of the sales or a flat fee. You can partner with another club or organization that shares your mission or interests and split the earnings with them.
You can challenge another club or organization to a friendly contest, such as a trivia night, a talent show, a bake-off, or a dodgeball game. You can charge an entry fee for participants and spectators, and offer prizes for the winners. You can also ask local businesses to sponsor the event or donate items.
If your club or organization has a specific skill or expertise, you can offer to teach it to others for a donation. For example, you can partner with a language club to offer conversational classes, a dance club to offer choreography lessons, or a science club to offer experiments. You can advertise your lessons on social media, flyers, or word-of-mouth.
By engaging with another school group you will increase participation.
#7 Recognize and Celebrate Achievements
Regularly update the school community on the progress of the fundraiser. Using social media in a targeted way is a key step here. This will engender enthusiasm and inspire more people to take part.
Acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of individuals or groups with pictures and videos for students and families to share. Use hashtags to target and expand your audience. Encourage families to like and share.
Organize a closing ceremony or event to recognize everyone’s contributions and thank participants. This will create goodwill and help smooth the way for the next fundraising event.
#8 Ensure Transparency and Accountability
Maintain clear and accurate records of all funds raised. This will not only build trust in your current fundraiser, it will make sure that the next group running it has data to work with.
Keep the school community informed about how the funds will be used. This will help stir up enthusiasm for the fundraiser, which leads to more participation.
Share the results and impact of the fundraiser after it concludes. This not only rewards those involved, it paves the way for future fundraising.
#9 Follow-up and Reflect
Conduct a post-fundraiser evaluation with the committee and key stakeholders. Identify areas of success and areas for improvement for future fundraisers.
Express gratitude to all participants, sponsors, and donors for their support. As always, some of your efforts are geared towards making future fundraising even more successful.
Tying It All Up:
The positive outcomes of getting the whole school involved in a fundraiser cannot be overstated. Not only will you raise more money, you will foster a sense of community and collaboration that will last beyond the fundraiser.
School fundraising creates a sense of ownership and pride in the school by involving parents, teachers, and students. It fosters relationships within the school community and with external partners, such as local businesses or charities.
Successful school fundraisers go beyond the school and strengthen community relationships and support. They teach participants important skills that go beyond academics and create memorable experiences.
At ReadaFun, we are dedicated to making fundraising using Read-A-Thons a successful and enjoyable experience for both schools and students. Our user-friendly platform provides the tools and resources needed to streamline the fundraising process, track reading progress, and facilitate secure online donations. With ReadaFun, PTO and PTA leaders can confidently organize a profitable Read-A-Thon that inspires students, empowers literacy, and leaves their community feeling proud and fulfilled. If you are interested in running a successful Read-A-Thon this year, feel free to contact us today! We would be more than happy to guide you through the process.