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5 Steps to Holding a Successful School Fundraiser

Most non-public schools need to raise funds on a yearly basis, whether for general operating expenses, scholarships, special needs, or sports, clubs, and activities. These yearly fundraising campaigns take any number of shapes, from product sales to fundraising events to straight fundraising appeals. No matter what method your school chooses, chances are you will rely on volunteers to lead and run your effort.
Over the years, I’ve heard from many volunteer fundraising leaders who don’t know where to start in raising money for their child’s school. After talking with the school’s administration, they feel like they are on their own, without a step by step guide for their efforts. If you’re the school staff member serving as a liaison for these fundraising efforts, don’t leave your volunteers out in the cold. Share with them these five steps for holding a successful school fundraiser:
1. Choose Your Program
The school you are working with may or may not have chosen a fundraising program that they would like to use as part of your effort. If they haven’t, it’ll be up to you to investigate your options and choose a program that will both work well for your particular school and provide a good return for your efforts. Your choices are endless, from selling chocolates or wrapping paper to doing fundraising mailings, holding an event, or simply gathering a team to make asks. Don’t get bogged down deciding… investigate, choose, discuss your choice with the school to get their blessing, then get to work!
2. Develop a Plan
Too many parent fundraising leaders make the mistake of starting a new campaign without making a plan – this is one of the biggest reasons why school fundraisers fail. Before you begin, figure out how you’ll run your effort, what the costs and possible returns will be, what support systems will be needed for your volunteers, and how you will market the fundraising campaign. Your best bet is to develop a short written fundraising plan before you begin.
3. Choose Your Team
The people helping you on your effort can make or break your fundraising campaign. Find other parents, teachers, and student leaders (if needed) who are willing to work hard and with a cheerful attitude to make your event or campaign succeed.
4. Train Your Team
Next to the failure to write out a plan, a failure to properly train the fundraising team is the biggest reason why fundraisers fail. Once you have your team in place, show them what needs to be done. Tell them how to sell tickets, or magazines, or ask for donations… whatever your effort requires. Answer their questions, and provide support to them throughout the fundraising campaign.
5. Track Your Success

As you move from planning into the actual fundraising, constantly track what works and what doesn’t, who is raising money and who isn’t, which volunteers are working hard, and which aren’t. Make adjustments midstream, if necessary, while adhering as closely as possible to the overall strategy you laid out in your plan. Stay on top of your campaign so you can guide it to success.
Joe Garecht is the editor of The Fundraising Authority, located on the web at http://thefundraisingauthority.com

by by Joe Garecht - 1/27/10

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Source: http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com