If you’re having trouble with encouraging your school community to participate in a fundraiser, you’re not alone. Motivating those within the school community to join in and play an active role in any fundraising event is hard work. This can be down to people not knowing what to do, are busy with work, don’t want to take on a huge role or being unclear about how their child or school will benefit from the fundraiser.
Unfortunately, for a fundraiser to be successful, it needs to have the buy-in and full support from the school community, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today.
Ways to Encourage Your School Community to Participate in a Fundraiser
A school receives money from the Ministry of Education, donations and any fees it charges. Problem is, that money is almost never enough. Many schools are unable to afford a new playground, replacing the carpet in a classroom, updating the bathrooms or building a new administration area. The funds to pay for these projects needs to be sourced elsewhere, and that’s where fundraisers come into play.
Encouraging people to participate in a fundraiser for your school is hard work, but well worth the effort. Here are a few suggestions on raising participation levels:
- Make certain you have a clear fundraising strategy – a fundraising strategy is a written plan which explains the goals and activities for fundraising within your school. It lets everyone get onto the same page, understanding the timeframe, the mission statement, who is and needs to be involved and the fundraising methods. It is a great place to let community members gain a solid understanding about the types of things they could expect to see, hear and participate in.
- Be clear in your fundraising goal – remember how we talked about the importance of having a fundraising story? That is, the specific reasons as to why you are holding this fundraiser, how much you want to raise and who will benefit? That’s the type of information you need to pass on to prospective volunteers to help them understand the reasons why they should join in.
- Have established a set timeline for the fundraiser and participation – people are often reluctant to step up and help if they are unclear on how much time it will take. If you set a timeline for the fundraiser and give plenty of options for time commitment, many people are happy to participate then.
- Give plenty of notice – life is busy and many people will need to rearrange schedules in order to participate in a fundraiser. This is where it is a good idea to have your dates set and known at the start of the year, or at least three months in advance.
- Make a list of tasks to be done and roles to fill – people love choice, and if you have a variety of tasks they can select from, participation is likely to increase. Within these tasks or roles, list the types of skills that are required so that it is clear what will be expected of the volunteers.
- Set a monetary goal for the fundraiser – let the community know the exact amount of money you are wanting to raise, plus an ongoing tally as you go. This will not only give them the information they can pass on to donors, but also help them to see the benefits of their efforts and motivate them to keep going.
- Reward volunteers – from saying thank you in person or via the phone, through to supplying a cup of coffee or a morning tea shout, acknowledging and rewarding volunteers for their efforts is always appreciated. It demonstrates that you do not take their assistance for granted and makes them feel good. This can also make them willing to help again in the future.
- Use clear communication channels so everyone receives the same message – it can be very hard to ensure everyone receives the same messages, especially when dealing with the wider community. Setting up one point of contact and one way of communication helps keep things simple and clear for all involved.
- Reach out to a wide social network – while it may be hard to get working parents to help, there are often extended family members who are more than willing to help out. Reach out to those aunts, uncles, grandparents and others associated with your school families to see if they are able to assist.
- Keep everyone updated – one of the best ways to motivate your volunteers is to let them know what is happening. By seeing that their actions are making a difference, people are usually more than willing to continue to put in the effort for the fundraiser.
As well as wanting volunteers to help with your fundraising, you will also want large numbers of people to attend any fundraising events you are hosting. We’ll cover how to do that next.
Increasing Participation at Fundraising Events
It’s a Saturday night and your school fundraiser is ready to roll. Except that less than a third of the number of predicted attendees have arrived. A lack of participation at fundraising events can be due to the same reasons of being busy, unsure of what is involved and not clear on why the fundraiser is occurring. This means you will need to be clear to the community as to the reasons the event is being held, who will benefit from their attendance and what will happen at the event that will impact them.
To increase attendance at the event, you could also try:
- Reaching wide and far – social media is a fabulous tool to let people outside of your immediate school community about what is happening – and invite them to attend.
- List the benefits for attendees – they know the reasons why you are hosting the event, but what about what they’ll receive by attending? Things such as a fun evening, chance to win prizes or meeting the beneficiaries in person are good benefits.
- Personally inviting people – while you alone can’t do this, your wider team of volunteers can invite people face to face.
- Supplying nibbles – people love eating, so put on some nibbles at your event. It can be tricky with the alcohol though, so be sure to check your local council rules on supplying alcohol.
- Buy one get one free – a promotional ticket option could get people keen on purchasing more tickets.
- Choose a great date – it can be useful to ask your community for a selection of dates that best suit them. Then work with the most popular options for your fundraising events.
We’d love to help make your fundraiser a success, and we know that selling the right products definitely increases this! Our range of eco-friendly fundraising products are loved by school communities around the country, so grab yourself a free copy of our catalogue and take a look at how you can meet your school’s financial goals this year!