Many organizations think that the product is what determines how much they can raise, but experience tells a different story. Promotion, not product has the greatest impact on how much an organization can raise. Our company works with many similar organizations fundraising with similar or identical products but the groups that raise the MOST money are consistently doing many of the following:
1. Focus on the goal. If, for example, it’s playground equipment, make it clear in all your communications that what you are trying to achieve is better playground equipment for your membership. Make displays, posters, bring in photographs of the equipment you wish to purchase, etc. The same applies to other items you may want to purchase. If it is transportation, equipment or an event, create a visual image of the goal and make sure everyone sees it and hears about it.
2. Recognize individuals for their involvement. Approach your project with the goal of 100% of your members taking part in the activity. Everyone can sell 1 item or bring in 1 donation, no matter how small. Reward participants appropriately for their level of participation but make sure you reward ALL those that participate. Make it FUN!
3. Recognize teams within your organization. Classes, grade levels, teams all share common needs and should be recognized. Competition can become infectious and exciting so making a game or contest between teams can really push results high. Make it FUN!
4. Get feedback and use the information proactively. If you have a fixed amount of time of your fundraising drive, it is crucial that you be able to track the success (or lack of) throughout your project. Use something as simple as a show of hands in each classroom of those that have taken orders and recording that number on a thermometer chart daily. Stress that the goal is 100% participation and ask for members to share how they have been able to achieve success so far. Encourage others to become involved. There are many other ways to monitor and measure but one thing is certain…if you don’t know where you are you aren’t likely to get where you want to be!
5. Ask for what you want. A recent survey of parents conducted by the fundraising industry association found that the number one reason given for why they didn’t participate was “I wasn’t asked!”. Over 80% of parents responded that they would like to support their school fundraiser but industry averages of participation are often below 50%. If you want to move your participation up, then a simple way of doing so is to make a personal request of EVERY family. Set up a committee to make phone calls at the beginning of the project asking each family to participate. After your orders begin to come in, make another call to those that haven’t turned in orders offering to extend the project a day or two so that you can reach your goal of 100% participation and remind them of the reason you are holding a fundraiser.
6. Finally, don’t forget to THANK everyone for participating in your efforts. Summarize your project and send thank you notes. Publicly recognize exceptional efforts. Show pictures of the things you are able to purchase or provide with your funds.