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Intro to Fundraising:
You Need to Raise Money,
Now What?

by Jenny Ann


Your fundraising efforts can either be a source of frustration or a unity-building way to make much needed money for your group -- so it is important to make the right choices, plan ahead, set a timeline, and rally the troops to make it a success. Included: Tips for fundraising success.

Youve been tasked with organizing your school or organizations next fundraiser.
Now what?
Running a successful fundraising campaign is easier than you think. With some advance planning, good delegation, the right fundraising idea, and the support of your group members -- you are on your way to raising the funds needed for your group. With those things, and the following tips, your fundraiser should be profitable and stress-free.


Research fundraising ideas. Before you get started, take some time to research fundraising ideas. Different fundraisers are better suited to different situations. If you are short on time, you will want to select a fundraiser that doesnt require lead-time so you can maximize the time you have raising money. If you are ordering fundraising products from a fundraising company, make sure you ask them when you can expect delivery.


Here is a small sampling of some of the most popular fundraisers.

Order-taking fundraisers. Cookie dough, Auntie Annes Pretzels, wrapping paper, magazines, pies, flower bulbs, candles

Event or activity fundraisers. casino night, pancake breakfast, chili cook-off, carnival, wine tasting, jog or walk-a-thon

Money-saver fundraisers. Spinners, scratch cards, discount cards, entertainment books, or pizza cards

Consider the community. Consider what types of fundraisers parents and community members will be most excited about and willing to support. For some schools and groups, event fundraisers such as carnivals or silent auctions or raffles are a great option. Those fundraisers require a lot of work behind the scenes, but in the end they can be very profitable and enjoyable. They are worth considering if your school has active parent participation and work can be delegated.

Group size is a factor. A large school or group, for example, wouldnt maximize their profits doing a car wash fundraiser; but for a smaller group, such as a cheerleading squad, that could be a great fundraiser with minimal effort. Schools tend to have great success with discount card fundraisers and cookie dough fundraisers as they are able to get the best deals on the fundraising product based on the quantity they purchase. The larger the quantities of product purchased, the cheaper the cost and higher the profit.

Consider the age of the sellers. The age of your students or group members can make a big difference in the type of fundraiser. Choose a fundraiser that is age appropriate. If it will require parent involvement, to ensure success be sure you have the commitment of the parents involved.


Now that you have chosen your fundraiser, know that its the right one for your school or group, and have everyone on board and committed to doing it

If you have chosen an event fundraiser, anticipate some planning and meetings to delegate different aspects of the event. Events have a lot of moving parts, so be sure you have an organized plan and time to make it work. If you are doing a product fundraiser, you can leave most all of the prep work up to the fundraising company. You will simply order products like candy, Spinners, scratch cards, discount cards or order forms for cookie dough fundraising or Auntie Annes pretzel fundraising. When the selling materials arrive, you can focus on the most important thing -- setting the timeline and motivating your group.

Youve heard the wisdom measure twice, cut once. That definitely applies to fundraising: having a distinct plan for execution will increase the probability of success.

Be aware of your timeline.
It is important to have a timeline when it comes to planning your fundraiser. Some fundraisers will require more lead-time than others. Make yourself aware of the school calendar and holidays so that you can factor them in. Plan around holidays -- especially with order-taking fundraisers so that you know you will be available to receive and deliver product, especially perishables!

You should set strict start and end dates with periodic check-ins during the fundraiser to assess how your students or group members are doing and if they are meeting goals. If you dont have an end date, there is no compelling reason for your members to push and get out there to raise money. If you are doing an event or activity fundraiser like a bake-off or casino night -- anticipate the time that it will take to get all the things you require to promote and to make the event a success.

Motivate the troops.
One of the biggest keys to the success of your fundraiser is motivating the students or group. If you dont feel you can motivate your group, delegate that responsibility to someone who can! That person will be responsible for encouraging sellers, setting goals for them, and ensuring they know what the funds will be used for. Make students accountable for a portion of the fundraiser whether it is an activity or product sales. Its great if you can offer small prizes for top fundraisers -- a pizza party for the class that raises the most money or an extra few minutes of recess for those who sell the most raffle tickets or

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A great way for the group to stay on the same page during the fundraiser is to use a fundraising thermometer. Simply post one on your groups website or a Facebook page created for your fundraiser so that everyone can check in to see how much harder they have to push and sell to reach their goal.

If getting people to participate is a challenge, involve parents and inform them of the reasons for the fundraising. It helps when they understand the consequences for the school or group -- such as program cuts or out-of-pocket money required -- if the fundraising is not successful.

Your fundraising efforts can either be a source of frustration or a unity-building way to make much needed money for your group -- so it is important to make the right choices, plan ahead, set a timeline, and rally the troops to make it a success.

About the Author
Jenny Ann is an expert fundraiser and currently works for ABC Fundraising. She sets up school fundraisers nationwide. If you found this article helpful, please visit ABC Fundraising for more great tips and fundraising ideas.

More Fundraising Articles
For more articles on fundraising and unique fundraising ideas, be sure to visit Education Worlds Fundraising article archive.

Article by Jenny Ann / ABC Fundraising
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 08/05/2010