Fundraising Best Practices for Schools 

fundraising best practices for schools

Schools use fundraisers to help build budgets for essential facilities and programs, from renovations to arts initiatives. As you begin planning your next campaign, knowing the school fundraising best practices can help your institution streamline and maximize efforts and donations. 

Participate in the Season of Giving 

The giving season starts at the end of the year when people become more charitable and organizations try to wrap up annual goals. This period usually begins right after Thanksgiving, when people are grateful for what they have and want to give back to their communities and other organizations. 

Your school can benefit from the increase in interested donors by running a season of giving campaign. This option is an excellent way for your school to start the new calendar year right and better serve your student population at the start of the new semester. With winter break approaching, you can use the time with students absent to conduct essential repairs, add new facilities, or install new fixtures in classrooms. 

When planning a season of giving fundraiser, you can implement these tips to increase its success: 

  • Communicating progress: Encourage donating throughout the season of giving by offering progress updates. Thermometer gages and other visuals allow your donors to see how their efforts contribute to your goals. Frequent announcements and written updates show people how close you are to completing the goal and inspire them to participate. 
  • Thanking donors: Regardless of the time of year, your donors want to feel appreciated. During the season of giving, you work with feelings of gratitude and gratefulness by going above and beyond to thank and appreciate anyone who has helped your cause. You might increase volunteer and donor spotlights, give out bigger incentives, or throw events solely for thanking donors. 
  • Throwing community events: People spend more time with their loved ones in the winter holidays. You can appeal to this idea by creating opportunities for your school community to gather and interact through various events. Create a greater sense of connection between individuals and your cause, helping boost donations. 

While developing marketing content for your season of giving campaign, you can design materials with holiday and seasonal content. Even if you are working toward an annual goal, season campaigns can help create a sense of urgency and connect to personal motivators for donating. 

Sell What Donors Want to Buy 

Many school fundraising events involve selling goods and giving the proceeds to your cause. Student organizations or parent-teacher associations (PTAs) might plan and execute sales with goals for awareness and fundraising. These events are great ways for your school community to get involved and participate in your fundraising campaigns, but you should also continue to consider community and donor needs. 

Whenever you are selling a good or service in exchange for donations, you should always aim to offer something your donors will want. Products and services that donors need little convincing to buy will be more effective and require fewer marketing materials, optimizing your profits and event success. Consider specific things your community needs, like car washes or mowed lawns, or products everyone loves, like raffle tickets and bake sales. 

Adjust your standards to your audience and donor population. Quality research into their needs, wants, and motivators can help your organization develop events and donation opportunities that appeal to potential donors and boost retention. Analyze past campaigns and events for ideas, seeing what did well and how that might translate into donor needs or desires. 

Choose Incentives Wisely 

Incentives help motivate donors to give and improve donor retention rates. With several incentive options for schools and other organizations, you should know how to choose and market goods and prizes effectively to optimize your school’s fundraising tactics.  

school fundraising

1. Merchandise

Many schools develop reward tiers that donors can work toward during the campaign, determined by how much they give. At each level, you can offer various pieces of school merchandise as their incentives. These options are great for schools because they naturally increase school spirit and can apply to students, families, teachers, administration, and other community members who want to show off their love for your school. You can offer:  

  • Water bottles
  • Keychains
  • Shirts 
  • Sweatshirts
  • School and office supplies

This incentive type can also function as free advertising for your school because it will include your institution’s name, colors, logos, or mascots to help promote pride. You can update your merchandise to reflect your specific campaign, incorporating colors, slogans, and names to help spread awareness and create demand for limited-time items. 

2. Raffle Tickets

Raffle tickets encourage people to get involved while offering the chance to receive a good or service. This sale type is effective because it creates demand with limited winners and items available. You can boost sales by encouraging individuals to purchase more tickets — bulk tickets can bring in more donations while increasing someone’s chances of winning your prize. 

Raffles work great for in-person events where you have other activities. You might have a carnival set up with different games and activities where donors can participate, or you can use a raffle as an intermission or closing activity for presentations and performances. When you have a raffle as your event’s finale, you can encourage individuals to stay for its entire duration to boost retention and engagement. 

3. Auction Items

Like raffles, auctions can get individuals excited and engaged in your cause. With silent and online options, you can adjust your auction to meet your event needs and create a unique experience each time. Auctions can help schools bring in more funds and donations because you can set items and baskets at higher prices, and betting generates more demand and urgency. 

When making your bundles, aim to diversify your offerings. If your items appeal to more interests and needs, you can reach more potential donors for increased engagement. You can create excitement for your event and specific items with the right marketing strategy. Publishing some of your items can persuade people to attend and spend their money on your school. 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

If you want to encourage students to get involved in your school fundraiser, peer-to-peer fundraising effectively engages volunteers and donors. With this method, participants set individual fundraising goals and share donation collection pages online with their families and friends. Students can customize these pages to show their connection with the cause, making them incredibly effective marketing materials. This option allows your school to reach more donors, like out-of-state family members and grandparents. 

Account for your School Fundraisers using MIP Fund Accounting®

For more successful school fundraisers, you need the right tools to manage funds and track progress. MIP Fund Accounting® offers accounting software for schools, helping you leverage data to run powerful campaigns that support your needs and cause. 

MIP® Cloud is a secure and reliable solution you can access from any device for increased visibility. The advanced tracking and reporting processes help schools understand their financial progress and needs for more impactful fundraising campaigns. 

Request a demo today and discover how implementing accounting software is among school fundraising best practices. 

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