Although fundraising seems like a frequent and simple task, there are far too many common mistakes made while running one. That’s where I come in: This is your 10 step guide to running a successful fundraiser.

1. Reasons for Fundraising
Without a will there is no way. Whether your school needs a new playground, a cheaper field trip or new sports equipment a fundraiser is the way to go. If you’re raising just for some extra money, people are less willing to participate. If, however, there is a good reason to fund raise, to better benefit the children, participants will be much more generous. A reason is the key aspect of school fundraising because without a reason, there is no real need for the fundraiser.

2. Fundraising Personnel
There are many decisions to be made, and responsibilities to be taken: fundraisers wouldn’t function without volunteers. The PTA or PTO generally organize these events and as a team a successful fundraiser could be held. Without the fundraising personnel, certain key aspects wouldn’t be worked out such as:

* Picking the fundraiser * Sending out order forms * Collecting/depositing money and * Delivery

It is up to a great team to meet your goals, which brings me to my next point…

3. Goals
Unrealistic goals can bring plenty of disappointment. Set goals that are appropriate; base these goals on your past fundraisers, children’s general motivation etc. A major problem is setting goals that don’t seem worth even trying for. A reasonable goal that all teachers, parents and children could manage will lead to confidence, a key sales skill!

4. Products
Products are also very important in a fundraiser. Selling child-adult appropriate products such as books or cookie dough are far more popular than say, socks. Picking the right company with the appropriate products can mean more sales, and we all know what more sales means.

5. Decide how to raise the money
There’s the old fashion door-to-door, there’s also product sales through catalog, or a classic bake sale. Some ways can be more successful than others; if you have friendly and generous neighbors, the door-to-door is best. Bake sales are good but don’t generally make as much money. Once you’ve decided your products, and how to raise the money, you can begin to promote your fundraiser.

6. Promotion
If nobody knows that there is a fundraiser, what are the chances that they’ll participate. The more advertising done, the more successful your event will be. With tons of advertising, two benefits come along: Firstly, the idea gets stuck in their head, guilting them to buy more. The other benefit is that the more they know about the fundraiser, the more willing they are to pay up. Knowing details reassures them, and lets them feel more in charge. By knowing exactly where the money is going etc. they are more free with their money. Also, the fundraiser needs to be promoted to the children, to excite them, getting the pumped up to succeed!

7. Media
Media can help you earn some more cash, if you’re even simply mentioned in a local newspaper, more customers will notice this, and urge to donate/purchase. By simply drawing up a press release, more promotions will be made. Being on TV can also excite and encourage the students.

8. Asking Questions
Asking yourself appropriate and important questions are very important especially when it comes to hidden costs:

* What is the guarantee for the product? * Is there/what is the shipping cost? * How much profit per item do we receive? * When will we receive our payment? * What type of payments will be accepted? * How long until the products arrive? * How will they be sorted and packaged for delivery? * What are our deadlines?

9. Timing
If one neighbor is visited at 4pm by student A and decides to buy 2 chocolate bars to support A’s fundraiser, when student B comes at 4:30pm, he’d of already bought what he wanted. This theory also works on a larger scale; therefore, the sooner your fundraiser is done (in the fall) the better. In order to have as much revenue as possible, a second-third week of September fundraiser will be a great success. Also this way the students don’t need to freeze in the later months! Timing is also important to ensure payments are all received on time and shipments all meet their deadlines. Timing has to do with organization, bringing me to my final step to a successful fundraiser.

10. Organization
We have been taught to organize since kindergarten, so this seems like a simple thing to do, however as members of PTA etc. many projects on the go can mean being disorganized. Not all the responsibility can be put on the kids – Teachers must have the kids obey all deadlines to ensure easy communication with the company and with the parent-customers.

Bonus #11: Have fun!

About the Author

Andie Campbell is a marketing associate at Green Students Fundraising. She has a passion for the environment and business and is a school fundraising expert.

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