Thou Shalt Promote Thy Program ...
by the AFRDS
Ten ways to better fundraising results
(as found on the Internet)
- Mark your calendar. Provide a complete fundraising schedule at the beginning of the year to avoid surprises. This keeps parents and students apprised of launch dates, deadlines for turning in orders/money, and estimated time of delivery for products.
- Try two-in-one approach. Get more power for your dollar bytaking advantage of regularly scheduled school events - e.g. football games, PTA/PTO meetings, teacher conferences - and be sure to display products from your current fundraising campaign, to garner more sales.
- Work on the sales pitch. Advanced preparation, before anyone begins a fundraising effort, includes writing out a sales message that focuses on your organization's specific need. It could be three simple sentences: one states the need, one presents the product, and one asks for the order. Practice it.
- Give, and get in return. Offer family and/or parent incentives for participating, such as dinner at a local restaurant or a raffle ticket to win a weekend getaway at a nearby destination.
- Make use of the newspaper. Promote the fundraising activity(event or product program) in the community calendar of your local newspaper. Write a press release citing the who, what, when, where and why of your program; it may be picked up by the paper to further awareness - and participation - in the program. A follow-up story on what the money was used for is in order. Also invite coverage with photo ops at the event or at the unveiling of what was funded.
- Win with the Web. Use the school Web site to announce the program, communicate your goals, thank your sponsors, recognize successes, honor individual contributors, highlight periodic or holiday offerings, and more. Promote your Web site on all your printed materials.
- Pull out all the stops. Use all available means of increasing aware-ness of your group's efforts including outdoor boards, e-mail lists, phone calling tree, newsletter, flyers, posters, bulletin boards, recorded hotline messages, etc.
- Rely on more resources. Fundraising guru Jean C. Joachim's book Beyond the Bake Sale: The Ultimate School Fund-Raising Book is angled at parents, but it is also a good resource for principals.
- Say "thanks" with decals and stickers. Get the word out to the community that you have a strong support base. Offer free sponsorship decals to supporting merchants and bumper stickers to volunteers and participants that say, "Proud Supporter of _____."
- Build ongoing relationships. Fundraising is about relationships and getting people interested and emotionally involved in what your organization does. You do that by telling stories about who you have helped, about the obstacles overcome, and about the successes achieved. Personal letters and school newsletters sent to the community can accomplish this.
About the Author: This article is from the Fall 2004 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers and is reprinted with permission. Visit their web site at afrds.org for more information and a look at the complete issues of the Fundraising Edge.
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