When my child showed an interest in playing in the school marching band, I had no idea that I was making a commitment to quarterly fundraising. However that was exactly what happened. We live in south Alabama in Mobile County. Our school district is massive and apparently, supporting music departments isn’t a priority in some of the schools, unfortunately ours was one such school. As a member of the band booster club, I pledged to provide financial support to keep the band supplied with all the things it needed. I quickly found that successful fundraising takes thorough planning and some organization throughout the fundraising campaign. During my two years of working with the school band, I learned some important points about fundraising.
First, choose fundraisers that band boosters get behind. Even if you have a great fundraising idea, if your group won’t get behind it, you won’t see the success you need. (I learned this the hard way with a failed candle sale.) Talk about your goals with the group and discuss which fundraisers will work best for you. It’s good to brainstorm ideas at the beginning of the year and schedule them as you go. Since kids will be involved in selling, make sure you offer items that kids and adults both will enjoy. I found this especially helpful, connect with members who have experience fundraising. That’s crucial for success.
Work closely with the fundraising companies. When I had a question, I didn’t just guess; I put those reps to work. Sometimes you can negotiate for a greater percentage or even some free products. Start by sharing your goal with the rep and plot a strategy with the band fundraising team. It’s not likely that one or two fundraisers will meet the need. Divide the total need up among the fundraising ventures.
Create excitement about each fundraiser with a pep rally or some type of party. You really do need to have a kick off event. Ask the fundraising company to come and demonstrate the prizes and talk about your goals. Make sure it is clear to everyone when monies and orders are due. Never place orders without first collecting the money. It’s not a good idea.
Plan to contact the fundraisers (that’s the kids and parents) at the beginning of the project, halfway through and at the end. Offer selling tips and advice. Talk about their progress but don’t tell anyone who’s first on the selling list. Sometimes kids will quit trying when they don’t believe they will win. It’s a lot of work but you’ll probably find it necessary.
Cross the T’s and dot the I’s when comes to tallying up orders. Pay attention to the details when it comes to determining winners. Promptly report how much money you raised to your group and celebrate with a follow-up pep rally. Give public thanks to everyone who helped make the fundraiser a success.
I won’t say that it is easy, it’s not but it is worth it.