In a popular baseball themed movie, it’s said, “If you build it, they will come.” Perhaps that line should have been, “If you build it and you advertise it, they will come.” When it comes to school fundraising, nothing is more disheartening than a great fundraising idea that falls flat. You may have the best item in the world to sell to your community, but if your community doesn’t know about it, your fundraising efforts are likely to fall short.
In our last three blog entries, we’ve given you school fundraising ideas on creating a school store fundraiser, generating community involvement in schools through fundraising, and private school fundraising ideas. Now, we’d like to offer some helpful hints on marketing your fundraising efforts so your hard work—and the hard work of your teachers and students—isn’t in vain. Hopefully, these ideas will help make your next fundraising event a tremendous success.
Get the Word Out!
This may seem like a “no brainer” but if people don’t know about your fundraiser, they won’t support it. So, get the word out by using every communication tool possible. Place an article front and center on your school website. If your website CMS has the ability to add a homepage pop-up alert, add that for a few days. That way, visitors to your site are sure to see it. In addition to the website, plaster your message on your social media channels. Just remember, with social media, short and sweet is the best way to grab readers’ attention. Keep your social media messages simple. If you have mass messaging capabilities, emails, text messages, and voice messages are another great way to get your message out. And, don’t forget to go “old school” as well. Printed fliers are still a great way to get the word out. Send home fliers with your students, post them up around the campus, and post them in local businesses (with permission of course). In short, spread the message via any available communication tools you have.
Create a Specific Goal
You are more likely to garner community support for your fundraising efforts if people have a detailed idea of where their money is going. It’s okay to ask folks to support your school, but stating something along the lines of “Help us revamp our early elementary play area” or “Support the band in their efforts to get a new bass drum” will better spur people to action. When people know exactly where their money is going, they are more likely to contribute. Be as specific as you can when doing so. If you don’t have a specific project in mind then list activities that the school or organization is involved in like, “Help support our Glee Club. They provide musical entertainment for free for area nursing homes and other local charity events.”
Create a Sense of Urgency
Don't be shy about being “salesy.” It’s time to do what’s needed to get people to act. So, creating a sense of urgency to your fundraising marketing message can help. Use phrases like “Get them while they last” or “Limited quantities” or “Reserve your spot today before it’s too late.” While these phrases may sound cliche and, dare we say cheesy, they will help urge your community to act and purchase as quickly as they can.
Be Sure They Know HOW to Buy
To run a successful fundraising campaign, you need to remember to include specific information on how to participate in your fundraising efforts. The more details you provide on how and where to participate in your fundraising efforts, the better. People are more likely to buy or donate when they are presented with detailed instructions as opposed to having to seek out the information themselves. Share detailed information on, not only cost, but what forms of payments are accepted and where they can remit payment. In today’s age of online shopping, a link (or better yet a QR code) to an online purchasing site is ideal. It’s not only safe and secure, but it’s quick and easy for your customers.
Don't Forget the Follow-Up!
A simple “thank you” message after wrapping up your fundraising efforts will go a long way to create a loyal customer base, so don’t forget this crucial step. It can be as simple as posting a news story on your webpage about how much money was raised. If you were raising money for a specific purpose, then include pictures of what you were able to buy. Your community will feel a sense of pride knowing they helped. If you have an email messaging system that allows for importing and merging of fields, then a merged personal email thanking your customers by name and donation amount will surely impress them! Either way, this simple (yet often overlooked) task will help you with your next fundraising efforts.
What are you waiting for?
Start marketing your fundraisers and watch your sales take off!
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