Fundraising events are often viewed as a dreaded task. It does not have to be that way. In fact, it can be FUN, with the right mindset and the right product to sell.
Optimally, a fundraising event help students experience three principles that we call the “3 Ps”: Pride, Purpose, and Passion. A fundraiser can create Pride or an emotional connection with all participants, where everyone is aware, focused, and energized in a common Purpose or objective, and most importantly, with the right messaging, infuse Passion. The power of the collective “we” can and will engage students to work together to accomplish a goal for the greater good.
While gearing up to hold a fundraiser can feel daunting, just a little planning will go a long way to alleviate worry and allow you to want to do the event on a regular basis. Choose a partner or company that truly wants to help you win. Keep it simple. Choose items to sell that best meet your specific needs as a brand (your school is a brand). Prevent frustration and chaos later in your process by considering early on the resources you’ll need for an in-person event.
There are a few additional things to consider early on. Will you be able to grow the exposure beyond the typical local geography? Also, can you cast a wider net as we are now more connected than ever before? Will the event reach major donors or the many motivated alumni? Finally, will the event be memorable, and can you put the “fun” back into fundraising?
Here’s a review of the 3 Ps and some tips on how to achieve them in your fundraising:
The world has become more and more driven by content and storytelling. This is even more important coming out of COVID, as many schools are having to reintroduce themselves and – to fill the gap created by the lack of in-person learning in some areas of the country – make their brand even more unique to attract prospective students.
As a result, your students will want to share the pride in their school by promoting the brand that they have aligned with through posting a video or challenge, and by being active players in any fundraising event rather than simply being order-takers. Fundraising efforts can be fun and productive rather than being a chore for either the school or a participant. Let everyone share in the pride and truly represent their colors.
Tip: Develop the story and content and convey a consistent message to the students, parents, and everyone who will become aware of your fundraiser. Use your school colors. Create a winnable challenge with clear goal setting. Tell your students how they can help achieve the goals. Allow for students to work as teams, rather than individually. They will learn how to become a team player and work together in achieving a common goal.
Without purpose, many things in life are doomed, which holds true for fundraising. If your group is not motivated in the first place to want to achieve a visible goal that celebrates the brand, it is likely that the outcome will fall short of expectations and monetary goals.
Clarify your goal and be specific as to how the fundraiser is going to help the community. For example, are you looking to support a special field trip, offset the cost of tuition increases in the future, add technology to classrooms, bring in a lecture series, support the arts or a sports program, or make some improvements to the school facility or possibly support a social justice cause? Clarity of purpose can alleviate fear of “the ask” and can energize the students, helping them to be more successful in their fundraising efforts.
In the end, a fundraiser is less about the specific item the person is buying to support the school and more about the broader commitment to support the community. Successful brands (your school is a brand), focus on a less-is-more strategy and the story is simple. Customers look for stories with a purpose they can connect with and feel good about supporting their community.
The third P and probably one of the most overlooked is passion. Passion represents commitment to the mission and goal, and the grit it takes to get there.
It is essential that there be a champion or cheerleader who will be relentless in communicating, encouraging, and keeping up the momentum. A fundraiser cheerleader should broadcast every day, for the duration of the fundraiser on social media, through the website, simple handwritten notes, or words of encouragement through a group text, such as “we can accomplish this together” instead of “we need you to sell at least five items.”
Being told to do something is not building motivation or passion. Too often, fundraisers are placed as an ask for “I” and not about “us” the community. People are excited to participate in working together for a successful outcome, especially when there’s a clear purpose that will benefit their community.
As educators looking to prepare young minds for success as they engage in the world, fundraisers provide opportunities for building and applying critical skills for students:
- Focus on a goal
- Team building
- School spirit
- Achieving a common goal for a greater outcome
- Financial literacy
- Experiencing success and rejection
Fundraisers are a wonderful opportunity to provide general life skills and the learning principles of social teaching. Working in solidarity toward a common good, with a clear purpose, and with pride and passion, you’re likely to have a fun and successful fundraiser.
This article is courtesy of Flame Fanatic Candles, www.flamefanatic.com. Their unique magical color change candles infused with a premium custom blended fragrance make an ideal fundraising item, and are customized just for your school or group to show your colors and burn bright with pride.