10 Tips for a Successful School Fundraiser

Ruthie Oland
November 17, 2014
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1. Think ahead and start your school fundraiser early. The earlier you start, the more money you can raise! Start planning your fall fundraiser in the summer and lay the groundwork for a smooth back-to-school season. Start thinking about your spring fundraiser after the new year so everyone is ready to go when the spring energy hits.

2. Build a good team. An effective team consists of folks that bring different skills to the table. Look for the:

a. People Person. Find someone who is great at sending out short, friendly reminders to the parent community throughout the fundraiser and rallying support.

b. Bean Counter. Find someone who is good at counting and keeping track of how the money is coming in.

c. Task Master. It’s important to have someone who can keep track of fundraising milestones. This person can be in charge of deadlines and keeping team members and the community on schedule.

3. Set clear goals for the money you raise.  What are you raising money for, and how much do you need? Clear goals will keep everyone motivated, focused and on track. And don’t forget to heavily promote your goal (new sports uniforms, a band trip, art supplies, etc.). It’s a huge incentive for the community to visualize what the students will get.

4. Pace yourself. Don’t try to do everything at once. Make up a clear and realistic timeline for the school fundraiser and a reasonable task list for volunteers. Then, stick to it, and don’t forget to make time to relax!

5. Keep everyone informed.  Clear communication keeps things moving and helps everyone avoid surprises. Give parents advance notice so they are expecting the fundraiser, remind students periodically before their orders are due, and give teachers specific instructions for collecting and accounting for orders. 

6. Get kids involved.  Our Classroom Activities will bring Fair Trade to life for your students. Coach them on talking points and conversation starters to help them introduce their cause to potential customers. You can also provide incentives like goodie bags or a pizza party for top-selling students or classrooms. School fundraising can be a great social skill-builder and a huge school spirit booster!

7. Relate the fundraiser to your values. Part of the reason you chose Equal Exchange is because of our mission. Share it with your community! There’s something for everyone to learn and appreciate about the values of Fair Trade and its impact on communities around the world. This is a valuable moment to demonstrate how you can make a difference near and far and work toward goals that benefit our global community.

8. Expand your reach. You can go beyond your own school community to gather support for your fundraiser. Most people will be delighted to help your school and receive amazing products in return. Take catalogs to your workplace, congregation, book club, or community events. Use the Equal Exchange Online Fundraiser in addition to the catalog to reach friends and family around the country who want to help.

9. Don’t forget to say “thank you.” Let your volunteers know you appreciate them with thank you cards from the kids or a luncheon at the end of the fundraiser. And thank your community supporters, too – thank you notes or community announcements can go a long way toward boosting spirit and encouraging folks to participate again next time.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. School fundraising can be easy and fun with the right approach and tools. If you have questions or need guidance, please don’t hesitate to call our Fundraising Expert Hotline: 508-427-5214. We’re here to assist you with the fundraising process so you can reach your goals. You can do this!

Learn More About Fair Trade School Fundraising