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Essentials of a Successful School Fundraiser

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When you need to raise money for Homecoming or other special school events, a fundraiser is often in order. School fundraisers take a lot of time, energy, and money to execute, so you want to make sure you get the best results you can for each one. Make sure your school fundraiser is a huge success by incorporating these essential elements into each one you do.

A Realistic Budget

Almost all fundraising events will require some sort of monetary investment, with the hope that you will turn a profit and make money on top of what you put in. It’s important to know how much money you have to work with for whatever you want to do for a fundraiser. If you plan to sell products, you’ll need money to purchase them. If you plan to fundraise through events, you’ll need money for supplies and overhead costs. Be sure that your fundraising efforts can hold up with the amount of money you have to work with.

A Fundraising Goal

Setting a goal for the amount of money you want to raise can help you make realistic decisions and keep you on track. The amount of money you can realistically expect to raise will depend on the type of fundraiser you are planning. If you are planning to sell T-shirts or water bottles to students and staff at your school, you’ll probably raise less money than if you put on a community wide spaghetti supper. It’s important that your fundraising goal align with your fundraising method(s).

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A Great Team

The biggest secret to a successful fundraiser is a great team of people who are committed to the cause. You’ll want a large and dedicated group of parents, teachers, and students that includes these four main types:

  • The People-person– the one who gets out there and talks to people to spread the word and/or solicit donations
  • The Money-whisperer– someone to keep the books and keep everyone on track
  • The Planner – the detail oriented volunteer who makes sure everything runs like clockwork
  • The Worker Bees – the ones who execute the plans of action


Creative Events and Activities

The more people who donate/buy/or come out for your fundraiser, the more money you will make. In order to ensure high engagement, be creative about what kind of fundraisers to hold. Standard sales are fine, but consider holding a fun event, like a talent show or chore auction, that your students, staff, and community can get excited about. The bigger the turnout, the bigger your profit.


Clear Communication

Set up a social media site or website for your fundraising team, and designate someone to maintain it. Have regular, in-person meetings to go over important information, and post updates on the website or social media in between meetings to keep everyone up to speed on your progress. Also, update social media sites that are open to the public to keep them in the loop about events that are coming up.


A Contingency Plan

Be sure to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. If you’re doing a sales fundraiser, order product as early as possible in case you have to return or exchange something. For an event fundraiser, decide what you will do if it rains, the venue falls through, or you don’t have enough food. Think about all possible scenarios and what the plan of action is if they occur.


Once your fundraiser is all wrapped up, it can’t be considered a success until you thank the people who helped make it successful. Present a small token of gratitude to everyone on the committee who worked so hard to make the fundraiser happen, or list their names on your school’s website. Reach out to donors and business sponsors, too, and thank them for their contributions to your school.


To ensure you get the most bang for your buck at your school fundraiser, be sure to incorporate these essential elements. 

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