Top 4 School Fundraising Strategies


December 7, 2019

Many hands together with a heart painted on them, implying generosity

If there’s one thing students, faculty, and parents can all agree on, it’s that nothing is worse than having your school be unable to provide the necessary programs and tools you need for success.

Luckily, there are endless ideas for planning a creative and lucrative fundraiser guaranteed to secure the funds your school deserves.

Instead of sifting through this overwhelming sea of possibilities, we’ve taken the liberty of narrowing down the top four best fundraising tactics and recommendations to inspire your school:

  1. Parents’ Parties
  2. School Crowdfunding
  3. School Auctions
  4. Peer-to-Peer School Fundraiser

Some are simpler than others, but all of these fundraisers will build off your existing group networks to develop funds for vital educational needs like:

  • Private and public school projects
  • After school programs
  • Daycare facilities
  • Educational and extracurricular activities
  • Parent-teacher associations

No matter what your role is at your school, these brilliant and effective strategies are sure to earn you an A in your fundraising efforts!

1. Parents' Parties

One thoughtful fundraising idea is to celebrate all of the hardworking guardians at your school by throwing a much-deserved parents’ party.

This charming fundraiser centers around appreciating your school’s supportive team of parents by having students (and possibly staff) organize a fun, one-night-only event for their benefit.

Discover how you can bring this playful fundraiser to life by reviewing our best practices and examples of what defines a prime parents’ party.

How Does It Work?

In many ways, the beauty of a parents’ party fundraiser lies in its simple planning and execution. If you manage your budget right, it can even be easy on your wallet.

For a complete event breakdown, follow these key points:

  1. Book a Venue — Consider upscale locations like a renowned restaurant or event space.
  2. Set up Refreshments and Entertainment — Organize a potluck spread or local catering for food and drinks as well as active entertainment like music or party games.
  3. Charge an Admission Fee — Collect donations at the door and make sure to charge enough to not only break even, but turn a profit.

Work together as a team to create a feasible budget and delegate specific tasks to party committees like refreshments, decorations, and treasury.

Top Parents’ Party Recommendations

No matter how you decide to throw your epic parents’ party, the top planning concerns will most likely be the size of the facility, the number of people attending, the party budget, and the party theme.

To determine which parents’ party idea aligns best with your school fundraiser criteria, check out some of these creative examples:

  • Go Out to Dinner — Host your party at a local restaurant and arrange special parent discounts on select dishes.  
  • Catered Event — Rent a classy event space and have a top restaurant cater food and beverages.
  • Bowling/Mini Golf Night — Partner with one of these sporty businesses to give parents a fun and active night out.

Take advantage of large school spaces for hosting a cost-effective event, or team up with local businesses for a corporate match campaign where every donation of a certain amount is doubled by that organization.

Either way, your parents’ party attendees are bound to have a good time and raise enough funds your school’s latest project.

2. School Crowdfunding

If you’re looking for a fast and effective way to connect with donors, one opportunity your school should take advantage of is crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is a team fundraising initiative that involves targeting a large pool of people online to raise money for a massive project.

For tips on how to get started with this efficient and rewarding fundraiser, check out our crowdfunding expertise below.

How Does It Work?

First off, crowdfunding is a fast-paced and time-sensitive fundraiser ideal for racking up donations in an efficient manner.

Organize a sharp crowdfunding strategy for your school fundraiser with these steps:

  1. Set a Reasonable Goal — Establish a set fundraising goal and get to work with research and preparation.
  2. Develop a Crowdfunding Page — Build an engaging and easy-to-navigate webpage on an online crowdfunding platform to receive donations.
  3. Promote on Social Media — Broadcast your fundraiser with top social media marketing strategies.

Top Crowdfunding Recommendations

When it comes to managing a killer crowdfunding campaign, it’s usually best to observe how other notable fundraisers before you met or exceeded their donation goals.  

For ideas on how to get the most out of this school fundraiser, take a look at some of these recommended crowdfunding success stories:

  • A Handful of Keys — The Coloma Music Arts Organization used different giving levels and impactful photos to buy a baby grand piano.
  • Foresthill Wildfires Football — This football team used striking photos and clear donation details to upgrade equipment and transportation.
  • Send Autumn to D.C. — A student and her mother used adorable giving levels and frequent updates thanking donors to fund her school trip to D.C.  

Together, these crowdfunding campaigns utilized customized donation options, visual aids, and frequent updates to secure the funds they needed for community projects.

3. School Auctions

For an interactive way to raise money and band together your community, your school can’t go wrong with an auction fundraiser.

At a school auction, community members can donate funds to your educational cause by bidding on items live or online.

Learn how to prepare, advertise, and run an exciting and effective school auction with these essential tips.

How Does It Work?

There are multiple factors to consider when managing a school auction including the auction items, theme, and pick-up parties for unclaimed objects.

To make sure your auction runs as smoothly as possible, follow these foolproof steps:

  1. Rally Together a Staff — Recruit and divide your staff into various teams like the procurement team, auction monitors, tickets sales and school merchandise team, and, of course, the emcee or auctioneer.
  2. Organize Auction Items — Use personal connections to assemble top auction items like goody baskets, gift certificates, tutoring services, student-made artwork, and more.
  3. Advertise the Auction Catalog — Set up an online event site or physical catalog to promote items and share with donors.
  4. Set up the Auction Display — Decorate the event space with signs and an organized layout of auction items.

For bonus points, pair your school auction with a creative event theme from March Madness and the Oscars to beach days and outer space.

Top School Auction Recommendations

If your school has a venue, budget, and items to sell, then hosting a live auction, online auction, or silent auction is definitely the best way to go to fulfil your donation needs.  

To make sure you’re clear on what each type of auction entails, here’s a quick recap:

  • Live Auctions — The most traditional type of auction, these events involve an auctioneer directly interacting with donors who usually place bids with paddles.
  • Online Auctions — This option is convenient for busy donors who can browse and bid on items hosted on a website or review items left over from a silent auction.
  • Silent Auctions — This alternative has donors use bid sheets or mobile bidding software while exploring a room of items.

Though fast-paced and exciting, live auctions can require rigorous planning and execution. Additionally, because of their public nature, live auctions can sometimes be challenging for families with different socioeconomic backgrounds who may feel uncomfortable bidding in front of others.

That’s why, more often than not, a silent auction is most ideal for a school fundraiser because it encourages bidding through a peaceful and easy process. Plus, silent auctions partner well with online auctions, so you can raise even more money for your school!

4. Peer-To-Peer School Fundraiser

There’s no better way to utilize your community’s diverse skills and connections than through a dynamic peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.  

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign involves individuals creating personal online donation pages and reaching out to friends and family for contributions. These separate donation pages then feed into one main page associated with a larger organization.

Discover key strategies for running a dynamic and cost-effective peer-to-peer school fundraiser by examining the following advice.

How Does It Work?

Prized for their ability to promote your fundraiser across a network of personal connections, peer-to-peer fundraisers are perfect for securing funds for a school project that’s beneficial to everyone.  

To develop a memorable and efficient school peer-to-peer fundraiser, simply follow these steps:

  1. Set a Fundraising Goal — Determine a feasible fundraising goal for a universal, long-term school project.
  2. Recruit Volunteers — Enlist school volunteers to be a part of your online peer-to-peer fundraising network.  
  3. Set Up Donation Pages — Have each volunteer create a unique donation page bursting with eye-catching media that ties back to your school’s main donation page.
  4. Target Familiar Faces — Encourage your volunteers to connect with friends, neighbors, and family when soliciting online donations.

Remember that the key to your overall peer-to-peer fundraising success is to make the most of personal relationships to obtain more donations than ever before.

Top Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Recommendations

To coordinate an effective peer-to-peer fundraiser, your school must be proficient in designing compelling donation pages and outreach techniques.

Determine your school’s strongest peer-to-peer fundraising strategy by reviewing the following campaigns:  

  • Time-based Campaigns — Establish a sense of urgency with your P2P fundraiser by limiting your donation timeframe.
  • Rolling Campaigns — Encourage supporters to donate at their convenience by hosting your P2P fundraiser all year long.
  • Event-based Campaigns — Pair your P2P fundraiser with popular event to give your community an extra incentive to donate.  
  • Giving Days — These brief P2P campaigns provide a fun challenge for donors to see how much funds they can raise in 24 hours.

If your school is still stuck on which peer-to-peer campaign best suits your needs, consider the time of year and theme of your fundraiser to help nudge you in the right direction.

To easily manage a variety of school fundraiser tasks all at once, including peer-to-peer and crowdfunding, check out 360Alumni's interactive fundraising feature by clicking here.

Unlock the Giving Power of an Engaged Network

Smart and innovative school fundraisers can often make the difference between an average and an extraordinary education. By putting these inventive fundraising ideas to the test, your school will generate enough funds to provide the best learning experience possible!

Learn more about how Double the Donation makes matching gifts easy. And iIf member engagement is your focus, visit 360Alumni today to discover our private label community solutions.

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