Band sometimes gets shorted when it comes to funding. People forget how expensive instruments are, and economic pressure on schools can cause even further cutbacks on music programs without warning parents.

Fortunately, setting up a successful school fundraiser for the band isn’t hard. School bands have a two unique qualities that makes fundraising a little more effective:

  • There is no seasonal deadline, as with sports, so you have all year to raise the money you need.
  • Concerts are a convenient time for fundraiser marketing to a receptive audience.

Band parents are notoriously busy. Like other parents, they have a lot going on and you want to make their efforts stretch as profitable as possible. Here are some ways to make this the best fundraising year yet for your school band:

Map Your Goals Ahead of Time

Knowing exactly what you want to do during the year and how much money you need to do it will allow you to strategize your fundraising efforts. Once you have that pinned down, plan out your fundraising strategies, and what the projected amount of money should be for each campaign. Be transparent about your goals and how much you need: it makes people more generous when they know what the end goal is.

Get Parents Involved

Canvass band parents for fundraising ideas. Maintain an email list, and keep them updated. Email is a great way to keep your fundraising goals at the forefront of their minds. Email them before band starts and ask what they would like to do. Have them write out their thoughts and put them in an idea box. Band parents make up the backbone of a high school band. Find out what works for them so you have their full support.


Now that you know what you are doing, you can delegate tasks to your volunteers and hand them written instructions. It is a good idea to post deadlines and goals where everyone can see them. Use a dry-erase wall covering that you keep posted in the band room or office. Use it to write new goals and mark off deadlines that have passed. People can refer to it for common questions without clogging up the phone tree. It will also serve as a reminder for busy volunteers.

Coordinate with Local Businesses

Some of the most popular and effective fundraising activities are selling merchant cards and plastic cards. Merchant and plastic cards allow buyers to get deals at businesses, so you can imagine how fast they sell. Businesses are proud to show that they support the local school band. It’s good publicity for the business, and the cards are a great way to attract new customers. This isn’t the only way for businesses to help you, either. Ask them to donate items that you have to buy in bulk and to participate in events.

Plan a Fundraising Event Early in the Year

Use this event to recruit volunteers, raise awareness, and get to know your audience. At the big event, you can announce long-term fundraising strategies, such as selling merchant tickets. Capitalize on the initial enthusiasm. You can hold fundraising events later, but the first one sets the tone for the year.

Have a Sorting System Ready for Receiving Orders

Make sure that you have a filing system in place well before your fundraising efforts begin. Simplified order forms that are coordinated with their envelopes will help keep things together. Keeping the order forms with all the sales in one place will make tedious filing tasks easier, and will take much of the hassle out of fundraising.

Make Your Fundraising Materials Multitask

Get creative about all of the ways you can use your fundraising materials. Printed media, like magnets, can be an item you sell for the fundraiser itself, used as advertising for your band, or as prizes in drawings. When you design your magnets, event tickets, and plastic cards, make sure your school’s colors stand out. You can add messages such as “Support our wind section!” This will encourage people to donate to your band throughout the year long after the initial purchase.

Use Concerts to Further Your Fundraising Efforts

Everyone at a band concert wants to keep the music coming, so it’s a great place to fundraise. You have an attentive and receptive audience who wants to support the band. Put a booth in a corner of the auditorium for selling drinks or magnets.

Remind people to support your goals. Tell the audience exactly what you bought with the profits and remind them that band members are still selling items. You can use a table talker or a banner at the door if you feel announcements would interrupt the concert. Table talkers convey your message without interrupting the music.

Hold Special Theme Concerts for the Public

Opening up to the public will broaden your support base quickly, when the community realizes what a talented group of band members you have. Theme concerts are a big crowd pleaser. Take advantage of the season: if it’s near Halloween, hold a spooky concert. Sell tickets for these events, which will give your band a certain prestige. Plus, these tickets can be designed to advertise your band’s fundraising cause.

At the End of the Year, Review Your Fundraising Efforts

Did you meet your goals? Which of the sales and events brought in a lot of money, and which ones weren’t as successful? It is generally more effective to have a couple big fundraising activities than to have many little ones, so going over the effectiveness of each activity will allow you to figure out what you should focus on next year, and what you should drop.