School fundraisers are challenging. It feels like you’re fighting with every other club in school to come up with a unique fundraiser: something that hasn’t already been done and that will attract enough people to make it worth your time and energy. When you’re fundraising for a little-known club, it’s even harder. If you need to fundraise for a Destination Imagination or Odyssey of the Mind team, a chess club, or another club with only a handful of members, you need a student club fundraiser that is going to knock everyone’s socks off.
You can do it. Here are the top tips that will make fundraising for your little-known student club a bigger success than past years:
Developing An Outreach Strategy
How are you going to get information about your fundraiser in the hands of as many potential donors as possible? If you only have a dozen or so kids doing the fundraising, you might not be able to target as many people as you’d like. That makes your outreach strategy critical. Here’s how to do it:
- Set up posters and banners in common areas.
Take advantage of bulletin boards in hallways and classrooms. Tear-off options and flyers are great, but in many high schools, they’ll just end up as trash lining the floor the day after you set them out. Instead, spend your time and budget on something big, bold, and memorable.
- Make it easy to get your product.
If it isn’t convenient, high-school students probably aren’t going to buy it. Their days are consumed with dozens of other things, and short breaks in between classes are taken up by conversation, bathroom trips, and getting from one side of the building to the next. If you want high-school students to purchase your fundraising product, you need to make it as easy for them as possible.
If you make the offers readily accessible to them, they’ll be more likely to take the time to make the purchase. Convenience also extends to the students who are doing the selling: make sure that your order forms are easy to fill out and understand.
- Target the cafeteria.
How many different lunch periods does your school have? How many of them do you already have covered between the members of your club or organization? The cafeteria is the one place in the school where you can guarantee that you’re going to reach the majority of the student body on any given day. Arrange to be present with a booth or table during as many lunch periods as possible. Consider making arrangements with teachers to release students to cover lunch periods when you’re not available, or recruit trusted friends to handle the booth when you can’t be present.
- Get into the student announcements.
Whether they’re read over the intercom or recorded to watch on television each day, the announcements are a great way to make sure that you reach the whole student body.
Marketing To Your Audience
If your fundraising is taking place during the school day, your audience is high-school students—and that means you want to provide a product that will be appealing to them. That’s easier said than done. Here are five points that you’ll want to keep in mind as you decide what to sell:
- Keep your budget low.
You want your fundraising items to be cost-effective to you, and appealing to your demographic’s budget. While some high-school students do have access to the kind of money they’d need to make larger purchases, unless you’re in a relatively affluent school, you’ll need to keep your fundraising item inexpensive in order to appeal to a wide number of potential buyers.
- Price carefully.
While there’s something to be said for convenience—sometimes a one-dollar candy bar that you can buy right now is better than a seventy-five-cent candy bar that you can’t have until after school—high-school students aren’t going to over spend just to support your student organization. This is particularly true, unfortunately, of the smallest organizations that receive the least support. Remember, students aren’t donating their money to you; they’re making a purchase for themselves.
- Choose a product that high-school students want.
With a small club, you aren’t developing a fundraiser for the kids to take home to their parents and other relatives. Instead, you’re selling to the community and to other students.
What do they want? Typically, if you paste the school’s logo or a catchy saying on whatever you’re selling, students will be much more likely to buy it. Yes, this works for just about anything: t-shirts, puzzles, water bottles, magnets, and blankets. Candy is always a hit. Appealing to a particular holiday with candygrams or flowers on Valentine’s Day, or trick-or-treat buckets around Halloween, will draw in many members of the student body.
- Choose your timing carefully.
The best time for a fundraising drive for a club that doesn’t have many members is when there aren’t half a dozen other fundraisers going on. If it’s a choice between buying from a stranger in first period or buying from a friend in second, most people are going to choose to wait to buy from their friend. They’re also going to dedicate their funds to the clubs and organizations that they’re most interested in supporting. If you’re the only one fundraising, however, you’re the only product that students have to choose from. This is particularly true of discount cards and other coupon-style products, that are successful throughout the year.
- Take advantage of the opportunities you’re given.
The best way for a small club to make a lot of money during a fundraiser is to provide a need that students didn’t know they had. For example, if you know that there’s a pep rally or other big event coming up, sell water bottles. Get creative, and think of opportunities for you to cater to a need while making your cause stand out.