The school year is well underway and soon fall will be turning to winter. But your thoughts are already looking forward to the spring and how you’ll fund your high-school band’s field trip or extra equipment purchases. Luckily, fundraising for educational trips can be incredibly successful when they’re met with the right enthusiasm, planning, and materials. Add to this the fact that both band students and band parents are uncharacteristically passionate about what they do, and that the community is often eager to support local arts, and you have the groundwork for a winning fundraiser. All you have to do is choose the right fundraising strategy and carefully plan out the details.

Before you begin planning the concrete details of your fundraiser, take a look at your target demographics, and plan your strategy with these people in mind. Clearly, community members, local businesses, and parents will be important to your fundraiser’s success. Try to evaluate what kind of fundraiser and promotions would both interesting and helpful to them. Just as with any other marketing venture, your success depends on having a great product that people actually want.

Once you have a good idea about whom you’re asking for support, it’s time to consider what fundraising method will work best. Here are three fundraising methods that have shown proven results for many high schools:

Merchant Tickets

Selling those traditional fundraiser items that no one really wants to buy in the first place, is not an effective way to raise funds in today’s overcrowded market. Think outside of the box and build a locally-supported fundraising campaign by using merchant tickets. They give your band an opportunity to collaborate with local business, and provide a valuable products or service to your supporters.  

Whether it’s that spring field trip, or new marching-band uniforms, establishing a relationship with local businesses will foster a sense of community that encourages everyone to get on board and help in the way that they can.

Fundraising Plastic Cards

Similar to rewards cards that can be used for the promotions you decide on, fundraising plastic cards are becoming an incredibly popular fundraising method among high-schools. Because of their convenience and low cost, they are a very popular and easy item to sell to supporters.  

They offer many of the same fundraising benefits as merchant tickets, with attractive discounts at local restaurants and various shops, but these are particularly popular with merchants, because of the added durability and eye-catching designs.  The offers on plastic discount cards are typically recurring and valid for one year.

Order Forms & Envelopes

Fundraiser order forms and envelopes have remained such a successful staple of school fundraisers because they are so effective. Use them to organize and to keep track of what product you’ve sold, and to collect money.  Typically a group will use order forms if they’re selling products such as cookie dough, pizza’s and gourmet popcorn to raise funds.

These can be printed with a custom design created just for your school, so it’s a good idea to advertise your school’s logo, or to include a design of your own that’s important or symbolic to your school band. Envelopes and order forms can do more than organize your fundraiser: they are a powerful venue to reinforce your message and remind your supporters of the goal that you’re trying to achieve. Don’t pass up any opportunity to advertise and promote your cause.

Getting The Word Out

Don’t be afraid to leverage your school’s influence to promote your worthy cause. Talk to local businesses for support, and reach out through your school’s social media channels. You’ll have direct access to your target audience of student families and community members.  

When your band has a performance, take advantage of the captive audience. You have an auditorium filled with supporters, families, and community members who are deeply interested in your high-school band’s success. Before the performance, talk to the audience about what the money will be used for, and set up a booth for them to buy your fundraising products.

Keep The Momentum Going

While high-school fundraising is common and vital for many clubs and sports, managing a team of high schoolers—even incredibly motivated and passionate band members—is sometimes easier said than done. Organization and pre-planning are essential for staying on track and meeting your monetary goal. The more organized you are, the more you’ll be able to keep your students excited about what they’re doing.

Don’t be afraid to give the students personal responsibility for some of this organization and planning. They’ll take pride in the ownership they feel over the fundraiser’s success, especially when they earn that spring field trip. Each week, designate student teams who are responsible for different important stages of the fundraiser. Teams may be responsible for giving reports on how much money has been raised, holding strategy meetings, making posters or other advertisements, and engaging with local businesses.

One way to keep your fundraising team interested in selling the product is by holding a prize drawing. Incentivize sales by giving three raffle tickets for the grand prize, if they sell five items. At the end of the fundraiser, show your appreciation for all of the hard work that went into meeting your goal, by throwing a pizza party for the students and volunteers.

When it comes to successful fundraising, the method you choose is vitally important. Today, supporters look to contribute to those fundraisers that are for a good cause, and that offer genuinely valuable items and services. Once you’ve found the method that will work best for your demographic, plan carefully for how you’ll advertise your fundraiser. Have a concrete plan for how you’ll plan and execute your cause. Keeping your passionate students motivated is the easy part.