The most overused cliché seems to be when people tell us that ‘it takes money to make money’. For the most part, they are right. If you offer bigger and better prizes that cost more money, competition will increase as more students are drawn in to work harder to increase school fundraising sales. Spending extra money on fundraising prizes may be easier for some schools than for others however. Therefore the question then becomes, “how can we increase our school fundraiser sales without having to spend the extra money?”
What follows are 3 creative ideas that can help make you more money through your school fundraiser without spending a dime! The only thing that is required on your end is your time and energy.
1. Involve the Principal:
It has been said that once the leader is involved everyone else will usually fall in line. So make it a priority to sell the importance of your school fundraiser to the principal and convince them to be committed to your cause. How can the principal become involved?
- Ask them if they would do the introductory speech at your school fundraising kickoff. The students will respect someone in authority such as the principal and will likely take the fundraiser more seriously. Make sure that they know what the purpose of the fundraiser is and why it’s important to everyone at the school. Also, make sure that the principal ends the assembly with some closing comments
- Involve the principal in your fundraiser’s daily announcements. For instance, if you are incorporating prize drawing coupons, one of your incentives can be for the drawing winners to have lunch with the principal. Have the principal describe to the students what this will entail during that particular announcement
- This one is probably the most important. Prior to the day of your kickoff convince the principal to do something crazy, outrageous or fun only if the students end up reaching a certain money goal. This can be a goal that is reached individually and the students who reach that goal get to do something fun with, or to the principal. It can also be an overall goal that is achieved by the entire school. In this case the principal could perhaps do something crazy at a school-wide assembly. Make sure that whatever the principal does will get the students attention. It can be kissing a pig, frog, goat or __________? If the principal is a male, they can shave their head or color their hair some outrageous color. They can spend the day on the roof, dress up in a funny costume or they can wear their pajamas to school. With a little thought you can really become creative. However, make sure that you set higher than ordinary fundraising goals. The purpose of this is to get the students to sell more.
2. Promote, Promote, Promote:
This cannot be stressed enough. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your fundraising kickoff assembly and your company prize program is enough. Every successful school fundraising chair understands that they have to market their fundraiser to the students continuously throughout their sale. They will even start talking about the fundraiser before it starts by having ‘preview announcements’. This is where you talk about what’s going to be sold, introduce a few of the prizes (don’t give them all away – that’s what the kickoff is for!) as well as what the money is going to be used for and how it will benefit the students and the school. Some schools are able to introduce their school fundraiser to their parents at their ‘back to school night’.
The most important time to promote your school fundraiser is throughout the critical selling period. You will need to think of ways to effectively promote to and influence your students to sell. Use prize drawings where students can win special privileges like ‘Line Leader for the Day’, ‘Free Dress Day’ or a ‘No Homework Pass’ once they sell a certain number of items out of their sales brochure and become eligible to turn in a prize coupon.
Another important step that is often not done is to start promoting your next fundraiser by having an awards assembly that acknowledges your higher sellers. This does two things:
- It establishes credibility by showing everyone that you delivered on your incentive promises
- It makes students who, for whatever reason didn’t get acknowledged in this fundraiser, want to attempt to be up on stage for the next one. Make sure that you also recognize the entire school and all of the students during your assembly for their collaborative effort that helped make the fundraiser an overall success.
3. Incorporate Free Prize Incentives:
Whoever said that school fundraising prize incentives had to cost money?
- Incorporate a rewards party into your fundraiser. You can have a DJ dance party for everyone who sells 10 or more items (and have the principal be the DJ!)
- Convince businesses to donate items like pizza for a pizza party or actual prizes for top seller or grand prize drawings. Businesses will often do this because it’s good PR for them and they receive advertising from it. It is not a bad idea to also tell a prospective business that you will talk about them to your parents and students at some point during the fundraiser
- Many schools have been successful in bringing in a free party or show by selecting one of our exciting Big Event Prize Programs as their main incentive
You don’t necessarily have to spend more money to increase your school fundraising sales. With a little extra work and creativity you can still exceed your goals.