6 Tips for Hosting a Successful School Fundraiser

School fundraisers are typically successful events. After all, you can count on students, parents, teachers, and other staff to participate and help your group get the funding you need to obtain additional supplies or computers or to finance a field trip.

A company that provides auction management solutions, however, says that if you are planning a school fundraiser, you don’t have to depend only on the students, their parents, and staff to help you get the funds you need.

By following certain tips and techniques, you will have a successful and lucrative fundraiser. You will have fewer issues and hassles to deal with, as well.

Below are some of the most helpful tips and techniques for planning and hosting a successful school fundraiser:

1.Create your team

The most successful fundraising events are organized by cohesive teams. If you want everything to go well from the start, find the right people to work with.

Ideally, your team should have individuals who are good at marketing. These people will work together to decide what kind of fundraiser you want to do whether it is a food drive, auction, raffle, or more. They will be the ones who will reach out to organizations or persons if you need donations for prizes or auction items, depending on what type of fundraising you want top participate in. They will also be selling tickets and dealing with a lot of people, so select only the friendliest go-getters for this job.

Additionally, you should have two or three persons who are good at basic accounting to monitor the money coming in. You also need someone to set and keep track of deadlines and fundraising milestones. If you don’t want to take on this role, look for somebody who has good organizational skills. Also, if you have too much  on your plate, go ahead and give the role to someone else. There’s no shame in utilizing time management.

2. Come up with a fundraising strategy

Winging it and doing anything you think is suitable for the event won’t give you the results you’re looking for. To ensure the success of your fundraiser, once you have your team, create a strategy.

Set a meeting with your team and talk about the fundraising goals, priorities, and roles of each member. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Start brainstorming about the traditional and digital marketing strategies and tools you will use, as well. Remind everyone that constant communication and coordination is a must to ensure that all plans are carried out properly and that the members can pitch in when necessary.

3. Choose your fundraising event wisely

During your first meetings, you should have already decided on the type of fundraiser to host. Bake and yard sales and movie nights are the most popular traditional events you can host.

Make sure that you pick an event that is tailored to your audience. If you have big spenders, maybe an auction is right for you. If not, maybe a more family-oriented night is the move.

Silent auctions and raffles are excellent ideas you can consider as well. They give out a fantastic combination of interaction and engagement, and at the same time, provide participants a chance to win something exciting.

You can host this type of fundraiser in the traditional format or digitally. If you decide to do it online, you will make the bidding and donation process easier. You will reach more people, as well. Monitoring and consolidating the money will be quicker, too.

4. Use as many marketing channels as possible

Aside from handing out flyers, putting up posters, and using other traditional advertising techniques, use digital means as well.

Create a page or account on social media sites about your fundraiser. Be active on these channels by posting updates about the event, the activities, and items donors can buy or bid on, and anything related to it. Always reply to questions or comments people make on your posts, too.

Facebook events are a very effective marketing tool. They are much more successful than creating a new Facebook page, which won’t garner enough attention prior to the event. Encourage your team and families to share the page on their accounts to get the most eyes on the event as you can.

Encourage everyone who likes your pages or posts or engages with you to share the link to these sites with others so that you can widen your reach, too.

Videos are also effective marketing tools. Take clips of the volunteers working and the items you are selling or up for bidding. Upload them on YouTube and social media channels and apply some simple video marketing strategies.

5. Involve the students and their parents

Encourage the students to help out with the fundraiser. Ask them to share the links of your pages or accounts with others so that more people will know about your event.

Ask the parents to do the same. With their help, you will be able to reach out to adults who are more likely to join or donate to your cause.

If you are having a traditional fundraisers such as a bake sale, have the students ask their parents to provide pastries and other treats, which will serve as their donation. You can send emails or letters to the families, or talk to the parents about this to formalize the request.

Before the event, look for volunteers among the students. Give them simple tasks that they can do without an adult supervising them prior to and during the event.

6. Don’t hesitate to ask for more help

Whether your difficulties are small or big, perceived or real, ask for help.

If you need more prizes or auction items, work with your team and reach out to more businesses, organizations, community members, and even alumni. If you need additional volunteers, talk with the other staff, students, and parents.

You can also get help with organizing the whole fundraiser from people who have experience with planning and hosting such events.

To host a successful school fundraiser, be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort in planning and organizing it. But remember that you don’t have to do this alone. There are professionals who are ready to help you; don’t hesitate to reach out to them.


Darran Brown is the CEO and Founder of Go Charity. A graduate of UMASS Amherst, Darran has spent the last 20 years managing auctions across the United States. Having run some of the most successful live and silent auctions in the US, Darran has the insider know-how to every aspect of the industry. From memorabilia to trips and experience hospitality to fundraising 101, Darran is the leading expert on auction management and fundraising success.

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