As the end of the school year approaches, the months of May and June are the perfect time to host your end-of-summer fundraiser. An especially effective fundraising method for schools and PTOs is to host an end-of-the-year event for the school. These events are often hosted at the school or a local venue and can even be hosted outdoors, if the weather permits!
Considering that special events can require a lot of hard work and coordination, we’ve put together a list of ten things you can do to make your end-of-year school fundraiser the best yet!
1. Tell Your Story
Before promoting and marketing your end-of-year fundraiser, make sure you have identified the cause / story for the event! Do you have an idea what the funds raised will be used for? The bottom line is that you will want to give parents and supporters a reason to come to your fundraiser and lend their support and donations. Because this is a fundraiser for the end of the school year, some great ideas include:
- Classroom improvements
- Gym / Outdoor area upgrades
- School supplies for next school year
- Funding for new programs (music, sports, etc.)
- Funding for school trips
2. Promote Early
Now that you’ve gotten your story and cause buttoned up, it’s time to begin promoting your fundraising event. Our biggest tip here is to start early – as soon as possible! Some great ways to start promoting your fundraiser include:
- Using social media
- Sending emails to your parents
- Building promoting an online fundraising page
3. Sell Tickets Online
Promoting your event as early as possible will also allow you to more easily sell out your event. Selling tickets online allows for your audience to purchase tickets early and is easier than selling physical tickets at the door of your event. If you also decide to use a mobile fundraising provider, your guests can even submit donations and bid on your silent auction items while they purchase their tickets!
4. Mobile Fundraising
One of the best ways to enhance your end-of-year school fundraiser is by using a mobile fundraising tool. Mobile fundraising can take many forms, but our favorite include:
- Online Donation Pages
- Text to Give Programs
- Mobile Silent Auctions
- Mobile Raffles
- Fund a Need Campaigns
Each of these tools will allow you to provide an easier donation channel for your guests while providing them with a much better experience! As mentioned already, you can combine your mobile fundraising with event ticketing, allowing your guests to donate and participate in your fundraiser online when they purchase their event tickets.
The tools above will also let you reach a larger audience, as parents and supporters who may be unable to attend your event will still be able to lend their support by donating or bidding online / via text message.
Mobile fundraising will even make your event checkout easier, as it will allow your guests to pay from their devices instead of waiting in line!
5. Open Your Fundraiser Early
Along the same lines as promoting early and using mobile fundraising, we would highly recommend allowing for early participation. You can use mobile fundraising to make this easy and inviting.. A mobile fundraising tool will allow your supporters to participate in your fundraiser much earlier than your physical event, generating interest and increased donations before you have even opened your doors! In general, we recommend allowing donations up to a month before your physical event.
6. Find Great Items
Of course, if you expect your silent auction or raffle to do well, you will want to collect the best possible items. Some of the most popular items we’ve seen include:
- Travel packages
- Lunch / Dinner with a teacher or the principal
- Food-related items (restaurant gift cards, baskets, etc.)
- Tickets (sports, concerts)
- Family excursions (hiking, kayaking, etc.)
To learn more, read our post on the best silent auction items!
To collect great items, we recommend asking your volunteers and staff to help reach out to local organizations for donations. Calling on your parent network to see who may be able to donate amazing items is also quite effective!
7. Use Your PTO / PTA and Volunteers
Your event will not be as big of a success without the support of your PTO/PTA and volunteers. These individuals can become extremely useful as you prepare for your event, specifically in the areas below:
- Event promotion
- Silent Auction / Raffle item collection
- Sponsorship solicitation
- Ticket sales promotion
8. Leverage Your Parents (and Students)
In addition to your PTO/PTA and volunteers, there are two major networks that you can lean on for support – the parents AND the students:
The parents of your school’s students will end up representing the majority of your donor base. But you should also tap into this vast network for help in setting up a successful fundraiser. Through your Parent Teacher Organization, you should easily be able to contact this potentially huge network. We suggest reaching out for two specific purposes:
- Item Donations – Especially if you are running a silent auction or raffle, having valuable fundraiser items is a must. Your network of parents is low-hanging fruit for item collection, so always be sure to include them in your item solicitation outreach!
- Social Media – Anytime that you have a large network at your disposal, you should be putting heavy emphasis on mobilizing them and harnessing their social reach. Using an online fundraising solution like Accelevents will allow you to share a dedicated fundraising page out to your audience. These parents can then share the page on their social media sites, effectively increasing your fundraiser’s reach and your donor base exponentially!
Your students are likely to be your most passionate force in raising donations for a school fundraiser. In addition to general solicitation of donations, your student base can help in the following areas:
- Item Creation: Raising money for a school affords you the opportunity to collect and create fundraising items with emotional significance that will garner huge donations. Your best source for these items is the students themselves. Urge your students to create items that parents will love to bid on. This could be anything from artwork to video recaps from sporting events or school plays.
- Social Network (for high school only): In this day and age, your kids are likely to have a larger social network than their parents. In the same way that you are encouraging parents to share your fundraiser’s link on social media, you can encourage the students to do so, as well. The combined reach of parents and students will make a massive impact on your fundraiser, and will almost definitely lead to a tangible increase in proceeds.
9. Host an Outdoor Event
Great venues are a big part of great fundraising events. Now that it’s the end of the school year, the warmer weather is coming! This means you can host an outdoor event to mix things up a bit. Depending on the weather in your area, it may be worth looking into a local park or even your school grounds to host your event outside.
10. Attract Local Sponsors
Sponsorships are a highly effective way to increase your fundraiser proceeds. And who would not want to support their local school? Soliciting local sponsors is sure to be a smash hit for your fundraiser. Here, be sure to offer exposure for your sponsors to your attending audience, so that they see the marketing value of the opportunity, as well. For a full guide on sponsorship, read our Ultimate Guide to Fundraiser Sponsorship.
Hopefully, you’ve found some (or all) of these tips to be the perfect improvement for your next school fundraiser. If you have more ideas, we encourage you to share them below in our comments section!