This post features a guest article from our friend Clay Boggess at Big Fundraising Ideas.
School fundraising programs can reach the next level with insights from experts from around the web.
When school fundraising time rolls around again, slim budgets and limited time are sure to call for some resource savvy. In the nonprofit and for-profit sectors alike, “best practices” is the buzzword on everyone’s lips right now. Typically, a group’s “best practices” will carry a lot of weight within an organization, because they’re methods or protocols that get the desired results.
When checking out these awesome blogs and resources, use the following checklist:
For this idea, should I:
- Reuse: Take it as you found it! It’s a great fundraising, leadership or communications tactic that aligns with your goals and will help you campaign.
- Reject Nope, no way, no how. This just doesn’t feel right. Toss it.
- Redeem: With a little bit of tweaking, this could be a real asset to our approach.
1. GIFT: Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training
GIFT is something of a one-stop shop for small nonprofits and grassroots fundraising groups. Their blog and website covers lots of topics, ranging from training and consulting to webinars and classifieds. For your purposes, the fundraising category of their blog speaks to topics like donor retention, donor appreciation and even data.
One of the best things about GIFT is that it is focused on audiences with few resources and small overhead, and school product fundraisers share many qualities with grassroots organizations. They emphasize the importance of getting to know your donors (or, in your case, customers) and building relationships for sustainable growth.
Parents of elementary- and middle-school-aged children will fall in love with Challenge4Kids, a program devoted to developing leadership skills in children based on principles from Dale Carnegie (“How to Win Friends and Influence People”). As a formal program, Challenge4Kids offers a video based course for schools in the Mid-Atlantic, but their site offers quite a few free resources that are perfect for school fundraisers.
C4K integrates a fundraising component into their program, and offers a handful of short and simple blogs that highlight the character-building benefits of fundraising. While this site is great for some fundraising basics, it has practical parenting tips to spur conversations about gratitude and hard work. It also discusses the intangible gifts that a school fundraising program can offer children.
3. Big Fundraising Ideas
School fundraising is Big Fundraising Idea’s wheelhouse. It’s their goal to provide their customers and potential clients with thoughtful tips, strategies and approaches to leading their best school fundraiser ever. With years of experience and millions of dollars raised for schools over the past two decades, Big Fundraising ideas has tons of great ideas and best practices to share.
Big Fundraising Ideas blog has long-form articles with practical tips and applications that translate the heady knowledge of nonprofit experts into practical steps you can implement in your school fundraising campaigns. Offering incredible products and amazing prize programs, Big Fundraising Ideas also wants to equip you with the best tools and resources to help you make this the best year yet for your school.
4. A Mom’s Guide to School Fundraising
You may have noticed that the mom-blog has been a site on the rise in recent years, offering moms (and dads) a digest of parenting tips, local happenings and creative ways to save money and entertain kids. Sarah Barrett took it a step further, and personalized a mom blog for school fundraising. While she has a set of her own products and evaluation tools, Barrett’s perspective may well be very close to your own: a bit disenchanted with past school fundraising, a bit unsure of how to proceed, and quite in need of some fresh ideas.
If you’ve ever felt bad for being the “parent who doesn’t do enough” or gotten frustrated with everyone sharing a thought and nobody lifting a finger, this blog is for you. Sarah Barrett’s relatable voice will cut through some of the noise and give a no-nonsense perspective on what it’s like to run a school fundraising program.
Check out some Barrett’s posts on her school fundraising blog . She tackles some topics we may not always like to discuss, such as “The Trouble with Ideas People” and “The Guilt and Judgment of a Mom.”
5. Aha! Parenting
This is an extremely user-friendly site offering content targeted to your child’s phase of life. These blog topics get to the heart of what matters as a parent. Check out their categories on gratitude (a topic especially worth discussing during school fundraisers), inspiration (for the parent who needs a little boost during fundraising season), and mindful parenting (to keep it all in balance when there’s too much going on).
Explore Aha! Parenting at your leisure, allowing it to be an escape from the frenetic pace of getting the kids to school and getting them around the neighborhood to sell products, all while feeding, bathing, and getting homework done on time. Easy, right?
This list wouldn’t be complete without a crowd blog—a blog that is nothing but a collection of guest writers sharing their own insights and experiences in a single area. Crowdblogs, like 101Fundraising, offer perspectives from expert fundraisers around the globe, tackling virtually every topic you can imagine.
Their posts range from specific tactical approaches to the big questions that weigh on every mom’s mind when kicking off a school fundraiser. And, remember when we mentioned that transparency and sharing best practices is changing the game for grassroots fundraisers? 101Fundraising is proof of that all on its own. With voices like Dan Pallotta, you’re getting first-hand knowledge from some of the most innovative and experienced fundraisers out there.
Additionally, the topical nature of these blogs tends toward the “1,000-foot view” of fundraising. Rather than getting into the weeds with things like Facebook metrics or donor retention rates, you get to read perspectives on questions like what is fundraising success?
Across the board, businesses and special interest organizations have found that sharing these best practices is a powerful way to engage audiences and meet new users. This means that fundraising groups have more access than ever to top-level insights about team-building, leadership, and what does and doesn’t work when it comes to fundraising.
Author Bio: Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for elementary, middle, and high school groups throughout the US since 1999. He works with administrators, teachers, as well as outside support entities such as PTA’s. Clay is a Senior Consultant at Big Fundraising Ideas.