For many students, asking local businesses for fundraising support is a frightening proposition. However, most local businesses are eager to support schools in their community. Their financial obligation is usually minimal and they strengthen their community bond through their sponsorship, thereby generating greater future revenue. Most businesses are happy to contribute to school fundraising campaigns; they are simply waiting to be approached.
Whether students are seeking sponsorship or donations, they should keep these tips in mind for a smooth initial meeting with business owners. Make an Appointment Students who visit businesses unannounced are likely to be turned away without having the chance to promote their cause. If students call or email to request appointments, owners feel like their time is valued and students get the chance to briefly introduce themselves before approaching a busy proprietor. Local businesses owners are also more candid with students over the phone; if they are not interested in making a donation, there’s no reason for the student to visit the store. By making appointments with busy owners, students will have a better chance of earning their financial support.
Dress Professionally Getting involved in a fundraising campaign is the perfect opportunity for students to learn the importance of a powerful first impression. Dressing in professional attire is important. It shows business owners that the students take their fundraising seriously and are willing to dress the part. Students shouldn’t worry about buying a brand new wardrobe. A nicely pressed shirt or blouse and clean dress shoes will go a long way.
Be Prepared When students request financial support from businesses, they should always be prepared to answer any questions owners might have. If the information is difficult to remember, students can carry an informational card with them that they can also leave with the owner. Abbreviated information about the school group and fundraising goal should be printed on the card along with the fundraising chair’s contact number. Local businesses are more likely to donate money or services when they have a clear understanding of how the funds will be used.
Say Thank You Students should end every business meeting with a firm handshake and a sincere “thank you.” Fundraising chairs can also invest in inexpensive thank you notes which students can send to local businesses after their meetings. Even if business owners decide not to contribute, a heartfelt note just might be enough to change their minds. Students also learn the valuable lesson of thanking people for the gift of their time.
Most parents of school-aged children will be asked to assist with a fundraising campaign at some point in their lives. It comes with the territory. While many parents embrace the opportunity to stay involved in their children’s educational experiences, some parents are not as eager to invest their time and energy into school fundraising campaigns.
Fundraising News from the Little Fundraising Helper!
New Fundraisers and Resources for 2011
2010 was a tough year for a lot of us! Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and take on 2011 with our boots strapping.
To start with, if you still haven't set out your organization's goals and New Year's resolutions for the year, here's some help getting started, with advice from Dr. Phil.
Before we get going on our favorite picks of the season, if you are doing a product fundraiser like candy bars, cookie dough, lollipops, beef jerky, or magazines, the easiest way to get started is to call eFundraising at 1-866-891-0053 or get your free product info guide online.
*********************************************************************************** Online Fundraising: From Magazines to Cookies
Drum roll please!
Our featured fundraiser, eFundraising Online, is super easy. Set up your online fundraiser, and each of your members gets their own fundraising profile to invite supporters to. So when Uncle Joe gets an email about your fundraiser, it's from his favorite nephew Johnny, and goes straight to little Johnny's fundraising page, picture and all!
Here's how it works:
1. You start a fundraiser and email your members using the email inviter.
2. Your members personalize their page with their own picture and special message, then use the email inviter to invite Mom, Dad, Gramma, cousins, friends, colleagues, to come and support your group.
3. The supporters get to your fundraising site and buy cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, gift cards, which eFundraising ships right to them.
4. eFundraising mails you checks every month for your profit.
eFundraising Online gives you the tools you need to be a superstar fundraising manager, and the best part is anything supporters buy is delivered straight to them.
Meaning you don't have to sort and pack and sort and deliver any products!
Do you use Twitter? Follow @usafundraising to get updates on new articles and features.
If you have any fundraising ideas or stories you would like to share with the USA Fundraising community, or suggestions for new resources you want to see on our site, email
Anyone can start a fundraiser! A strong foundation and strategic planning are the keys to fundraising success.
Choosing a campaign
Funds can come from many different sources. In order to keep finances and bookkeeping manageable, decide on a single fundraising channel. You can choose anything from direct sales of a product or service to coordinating a special event, or even requesting grants and sponsorship from other organizations. Donations can also come from the public or be generated by a community service that you and your campaign members can fulfill. A recommended way to fundraise is through an agency or a website that will reward supporters with a product while it earns you profits on their purchase. Make an educated choice based on your resources at hand, fundraising goals, and ease of implementation.
No matter what your cause may be, generating a supporter base is one of the most important parts of the entire fundraising initiative. One way to secure supporters is to research the types of donors that have supported similar causes in the past. Inquire with other organizations in your neighbourhood and see how they raise funds and if they have any tips for you. Local sports teams, church congregations and schools will all have useful information and fundraising tips.
Spreading the word
So you have defined your campaign, funding source and target audience, now, let’s start fundraising!
Start with the people you know, enlist coworkers, friends and neighbors that you trust and can depend on for support. You will be surprised how many people you can reach by utilizing the business and social connections you and those around you already have. Sources are unlimited, community members, local businesses, and regional government officials are just a few of the starting points for financial support.
If you decided to request donations through correspondance you may want to hold a seminar, discuss things face to face, by telephone or with a personal email. Make the choice that works best for your cause. For example, if your cause is one that involves educating supporters then a seminar might be the right choice for you, whereas a more personal cause may require communication with each supporter individually. To learn how to approach people for support you can check out the resources in our Fundraising Letters section. Sample letters can be found here.
Another way to spread the word is by starting an Online fundraiser.These fundraisers allow you to import your email contact list and contact supporters all at once. If direct donation requests are not for you this option is an effective way to save time, money and energy.
You have the plan, the tools and the technology to start fundraising today!
Planning a fundraiser can be confusing for new fundraising coordinators. You almost need to learn a new language! Get started with some basics about the differences between brochure fundraising and direct sale fundraising.