Fundraising efforts and events are some of the biggest ways that schools raise money for important essentials and improvements for their students. However, fundraising can become a fulltime job — and is generally left to a school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and a group of volunteers, most of whom realistically cannot dedicate the amount of time needed to put on a successful fundraiser. Apex Leadership Co. shares some of the challenges of putting on a fundraiser without the help of a dedicated fundraising company.
Underestimating Planning Time — While putting on a fundraiser, whether it’s a fun run or a school carnival, can seem like a lot of fun (and it should be!), it is also a lot of work. When it comes to schools and youth groups, staff and parents are usually the ones that are responsible for putting these events and efforts together. It takes a lot of time to plan whatever type of fundraiser will occur (carnival, car wash, etc.) and also to coordinate and execute the event itself. For example, when planning a school carnival, one might need to arrange carnival rides, games, vendors, acquire permits, music, and more. This all takes time, especially when it comes to bidding to get the best price, and more, so it’s best to start planning as early as possible.
Putting too Much Responsibility/Expectation on Volunteers — Once again, the people putting together the fundraiser are generally staff and parents — and many don’t have the contacts and connections to make this process quick, easy, and cost-effective. This can quickly become frustrating or stressful for those that don’t have expertise in fundraising or event planning. When it comes to executing an event itself, it also takes a large number of volunteers to man booths, set up and break down/clean up, manage raffle tickets/giveaways, and offer support of the event in some other way. It’s important to enlist a large group of volunteers, put everyone’s best assets and skills to work, and make sure to balance out the responsibilities so no singular person ends up with the brunt of the work. Partnering with Apex will help to avoid volunteer burnout, and keep volunteer participation high for other needs on your campus.
Not Setting a Realistic, Definitive Goal — Regardless of the type of fundraiser a group is organizing, it’s essential to formulate a realistic (yet challenging) goal. This is important for a number of reasons. First, it gives students something to look forward to and to aim for as they work to achieve this goal as a group. Secondly, it provides supporters and donors with a solid reason or a need that the group is seeking to fulfill. For example, if a group’s goal is to raise $5,000, it’s important that potential supporters or donors know what those funds will provide for students. This allows family, friends, and donors an investment in helping. A group trying to raise funds should not only set a goal (and a realistic one based on the size of the group and the type of fundraiser) but also define how the group intends to use those funds. For example, supporters will want to know that a school is raising funds for new classroom supplies and materials, playground equipment, or technology to help further educational efforts. And many may feel more inclined to donate even more if they hear the story behind why the school needs the money and how it will be used for the betterment of the students.
Not Setting an Event Budget — Another challenge can occur with not setting a realistic budget or underestimating the costs needed to put on a successful fundraising event. Yes, that old adage ‘it takes money to make money’ rings true when it comes to putting on a fundraiser, but it’s crucial to manage costs so that the bulk of the funds go towards the school, not the event itself. When building in a budget, allow for unaccounted for or unexpected costs that will surely arise at some point.
Leaving Out the Kids — Let’s not forget the all-important role that youth play in fundraising. From start to finish, they can be — and should be — involved. Giving youth responsibilities in these efforts helps them take accountability for their role in meeting the financial goal, helps them formulate an individual goal and plan of action. It also helps them build leadership and character skills, confidence and so much more.
Keeping the Kids Motivated — While it may fall on staff, teachers and parents to help create a fundraiser without the help of a professional company to organize it when it comes to actually raising the funds, the kids are up to bat! However, for younger children or kids that aren’t comfortable asking people for things, fundraising can feel stressful. Other kids may lose motivation or confidence when told “no.” It’s important to help youth stay motivated throughout the fundraising process. Apex Leadership Co.’s programs incorporate not only energetic team member-led activities to keep kids’ motivated and excited, but also a reward program that allows youth to earn cool challenges and prizes along the way. These methods encourage kids to keep going toward the end goal while having fun along the way.
Not Recognizing Volunteers and Supporters — Finally, once all is said and done, fundraising organizers should take a moment to recognize all the hard work that PTA/PTO, teachers, staff, parents, volunteers, donors, and students put forth into creating a successful event. This step often gets overlooked when individuals or volunteers are putting on their own fundraisers. However, this is a crucial final step because all the people that worked so hard or donated hard-earned funds to the cause may not be expecting recognition, but they sure deserve it. Even a simple thank you letter or announcement at the end of an event is a great way to ensure that those that donated time, money, products, or other items are recognized.
There are many challenges that can arise when putting together a fundraiser without a professional organization. Apex Leadership Co. is 100 percent dedicated to helping schools, youth groups and sports clubs take their fundraising efforts to the next level so they don’t need to worry about a thing but helping to raise the funds. Our web-based formats offer youth a nearly limitless reach to help maximize their efforts. With expertise, professionalism and an entire team dedicated to helping to motivate and encourage youth, Apex’s suite of products is designed for various ages and groups to ensure a successful, fun, and engaging event.