Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Fresh and New School Fundraising - Mixing Product and Event Fundraising
Yes, you can have less fundraising and it can be more fun.
The thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to school events and school fundraising, things are cyclical. Just like trends of clothing for instance, something can be in fashion and out and right back in.
Some things are timeless and some never go out of style, but many do.
Small improvements can keep these timeless products fresh in the eye of the consumer.
Your job as the fundraising chair, PTO or PTA president or school principal is to have the ability to see where the trends are and when things are going south, head them off at the pass. When things have run their course, you need to switch it up or make small improvements to keep the timeless fundraiser fresh.
Now, this advanced thinking is not for the faint of heart. I know that we're all very busy people these days. It's hard to consider what's going on in the mind of parents tomorrow when we're barely able to keep up with today. But, anyone tracking my blog with interest will get it.
Stick with what works
Don't sabotage an amazing event or ongoing fundraiser. Keep with tradition and support anything consistent that performs. If you have had an auction for 10 years, unless something is going horribly wrong, you're probably best to keep it. Make small improvements or innovate wherever possible to keep things fresh but don't mess with a success.
Get rid of what doesn't work
Ask yourself if anything is getting in the way of your fundraiser. If there is something competing for the attention of parents or the community and drawing people away from the fundraiser you are counting on?
Think back to the last time you cleaned a shelf at home or work and removed excess items from it. Did you see an improvement in the look and feel of it once it had just a few items on it? Did the simplification make the other items stand out more? How about a closet cleaning to bring in a new season. Did it help to have clothes properly displayed and easy to see? How about having a garage sale or giving items to charity. Once you get in the spirit of it, isn't it nice to have less? Doesn't it feel great to not be tied down and so overwhelmed by stuff?
These analogies really point out the importance of simplifying and getting rid of stagnant non-performing fundraisers.
Switch up things that work when they need switching
Part of the challenge in effective fundraising is maintaining an excitement level sufficient enough to create attendance and engagement in the fundraising event. When this is no longer possible with small tweaks and innovations, it's perhaps time to switch it up.
This switch doesn't necessarily mean forever. There are many successful schools and groups fundraising that switch fundraisers up regularly. Many return to the same fundraisers with success. A key element is to give parents and the communty a break from somethng that is not working well and replace it with something fresh and new and most importantly, effective!
If there is anything to say to sum this blog post up it would be to pay as much attention not only to the fundraising results over time but also track the feeling of them as well. A lot of times, having an intuition about what will work makes things work. Pay attention to the feeling :)