Why Fundraisers Fail

fundraisingIt’s not your fault!  How were you to know there are simple fundraising rules to follow? While a lot of fundraising methods work, some simple, tried and true processes are critical to success. It’s important to do it right, or you may find time, money, and resources going to waste. Before you throw yourself into a fundraiser, bear this advice in mind so you can make it a sure-fire success.



We Forgot to State A Specific Reason for the Fundraiser

It’s easily the most over-looked necessity of a successful fundraiser. It’s a simple concept: supporters will donate to a worthy cause.  People typically will not give their money to a cause they hardly identify with, understand, or encounter. Try not to generalize.  Raising money for the general fund or “over-all enhancement of the school” will not inspire excitement to open the wallet.  Having a specific cause like uniforms, a new playground, a trip to Washington, etc. entices people. Include goals, what you’ve raised so far, and what your supporters can do to help increase the funds (purchase a tub of cookie dough, buy three items from the catalog, etc.).


We didn’t involve our teachers or staff.

A common misconception people have about raising money in schools is that it’s not a good idea to get teachers, coaches, and staff involved. PTO/PTA/PTG members or parents may feel that it’s too invasive or that it’s not their place to get teachers to discuss the fundraiser. However, it’s enormously necessary to do so.   Not only do teachers benefit from funds the school receives, but they can also remind students of important deadlines, prizes, and other information for motivation and keep the ever so vital daily message in front of them for the duration of the fundraiser. A big push at the beginning of the fundraiser and a big drive at the end with no message in-between is the “kiss-of-death” to a successful fundraiser.  Your teachers, coaches, staff, etc. are the communication link needed for the public. It may be an uncomfortable conversation at first. However, teachers will soon realize that participation benefits everyone. Also, it should result in fewer fundraisers as you can increase engagement and overall donations.  In the end, it will save teachers and staff time and energy.


No one told us!!!

Federal law states the Healthy Snack Initiative has a fundraising exemption in schools. However, parents and other supporters may be opposed to purchasing snack items during a fundraiser. The opposite is true. While you may think snack items are “taboo,” some communities thrive on food fundraisers, and they are some of their most significant sources of income. Ask around before deciding on a program to see if it’s a good fit. Make sure no other similar fundraisers are running at the same time. Timing and product with mass appeal are critical! Don’t send product home with students (boxes of chocolate, discount cards, etc.) without a permission slip getting signed or prepayment and a check in-check out procedure. Lost product and improperly entered information can dissolve fundraising profits quickly.


We told everyone and posted it on social media – what happened?

Everyone gets excited at the start of a fundraiser. The thrill of new funds for a cause, prizes, and more burns bright – but it often fizzles out before significant results occur. As the organizer, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. You set the program up, hired your vendor, love the product, and everyone you talked to thinks it’s a hit!  Suddenly, sales are down, and the clock is ticking, and you’re panicking to make it work.  Had you followed some marketing 101 rules, the fundraiser would have pulled more. 

Simple periodical reminders can do wonders for the process and help people stay motivated throughout the process. We live in a fast-paced digital world, and messages get lost or forgotten all too easily.  It’s important to keep the message (reason for the fundraiser), goals, and time left in front of your supporters.   

Make sure daily emails get sent. Also, send text reminders, push notifications if you have apps, and daily social media posts. Make sure posters get displayed, use morning announcements, employ daily prize programs, and hand out backpack material.  There are a number of fun things you can do to create a buzz like a poster contest with the components of the fundraiser as the subject.  Say, for example, the winner receives a coveted treat from the school (free homework pass, ice cream at lunch, gift card, etc.) and all of the entries get displayed on the walls of the school as a fun and interactive reminder.



While fundraising can be challenging, there are specific tips you can use to make it a success. So, avoid common mistakes and call Effective Fundraising Solutions at (855)-888-4337 to get started!  Perhaps you have a story to tell about why your fundraiser was successful! 

We’d love to hear from you and perhaps make it a subject of one of our blogs. 
Email your story to info@effectivefundraising.com.