For school fundraisers, as we move into the spring season planning mode anticipating the post-holiday break, it can be tricky to keep parents motivated and involved. Sometimes the key to successful school fundraisers in the spring is to engage with a broader base of parents – tap into those who may not have been involved in the fall fundraiser or other activities this semester. Use these tips as a guide for getting more parents involved in your fundraisers!
1. Make it easy
Sometimes the most important task may be the most obvious one – if you make it easy for people to participate, they’re more likely to join in. Keep things simple and go straight to the point to curb any typical excuses or hesitations. In a time crunch? Keep the volunteering meetings short and sweet – and break down the volunteering shifts into shorter times if possible. Don’t know who to contact? Include names, phone numbers and emails on every letter/flier you send out (bonus points if you include what each person does aka “Jenny Smith – Head of Spring Bake Sale Volunteers”). Post the information about the upcoming events or volunteering opportunities in a variety of outlets – on your school website, on your community website, on Facebook and in the school bulletins whenever possible. Don’t assume people have seen one post – vary your communication and repeat it often!
2. Ready to mingle
Possibly the common thread between the parents that weren’t involved is that they have never been involved with fundraising at the school or that they are brand new to the school community this year. A great way to engage with those new parents is to invite them to a mingle mixer that doesn’t hold any commitments – just a chance for people to meet and get to know one another. You can also start up small committees to act as “buddies” for new parents and help introduce them to the ways of the school.
3. Mix it up
A great way to get a lot of people involved is to offer a lot of different jobs at all different stages. Avoid the larger jobs and break them up into smaller increments, thus dividing up the responsibilities. If a smaller task is left unclaimed, it could be good to ask one of the volunteering parents responsible for a similar task to take that on as well. When sending out information to have people sign up, describe the tasks according to abilities and skills needed, that way people won’t get overwhelmed and have assurance that they understand the tasks at hand.
4. Get the principal involved
A great way to promote not only a school fundraiser but your parent group is to get the principal and as many staff members as possible on board and involved. As the official school leader, the principal is a great person to motivate parents and to help encourage volunteering. Get in touch with the principal and teachers about what goals you’re hoping to achieve and get them involved too, see what their ideas are and use their input. Make them part of your team!
5. Spread The Word
Don’t make your parent group only about fundraising – after all, fundraising helps you get closer to your real goals. Instead of only sending out communication about your fundraisers, make sure your first email or bulletin of the new year is about what you’re hoping to achieve and convey your group’s enthusiasm about making the school a better place. Be upbeat and conversational, and don’t mention fundraising at all – sometimes a kind note can go a long way.