School Fundraising- Top 5 Ways To Get Volunteers And Keep 'Em Coming Back!
by Sarah Barrett, Guest Contributor
I knew that when I became a mom I would need to multitask and wear many hats, but I had no idea that I would also need to become a fundraiser! Schools don’t have enough money to educate our kids and it’s up to parents to fill the gap! Whether you’re in a public school or a private school, money is always needed. Maybe you don’t get involved with the school fundraising — you just write a check and leave it up to others to do it. That’s ok. No judgement here! But at some point, your kid is going to be on a sports team or join the Girl Scouts or be in orchestra or drama club and they will need money for that too. I want you to have the tools you need to raise money and get help!
I have been doing this for the past 5 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way. If you want to get volunteers and keep them coming back, you will need to look at these 5 ways:
1. If You Feed Them, They Will Come: Food is a nice incentive to come to those morning meetings at school. Honestly, I’m lucky to get the kids fed, dressed and lunches made before scooting them out the door. It’s rare for me to have my caffeine before I take the kids to school. Knowing that there is something to eat and/or drink at the school meeting is definitely a big encouragement to go. It also makes the meeting feel more social and can bring people together.
2. Never Underestimate the Importance of Those Two Little Words: Saying “thank you” goes a long way when people are giving their time and talents to your cause. It is so important to acknowledge volunteers and thank them. The work cannot happen without them — they are integral to the process. Let them know how much they have done and you will absolutely get them to volunteer again. People who volunteer don’t do it for the kudos, but it’s nice to be appreciated.
3. Respect Their Time: We all have so much to do in any given day. If you are in charge of a meeting, be prepared! Don’t get off on side tangents and other topics. Respect everyone’s time! Stay focused. If there is no reason to meet, don’t have a meeting. It’s very hard to get volunteers if they feel they are in meetings for no reason.
4. Follow Up and Follow Through: If you create a list of volunteers in the first few weeks of school, get the list out to the committee chairs and make sure they follow up with the volunteers via email…even if the volunteers signed up for an event in the Spring. Communication is so important. Think back to when you were new to a school and you just wanted to find a place to fit in. If you had communication with parents who were involved and running committees, it may have been easier to find your way. If you wait until the Spring, the volunteer may have forgotten or lost interest. Connect with the volunteers and help them help you!
5. Build a Team: Let’s say you are working on a fundraiser at the school for an auction. It is important to create a community within that group of volunteers who are going to have a sense of ownership for the project. This team is in it with you! It is important to make it fun (even when it isn’t) and work together to succeed. Make the project as important to them as it is to you! Give them the tools to have success and they will want to keep doing it year after year!
A Mom’s Guide to School Fundraising by Sarah Barrett answers all your questions in a light-hearted, informative and entertaining way. Parents all over the country are taking action and working with their schools to raise money. This book will give you the ideas you need — whether you want to go big or stay small, whether you have a ton of time or need to raise funds quickly — to bring money into your kids’ school and make a difference.
In this guide, you will learn how to:
• Write solicitation letters that yield donations large and small.
• Use email marketing techniques to increase fundraising and participation.
• Get kids involved so they understand the importance of giving back.
• Produce and promote events tailored for your school community.
• Evaluate the Return On Investment (ROI) for each event so you’re not
investing time and energy into an event that makes only a small fraction of
what you need.
To purchase the book on Kindle or paperback or to find out more go to: http:/www.amomsguidetoschoolfundraising.com /
Sarah Barrett has been fundraising at her daughters’ school for over five years. She is a former teacher and small business owner with an MA in Education who has traded in her full-time career to dedicate her time and energy to fundraising for her neighborhood school. She lives in Studio City, CA with her supportive husband, Andrew, two beautiful and smart girls, Emily & Charlotte and their dog, Watson!