It’s a question every fundraiser in education asks:
How do I raise money for school?
Thousands of organizations, including K-12 schools and higher education institutions, use Anedot for online fundraising, so that’s a question we hear frequently.
The answer can be broken into three basic steps - the three ‘P’s.
How to raise money for my school:
- Plan your fundraising campaign
- Prepare your fundraising campaign
- Promote your fundraising campaign
Keep reading to learn more about each step. You’ll soon be well on your way to receiving donations for your school!
Plan your fundraising campaign
The first step to raise money for your school is to plan the fundraising campaign.
Your campaign should be carefully constructed with a specific goal in mind and a specific message to your potential donors.
All of these variables can be adjusted based on your organization’s bandwidth.
That said, fundraising isn’t something that should be pushed to the backburner. Fundraising should be prioritized. Most nonprofit organizations completely rely on the support of donors. If you don’t have donors, you can’t continue your mission. That’s why proper resources should be allocated to your fundraising efforts.
Choose a fundraising goal
Begin planning by choosing a fundraising goal.
How much money do you need to raise? Whatever that number is, make sure you use it when asking for donations. Make sure supporters are aware of exactly how much you need.
Once you have that number in mind, you can do some basic math to figure out how much you should ask individual donors to contribute.
For example, if you know you need to raise $10,000 and you have an email list of 500 people, divide 10,000 by 500. That’s $20. Now you can tell donors exactly how much you would like each of them to donate. Not every supporter on your list will donate, so feel free to adjust your calculation to account for that.
Develop the message to your donors
It’s time to get creative.
In this part of the planning process, you’ll need to craft a persuasive message to your donors. What do your donors need to know before they will donate?
Here are some open-ended questions to get started:
- What is the fundraising goal amount?
- What will the donations be used for?
- How will your school be impacted if you don’t reach your fundraising goal?
- What is the suggested donation amount?
Once you take all of these questions into account, you can develop the message.
Based on the questions above, the message could be something like:
(1) Our school’s fundraising goal this year is $50,000. (2) The donations for this campaign will be used to buy school supplies, field trip activities, and to support our after-school program. (3) If we don’t reach our goal, our student body will be affected, and we’ll need to make serious budget cuts, including staff reductions. (4) If everyone chips in $55.00, we’ll meet our fundraising goal!
Prepare your fundraising campaign
The next step in this process is preparation. This step primarily involves the different software you’ll need to get the word out, to receive the donations, and to keep track of everything.
You may already have access to all of these different tools, but we encourage you to review this section anyway.
You may find opportunities for improvement and ways to take your fundraising to the next level!
If you need to raise money for your school, one of the first places to start is with email.
If you already have an email sending platform (ESP), great! If not, we typically recommend Mailchimp for smaller schools, and ActiveCampaign for midsize schools and larger.
The ESP is where you’ll manage your contacts and send out fundraising emails.
If you don’t already have a list of donors, an ad campaign is crucial to your success.
Here you’ll be able to test out different messages and raise awareness about your cause to new people.
One enormous benefit to running a digital ad campaign is that you can limit your reach geographically. In other words, you can specifically target people who live in the same zip code as your school.
If you don’t have experience with running an ad campaign, start with Facebook Ads. If you have a larger budget, you can consider hiring an advertising agency to handle this aspect for you.
Online fundraising platform
The fundraising platform (or online donation platform) is what you’ll use to create donation forms, manage donations, and actually receive the donations.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a fundraising platform for your school. I’ve outlined them below.
If you already have an online fundraising platform, it’s a good idea to review this list and make sure your platform is up to par.
Does the fundraising platform charge monthly fees?
Most online donation platforms charge a small percentage of the actual donation. If they are also charging a monthly fee, you may want to consider saving money and using a different provider.
Does the fundraising platform offer text to give for free?
Text to give allows your donors to begin the giving process by simply sending a text message. This is incredibly powerful because it removes friction from the donation process, thus resulting in more donations.
Does the fundraising platform have great customer support?
It’s crucial to have a support team backing you up. As you evaluate different platforms, check and see what users say about the customer service. You can use sites like Capterra, G2, and CrozDesk for software reviews from real people.
Pro-tip: Anedot checks all the above boxes. We don’t have any monthly fees, we provide text to give to every customer at no cost, and we have award-winning customer support - and we’re not just saying that to sound nice - we actually have won awards for our customer service!
All of this preparation should take place before you launch your fundraising campaign.
Best case scenario, all of the software has been vetted, all of your ad campaigns are set up, and you are fully onboarded onto the fundraising platform a full week before the launch date.
If you’d like some recommendations for other software to use, take a look at our blog post on the best software for nonprofits. We go over everything you need to know in more detail.
Promote your fundraising campaign
Now it’s time to get the word out. This is the last step in your process of raising money for your school. Promote, promote, promote!
This is where you look back to the fundraising plan that you created in the previous step.
Launch your ad campaign
Make sure you submit all the creative assets (video, graphics, GIFs) to the ad platforms ahead of time.
Many ad platforms require an approval process. This can take as little time as a few minutes to more than 24 hours.
You should also make sure your payment methods are valid and up to date.
All of your audiences should be built and your targeting options should be complete.
Send your emails
During the planning phase, you should have chosen an email sending platform (ESP) if you didn’t already have one.
You can use your ESP to set up sequences so that pre-composed emails are sent based on the behavior of your recipients.
For example, you can send a series of emails to your contacts, but halt the series for specific contacts that take an action, such as clicking a button in your email.
Make sure you include the message to your donors in these emails. As a recap, make sure your message includes:
- The fundraising goal amount
- The purpose of the donations
- The downside if you don’t reach your fundraising goal
- The suggested donation amount
Tell your friends and family
Word of mouth can be one of the most effective ways of promoting your fundraising campaign. Don’t underestimate the generosity of those around you!
While this isn’t an exhaustive guide to fundraising, this should point you in the right direction.
Remember the importance of planning, preparation, and promoting. Follow these steps and you will be set up for success!
Raising money for schools can be a daunting task, but we are here to help.
If you don’t have an online fundraising platform, now is the time to sign up for Anedot. If you are already using a fundraising platform, you may want to consider switching to Anedot. There aren’t any monthly fees or set up fees, and we have a customer support team dedicated to your success.