4 Tips for Revamping Your School Fundraising for 2023

Published on 14 Feb 2023 by Auctria

A new year is a fresh start. People often use this time to make their new year’s resolutions and decide how they should improve themselves. You can do the same for your school’s fundraising strategy. This is the perfect time to determine if there are any opportunities for fundraising campaign improvements or new marketing strategies to implement.

Ensuring that your fundraising initiatives are engaging for your audience can help attract new potential donors, resulting in greater support for your school. In this article, we’ll review these four tips for revamping your fundraising strategy for 2023:

  1. Review and optimize your fundraising tools.
  2. Leverage new marketing strategies.
  3. Refresh your fundraising campaign ideas.
  4. Gather feedback from your school community.

Before you brainstorm new school fundraising ideas, be thoughtful and thorough as you review your current strategies. When it comes to ensuring that your fundraising campaigns go smoothly, planning is as important as execution. To set your fundraisers up for success, your first step should be evaluating the tools and platforms you will be using.

1. Review and optimize your fundraising tools.

When assessing your fundraising tools, your priorities should be determining whether you have access to effective tools and whether you’re using those tools to their fullest potential. For example, the following types of fundraising tools can help your school carry out its fundraising strategies:

  • An online fundraising platform. An online fundraising platform allows schools to create online donation pages, track donor information, and evaluate progress made toward their fundraising goals. Your online fundraising platform should also allow you to easily share your fundraisers through email, social media, and other digital platforms.

  • An email marketing platform. Using an email marketing system like MailChimp, your school can design branded email messages and segment your contact lists to send relevant information to different supporter groups. For example, you can send information about your upcoming walk-a-thon to parents, and information about event sponsorships to your corporate partners.

  • A social media scheduling tool. A social media scheduling tool (like Hootsuite or Buffer) allows you to schedule social media posts in advance. For instance, you might schedule reminders about your fundraising event’s date or the deadline to submit donations to your online campaign.

Assess whether these tools are effective for your organization, and review how you’re using them. Ensure you’re taking advantage of all of the features and support available through each platform to make your fundraiser a success. For example, before switching to a new email marketing platform, you might first conduct a database audit and clean-up to ensure your contact list is up to date.

Also, take the time to determine if your school needs to invest in any new software platforms to streamline your fundraising this year. Search for a solution that makes managing and participating in your fundraisers intuitive and convenient.

2. Leverage new marketing strategies.

Take the time to determine whether your marketing strategy is outdated. For instance, if your marketing efforts take place mostly via direct mail, you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with supporters online.

Fortunately, in today’s technological age, there are lots of effective new ways to promote your fundraisers online. Here are some strategies you can use for improved outreach:

  • Make sure your website showcases your fundraising opportunities. More people will see your events if you promote them on your website, which will result in higher attendance and more donations. Include your fundraising events on your school’s calendar and incorporate links to your school’s online giving form on your website home page and fundraising information pages.

  • Use social media platforms that are popular among your audience.** Facebook is a popular platform that parents are likely to use, and you can take advantage of that by posting informational content about how to get involved or hosting Facebook challenges for parents to participate in. For students, you can post fun images on Instagram to grab their attention and remind them when your event is getting closer.

  • Create great video content to promote your fundraising events. Capture video content at your fundraising events and use that content in future promotional efforts. Make sure that your videos are polished and fun to watch. Your videos should showcase the students themselves, since they’re the ones receiving the benefits of donor support. However, be sure to review student release forms to ensure that students’ parents have given permission for them to be videotaped.

The benefit of online marketing is that your organization can reach a greater number of potential donors. While most of your donors may be local, don’t forget about your school’s alumni, who may be all over the world. Reconnect with them periodically, update them on any new changes or developments, and show them how they can support their former school through giving opportunities.

3. Refresh your fundraising campaign ideas.

It can be tempting to use the same fundraising plan year after year. But it’s important to assess your fundraising campaign ideas to see what worked, what didn’t, and what you can improve in the new year. Trying out new fundraising ideas can help you understand which types of experiences donors are most interested in.

Here are some ways you can refresh your fundraising campaign ideas:

  • Mix up your fundraising event types. Feel free to change up your fundraising activities to keep donors interested. For example, in addition to your annual trivia night, try a sports tournament, auction, or fun run.

  • Ensure your fundraisers have engaging themes. Some popular examples are a carnival or 80s night. You can even hold a holiday-themed event to spread cheer while raising funds. Make sure your decorations and music are theme-appropriate, and consider having snacks and beverages that match your theme.

  • Consider hosting hybrid fundraising events. These events allow supporters to tune in from home or in person based on their preferences. Some events that work well as hybrid experiences include auctions, talent shows, or walk-a-thons.

Aside from helping you get more information, refreshing your school’s fundraising campaign ideas can also be exciting for donors. Fresh new events and themes are a great way to pique their interest and encourage them to give.

4. Gather feedback from your school community.

Planning fundraisers is no easy task, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed when finalizing all the small details. But it’s important to keep the big picture in mind — at the end of the day, your fundraisers should be fun for your school community.

That’s why you should ask for feedback from school community members. They will be more engaged in your fundraisers if they have a say in the planning process.

Send out a survey to parents, teachers, and other staff with questions such as:

  • What fundraising events have you really enjoyed in the past?
  • What types of fundraising events are you most likely to attend?
  • How likely are you to recommend our events to a family member/friend/colleague?
  • How could we make our fundraising opportunities more convenient for getting involved?
  • Where do you usually hear about our events? (Social media, email, phone calls, flyers, etc.)

MemberClicks recommends sending out questionnaires after an event to get immediate feedback on your fundraising events and how you can improve them. Review the questionnaires to see what your community’s greatest concerns are, and make sure to address them ahead of your next event!

With these tips and tricks, you’re well on your way to planning a year of successful fundraising events. Don’t be afraid to change things up and learn from the successes and mistakes of the past. Keep in mind that what’s important is raising money so that your students can have better opportunities in the future!

Special thanks to Brad Dowhaniuk for the expert advice. Brad is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.