If you’re a proud parent to a high school athlete, you don’t need anyone to tell you that training, equipping, and transporting your kid during the season (and before and after too) is expensive. Really expensive, in some places: According to a report from CNBC, some Texas high school football coaches earn six-figure salaries. That’s not bad at all for a four-month-out-of-the-year job.
It’s not just high school sports. Club teams are spendy too. So are non-athletic extracurriculars: debate teams, model UN, science and entrepreneurship societies, you name it. These pursuits help round out your kids and render them more attractive in college admissions officers’ eyes. But they’re not free.
Raising money for the activities your kids love shouldn’t be any more of a chore than said activities. You shouldn’t need a college degree to figure out the wording when asking for donations or coming up with fundraising ideas. Try these five simple fundraising ideas to make your life easier.
Build Your Campaign Around Themed Events
Everyone likes a party. Donors respond well to themed events built around entertaining set pieces, like karaoke nights, a bake sale, or pancake breakfasts. (If a pancake breakfast won’t get your fellow parents to open their wallets, what will?) Brainstorm practical, scale-appropriate events, then poll other parents, teachers and community members to get a sense of what they’d like to see.
Create an Email List
Even if you’re fundraising among friends, family and fellow parents, you’ll probably be dealing with too many donors to keep straight. Ask donors and prospective donors to provide their email addresses, if they’re willing. Send out periodic updates or brief newsletters to keep them engaged, as well as personal email thank-yous whenever you receive a new donation. You’re much more likely to get repeat donations this way.
Be Visible Around Town
Between tentpole events, make your presence felt at a lower key. Ask anchor retailers, like big box stores and grocery stores, to table in their entryways or checkout areas. Schmooze with fellow parents at games or club events, (gently) reminding them that you do indeed still have a campaign going. You can even go the extra mile with a custom bumper sticker or window decal. Remember, every cocked head is an opportunity to make an ask.
Have a Seamless Web Donation Option
Even if you’re not planning to fundraise far outside your hometown, it doesn’t hurt to set up a secure online donation link for donors who can’t be bothered to break out their checkbooks or drop cash in your (literal) donation jar. This primer outlines what’s necessary to add a PayPal donation link to your group’s website, for instance.
Track Your Progress in (Near) Real Time
You don’t have to put up a goal progress thermometer on the town green or playing field complex entrance to show off your fundraising success. Just add a digital version to your fundraising website. If you use WordPress, a lightweight plugin like this does just fine. Other common platforms should have compatible options too. Don’t worry about programming expertise; these are quite literally plug and play.
They’re Worth It
No fundraising plan is totally turnkey. As they say, you have to spend money, or at least devote some time and effort, to make money.
But you’d probably agree that your kids are worth the fuss, or you wouldn’t be doing this in the first place. Here’s to hoping these tips help make your fundraising life a little easier. Let’s see what you can achieve with them!