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Category: School Fundraising

Fundraising – In Good Times, and in Bad

Fundraising – In Good Times, and in Bad

Hand drawing a game strategy
Sandy Rees, an expert in nonprofit fundraising, gives us solid strategies for fundraising through thick and thin.

Sandy Rees, author of the Get Fully Funded Blog, is a nonprofit fundraising coach, author, speaker and trainer with experience and expertise in many areas of the fundraising industry.

In a recent post, Sandy reveals expert fundraising strategies to help your organization be successful all year round.  As Sandy says, “if you don’t practice good fundraising during the good times, your bad times are going to be really bad.”

Make sure your organization is up to speed with strong strategies for success at all times.  Read Sandy’s full article here >>


4 Reasons to Fundraise with Cookie Dough

4 Reasons to Fundraise with Cookie Dough

Bake sale cookies
Why choose cookie dough for fundraising?  Here are 4 reasons that are sure to have you convinced!

We can’t get enough of cookie dough fundraisers, especially with all the delicious varieties and even healthier cookie dough options to choose from.  And we think you’ll love cookie dough too!  If you haven’t tried raising funds with cookie dough yet, here are 4 reasons that you can take to the bank: 

1.  It’s easy to sell.

Just list the mouth watering flavors and show the colourful brochures to supporters… then tell them how fast and easy it is to scoop-and-bake or place-and-bake the dough to get warm, gooey, irresistible cookies fresh out of the oven.  They’ll be knocking down your door to place their orders!

2.  The profits are high.

You can raise up to 55% profit with some varieties of cookie dough.  But what does that really mean?  Let’s say your cookie dough sells for $12 per tub (a nice price for such a yummy treat, and one tub typically makes about 4 dozen cookies!).  At 55% profit, your group will be making $6.60 profit on every tub sold!  That’s a lot of dough for selling… dough 🙂

3.  It’s a product people actually want.

Many people express concern over sales fundraisers because they don’t like the idea of friends and family feeling obligated to purchase something they don’t really want.  With cookie dough, we’ve heard of many groups that have past supporters begging them to bring back their cookie dough fundraiser because they want more!

4.  There are no upfront costs.

Cookie dough is a pre-sale or order-taker fundraiser.  Participants go out with brochures and order forms, and take orders from friends and family.  They collect the money at that time, and then you place your group’s full order at the end of the fundraiser.  You pay for the cookie dough with a portion of the money collected, and keep the rest as your profit.  You don’t pay for any product upfront.

Doesn’t that make you want to start a cookie dough fundraiser right now?!  If you’re planning to try out this fantastic fundraising money-maker (and we hope you are), here are a few things to keep in mind:

–  Be sure you have refrigerating facilities to store the cookie dough from the time you receive it until it is delivered to supporters.

–  Selling time should be about 2 weeks – not too long, but long enough to give participants 2 weekends for selling.

–  When planning your fundraiser, remember to factor in delivery time for order forms and brochures, as well as delivery time for your cookie dough order.  Call your fundraising company ahead of time to be sure you have all the details.

Ready to start your cookie dough fundraiser?  Check out your cookie dough options here, or call 1-866-891-0053 to speak with a cookie dough fundraising consultant.

Want to know more about cookie dough and many more fantastic fundraisers?  Get your free fundraising product guide.

Seth Godin’s Advice to Non-Profits

Seth Godin’s Advice to Non-Profits

signature on a letter of thanks for the donation
We thought this blog post had some good advice on how non-profits can change the nature of what it means to support a charity.

You don’t have to abandon the traditional ways of doing marketing, but you do have to turn donors into patrons in order to win big.

Read Seth Godin’s “I gave at the office” post.

Seth Godin is a marketing guru who writes the most popular marketing blog in the world. He is also the author of best selling marketing books, and the founder of

Happy Insightful Reading 🙂


Fundraising Tip: Dress for Success!

Fundraising Tip: Dress for Success!

If your group, team or organization has a uniform, wearing that uniform for fundraising events and activities can have a big impact on your success.  Don’t miss out on this money-making tip!

Are you fundraising with a sports team, or with Boy Scouts or Girl Guides, or any other group that has a regular uniform?  Is your group wearing their uniforms for fundraising?  They should be because it can have a big effect on the success of your fundraiser!

When you and your group wear your uniforms to a fundraising sale or event, you bring authenticity to your fundraiser.  There’s no question about where the money will be going, and your fundraiser looks official when everyone is dressed for the part.

In addition, your group is more likely to work as a team if you’re dressed like one.  This can be a great benefit because when everyone’s working together, great things happen.  Also, when you make it clear that the group’s success depends on teamwork, every individual will be doing their best to contribute to the goal.

If your group doesn’t have a uniform, logo t-shirts and hats, sweatshirts, track suits and any other article of clothing featuring your group name and logo will work just as well as long as everyone participates in wearing them proudly.  If you’re the adult leader of a youth organization, set the example by wearing yours too.

As an added bonus, it’s much easier to keep track of everyone when they’re dressed in matching colors, which is key when fundraising with children (For safer fundraising, always be sure to have plenty of responsible adult leaders, use the buddy system, and never let children leave the area where you can see them unless accompanied by an adult leader).

When you and your group dress for fundraising success, you create a winning team that brings you one step closer to your goals!

How to Run Your Silent Auction Fundraiser

How to Run Your Silent Auction Fundraiser

How to market your auction
Now that you have set the date and location and have collected the sale items for your silent auction fundraiser, you need to prepare for the auction day itself. Preparation is key; having things organized before hand will help the sale to run smoothly which makes people stay around longer and keep bidding. Here are tips to help you prepare.

Before the Silent Auction

*If you haven’t already, make a spread sheet listing all of the donated items; the item, item description, an item number, who donated it, the retail value, and starting bid. Then print out a paper or two per item listing these details at the top and put numbered lines below for people to write their names and bids.

*For a professional look and to make it easy for potential buyers to bid, place each item’s sheet on its own clipboard and attach a pen to it. Alternatively you can tape them to the tables to keep them in place.

*Prior to the silent auction, compile a booklet of items that will be for auction. Some people like to see all of the items listed as a whole before walking into the bidding area.

*If you haven’t yet, decide on how long of a preview time you will have for people to come and look at the items. Usually an hour to hour and a half is sufficient. Also decide the ending time. Silent auctions work best as half day events done in conjunction with other activities. Make sure that these times are clearly stated in the advertisements.

*Create and print up bidding and payment procedures. For bidding people should write their name and a whole dollar amount on the paper of the items they want. When they are outbid they can raise their bid by writing their name and higher bid below the previous high bidder. For paying it is best to set up two areas; one where people pay and one where they collect their purchases. Direct them to pay first, get a receipt and then show the receipt to the people who are distributing the items.

*Obtain a cash box and plenty of change and/or a credit card procesor.

*Set out donations. You can sort them by price or by type such as gift cards, foods, services and clothing. Don’t put two similar items near each other; spread things out to keep people moving around. It’s better to use two rooms rather than stuff everything in one room.

Day of the Silent Auction

*Post bidding and buying procedures or hand them out to attendees.

*Have items arranged and with bidding papers and pens next to each item.

* Open the doors on time.

* Make closing announcements one hour, thirty minutes and ten minutes prior to ending the auction.

*At ending time, have appointed volunteers collect the item sheets and items, taking them to thier own respecitve areas.

*As customers pay, make sure to mark the item as paid and then have them take their item sheet to the other area to pick up their item. Make sure to keep the bidding sheets for your records.

School Grants Awarded at Top School Fundraisers

School Grants Awarded at Top School Fundraisers

School supplies on blackboard background
Top School Fundraisers ran a grant competition for schools across the country and has announced the winners!

Top School Fundraisers/Step by Step Fundraising recently announced the winners of their School Grants award program. Thanks to this generous competition, several schools will get help to complete projects to further the development of their students, including educational class trips, computers, and science lab equipment.

Read about the winning schools on Top School Fundraisers and be sure to sign up for their newsletter to keep posted on more great resources for school fundraising!

If you need to collect some funds for a classroom project, check out our Online Grants for Schools section in our list of Top Online Fundraising Tools.

Social Media Marketing for Non-Profits

Social Media Marketing for Non-Profits

We found some great advice on how non-profits can win by using social media in their marketing efforts.

Mitch Joel, a renowned authority on digital marketing wrote a terrific article, 10 Simple Ways Non-Profits Can Win At Social Media Marketing.

He really provides a great summary on the hottest social media marketing tools available to help your non-profit. Why are the tools Mitch mentions so wonderful? Because not only do they cost very little, but they will help more and more people know about your organization. The more people know about you, the more they talk about you, and the greater your chances of raising more money 🙂


6 Ways to Fight Fundraiser Burnout

6 Ways to Fight Fundraiser Burnout

Do you want to be happy?
There are two types of fundraiser burnout: the burnout you and your group feel during a fundraiser, and the burnout both group members and supporters feel when there are just too many fundraisers going on.

Today, let’s look at the first – fighting the burnout you and group feel during a fundraiser.

We’ve all been there.  It’s midway through the fundraiser when suddenly everyone’s motivation plunges down to record lows.  It’s not good for morale, and it certainly isn’t good for your bottom line.  So what do you do?

Here are six ways you can fight this fundraising phenomenon:

1. Keep it Short

Two weeks is the recommended duration for most fundraisers.  It’s short enough to avoid burnout, but long enough to include two weekends of prime selling time.

Whether you’re selling raffle tickets, taking cookie dough orders, or collecting donations, keep it short.

What About Ongoing Fundraisers?

Break up your selling time into short bursts.  For example, if your school is selling lollipops year round, make them available on Fridays only, or shorten your selling time to only half an hour during lunch time.

2. Stay Energized

You set the tone for your fundraiser.  If you’re not bursting with energy, it’s unlikely your group will be.

Remember that your energy level directly affects your group’s.  If you can keep yourself energized, it’ll be easier to get them on board too.

3. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Many people find visualization to be one of the strongest tools for success.  You have a goal to reach.  Visualize this goal daily, and use it as a driving force to keep you motivated.

If you have a prize program or other type of incentive for group members, they also have a goal: to reach those rewards.  Keep their eye on the prize too and they’ll stay motivated.

4. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive words get positive results.  Negative words… well, you get the idea.  When we’re busy, frustrated or overworked, we often forget the power of a positive outlook.

Remind yourself to say at least one positive thing each time you meet with your group, or to send words of encouragement by email each day.  Not only will you get a mood boost, your group will feel it too.

5. Kick Up Your Kick Off

A good fundraiser starts strong.  Kick start your fundraiser with a high energy kick off that sets a strong tone for your fundraiser.

Use music, motivational speeches, games, incentive prizes and other encouraging tools to get your group excited.  Starting off on the right foot will help your fundraiser stay strong through the finish line.

6. Choose a Product That’s Easy to Sell

It’s fun to get creative and try new things when fundraising.  In fact, trying new things can almost be a point on its own, as this is a great way to keep your group interested.

More important, however, is to choose products that are actually easy to sell so that your group members won’t be easily discouraged.  Think to yourself, “Would I buy this?  Would my neighbors buy it?  Can most people afford it?”  If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you’ve got yourself a good product.

Interested in product fundraising?  Have a FREE Fundraising Product Guide sent right to your mailbox!

Spring Cleaning for Your Fundraising Calendar

Spring Cleaning for Your Fundraising Calendar

© Scott O. Smith, All Rights Reserved
Spring is in the air and it’s time to sweep out the cobwebs!  That goes for your fundraising calendar too.  A good spring cleaning can really tidy up your fundraising, and put you on the path to success.

Everything needs a good spring-cleaning at least once a year – including your fundraising calendar!  Most non-profit groups and organizations host at least one major annual fundraiser, but many will hold several throughout the year.  All that planning can lead to one cluttered calendar, which can make your job as fundraising organizer difficult and stressful, when it should be fun and rewarding.

Make your job easier and your fundraisers stress-free and successful by cleaning out the clutter once a year.  How do you do that?  Keep reading and you’ll find out!

Let’s Get Sweeping!

1.  Review and organize files from previous years

– Throw out anything you don’t need
– Sort files by campaign (If you ran a spring and fall campaign in 2005, create 2 files – Spring 2005, Fall 2005)
– Note:  A great alternative to separate files is a large binder with labeled dividers.

2.  As you’re going through, keep a notepad of any phone numbers, email addresses or other important contact information.

3.  Create ‘summary sheets’ for previous fundraising campaigns that include:

–  Your original goal
–  Type of campaign (product sold, or event hosted)
–  The fundraising company you worked with
–  Participants and volunteers involved
–  How much you spent
–  How much you raised
–  Any additional information that might be helpful to future organizers

4.  Attach your summary sheets to the inside cover of each file for easy reference.

5.  Remember that notepad of contact information?  Use it to update contact information for group members, volunteers, fundraising suppliers, businesses, and anyone else typically involved in your fundraisers.

–  Create a “Contacts” file.  Even if you have phone numbers and email addresses in another file or booklet, a separate contacts file kept with your fundraising files will make them easier to access when you need them.

6.  Create a permanent space where everything will be kept, such as a specific file drawer, or designated shelf.

A good spring cleaning can take a full day, or at least an afternoon, but the rewards are well worth it.  The next time you sit down to plan a fundraising campaign, everything you need will be right at your fingertips!  To keep up the organization, have a new file or binder section ready and waiting for the start of your next fundraiser, and maintaining order will be a snap!

Top 5 Ways to Stretch Your Fundraising Dollar

Top 5 Ways to Stretch Your Fundraising Dollar

Donate Blue Marker

Get the most out of your fundraising dollar!

Here are our top 5 tips for stretching your fundraising dollar that all groups (schools, churches, athletic teams, charities, etc.) can take advantage of:

Tip #1 – Get Donors

Some donors provide actual funds to nonprofits, but many also provide gift items to be used at raffles, auctions or as incentive prizes for fundraiser participants.  Having these things donated cuts out the cost of purchasing, meaning your final fundraising profit will be higher.

How do you find donors?  If you’re looking for gift items, go around to local businesses asking them directly.  Send letters and place phone calls to larger organizations.  Offer to advertise their business at your fundraising event in exchange for their generous donations.

Tip #2 – Start Early to Catch Deals and Freebies

No matter what type of fundraiser you’re planning, there will probably be a cost involved somewhere – be it car wash supplies, rental tables, cases of chocolate or printing costs.

Start planning early enough so that you have time to shop around and compare prices.  Go back to original offers if another company gives you a lower offer – the original company may lower their price to get your business, or throw in some extra freebies.

Tip #3 – Follow Your Budget

The easiest way to overspend is to disregard your budget.  It sounds challenging, but all it takes is to plan a budget before you start, and then be sure all your purchases are in line with it.

– Don’t make a purchase until you’ve compared the cost to your budget and are sure it will fit.
– Keep track of every cost, no matter how small.  Coffee for your volunteers?  Write it down!
– Immediately subtract all costs from your budget once the purchase is confirmed.

Tip #4 – Identify Your Must-Haves

A great way to plan a budget is to list of everything you need and want for your fundraiser.  Go through the list and identify the “must-haves” – things you absolutely need.  Everything else on the list is a “nice-to-have” and should only be added to your budget if there is money left over after all the “must-haves” are accounted for.

Example: If you’re planning a charity walk, water for your participants may be a “must-have”, but an assortment of juices and expensive bottled waters are probably “nice-to-haves”.

Recognize needs vs. frills and you’ll find your dollar goes much further.

Tip #5 – Watch Out for the Pennies

Watch out for extra expenses.  For example, shipping fees are one of those things that can be easily overlooked.  Before factoring cost into your budget, get the FULL price including shipping, handling and any applicable taxes.

Also, things like paper for fundraising flyers can often be cut back on.  The more expensive, higher quality paper may look better up close, but most people will see it on a wall or through a storefront, so in this case, it’s ok to cut costs by choosing a lower quality product.