Fundraising organizers! Learn how to effectively communicate with parents to get them involved in your fundraising efforts.
Parents play a significant role in youth fundraising. Their presence and participation can be a great source of support for you, and can also help motivate the kids. However, getting parents involved can sometimes be a task in and of itself.
First, let’s look at the reasons why parents might not get involved…
It isn’t necessarily because parents don’t want to get involved, but they may not think they have the time, may have forgotten, or may not even know about the fundraiser in the first place.
Many of you fundraising organizers out there are parents yourselves, so you know what a busy job it is, and how easy it can be for something to slip your mind without frequent reminders.
Additionally, it’s a common mistake to assume that parents know about the fundraiser. We all know that kids can be forgetful at times, and aren’t the most reliable for keeping Mom or Dad informed. Don’t assume that letters or notices made it home either. These can easily get lost in the bottom of book bags, and can even go overlooked by parents.
Lastly, asking for something unspecific like “help with the fundraiser” doesn’t leave parents with an understanding of what you’re asking them. They may think it’s too time consuming, or not really know what they can do to help, so in the end, they do nothing.
Now let’s look at when you can speak to parents…
To keep parents informed and get them involved, you need to actively communicate! Don’t miss opportunities when parents are around.
Your best chances are when parents drop off, or pick up their children, so be sure to plan the day so that you will be free to speak with parents at these times. Sit down with the other adult leaders in your group and plan quiet activities the children can engage in at these times. Also be sure that the other leaders take active roles with the children at these times so that you will be free to meet with parents.
Letters and notices are still important, and can be useful reminders to parents when you aren’t around. When parents arrive to pick up their kids, take your fundraising notice and put it directly into the parent’s hand, not the child’s.
Also be sure to look at how you speak to parents…
When talking to parents, remember to use encouraging words, and to have a positive attitude. Instead of just saying there’s a fundraiser going on and they need to participate, tell them how excited the children are about the fundraiser. Tell them what the money raised will be used for, and how important it is to the children that the goal is met. Invite them to get involved, and let them know how they can be involved.
Also, be specific about what you’re asking for. If you’re asking them to participate, let them know how. If you’re asking them to volunteer with an event, let them know what specific tasks you need help with, for example, set up and clean up, or supervising the children.
Effective communication is key to any fundraiser, and parents are only one piece of the puzzle. Look closely at how you communicate with participants, supporters and your volunteer staff. Keep a smile on your face, use encouraging words, and if someone says “no”, don’t let it discourage you because your next request may bring a big “YES”!