For many students, asking local businesses for fundraising support is a frightening proposition. However, most local businesses are eager to support schools in their community. Their financial obligation is usually minimal and they strengthen their community bond through their sponsorship, thereby generating greater future revenue. Most businesses are happy to contribute to school fundraising campaigns; they are simply waiting to be approached.
Whether students are seeking sponsorship or donations, they should keep these tips in mind for a smooth initial meeting with business owners.
Make an Appointment
Students who visit businesses unannounced are likely to be turned away without having the chance to promote their cause. If students call or email to request appointments, owners feel like their time is valued and students get the chance to briefly introduce themselves before approaching a busy proprietor. Local businesses owners are also more candid with students over the phone; if they are not interested in making a donation, there’s no reason for the student to visit the store. By making appointments with busy owners, students will have a better chance of earning their financial support.
Getting involved in a fundraising campaign is the perfect opportunity for students to learn the importance of a powerful first impression. Dressing in professional attire is important. It shows business owners that the students take their fundraising seriously and are willing to dress the part. Students shouldn’t worry about buying a brand new wardrobe. A nicely pressed shirt or blouse and clean dress shoes will go a long way.
When students request financial support from businesses, they should always be prepared to answer any questions owners might have. If the information is difficult to remember, students can carry an informational card with them that they can also leave with the owner. Abbreviated information about the school group and fundraising goal should be printed on the card along with the fundraising chair’s contact number. Local businesses are more likely to donate money or services when they have a clear understanding of how the funds will be used.
Say Thank You
Students should end every business meeting with a firm handshake and a sincere “thank you.” Fundraising chairs can also invest in inexpensive thank you notes which students can send to local businesses after their meetings. Even if business owners decide not to contribute, a heartfelt note just might be enough to change their minds. Students also learn the valuable lesson of thanking people for the gift of their time.