by Avi Fleischer & Alana Platt
Fundraising for a school or PTA/PTO is challenging – especially when there are many people working together to raise the funds. While a mutual goal can be a unifying experience, it often requires work to coordinate and manage the project the effort. One of the largest challenges is tracking the funds collected. This is especially true when they are being collected by multiple people across numerous fundraisers. For example, consider a PTA fundraiser such as a carnival. This one event may include different methods of raising money, including the sale of multiple types of tickets (e.g. raffle, rides, games) and concessions as well as donations from business sponsors and community members. When combined with many volunteers selling items and collecting donations, this one event has potential for a lot of profit and headache!
However, these challenges can be solved with the proper set of tools. When planning your fundraiser, you should ask yourself these 5 questions to help keep things running smoothly:
1. What are all the different ways I’m fundraising, and what tools will I use for each?
Make a list of all the ways you are fundraising, and then identify a tool or process for each. For example, if you sell tickets will you use e-tickets or paper tickets. E-ticket software often comes with management tools built in, but if you’re sticking with paper you should have a process worked out.
2. What kind of payment can we accept?
Traditionally fundraisers have relied on cash and check, but many community members prefer credit cards for their ease of use and potential for earning reward points. You may also raise more money when your supporters aren’t limited by how much cash they have on hand. Classmunity schools have reported up to a 40% increase in funds raised at events once they started accepting credit cards.
3. How do I keep track of my funds?
Although we hate to think about it, cash based fundraising is at risk for skimming off the top. No one wants to deal with ugly suspicions resulting from an honest mistake or outright theft. You should have a system in place to keep track of who has collected what funds – especially when dealing with cash. You can use a software platform to help your volunteers keep track of this. Speaking with your school district’s business office is important to see if there are any policies that must be followed.
4. How do I thank donors and issue receipts?
It is important to remember to thank your supporters. Community members often feel the pressure of many competing fundraisers, so communicating your appreciation is important. Depending on the fundraiser your donors may want receipts for tax purposes. You should have an efficient process in place to thank donors and send receipts.
5. How will I recognize my top fundraisers?
Although large fundraisers tend to be team efforts, it is a good idea to have some form of recognition for those who go above and beyond. Establishing a way to track this can be helpful to encourage more participation though recognition.
There are a variety of ways you can address these issues. It is helpful if you have one solution that lets you oversee multiple types of fundraising, easily acknowledge donations, and recognize standout performers. Spending some time at the onset of a fundraiser can spare you a lot of time in the long run.
To learn more about efficient fundraising techniques, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.