With Gala season in full swing and thousands of things to organise, it can be easy to forget the primary intention of raising funds. Although the downstream benefit of strengthening school community is important, a healthy bottom line was and is the reason ‘why’ fundraisers take on this huge task (voluntarily mind you).
Here are three effective keys to fundraising that are never too late to consider and implement with minimal effort:
1. Have someone solely focused on raising funds
Before you write this point off as obvious, remember that galas, or any event, take a lot of planning and huge amounts of effort to execute. Whole teams need to be created, instructed and trusted to do the various parts.
In all the hustle, it’s easy to get focused on, and lost in, the details of ‘what’ you are doing, and how. Someone needs to be steering the ship; someone who remembers ‘why’ you are putting on the gala or event in the first place: as a fundraiser and not merely as an event.
We’re can’t overemphasise how important it is to remember why you’re putting on a gala and to keep asking how it’s going to raise money for your fundraising goals.
2. Leverage partnerships – make the most of who is involved
Every organisation is its own unique community but sometimes we can lose sight of being part of the wider community. The more people you can involve, the stronger the ties you can create, the more your organisation can benefit those around you. And, obviously, that means more benefit coming back to your group.
Parents are the obvious first step for many schools and groups. Even universities are still keen to get parents involved. They have more time and money than students but, beyond the obvious, parents are motivated by the idea of creating a great outcome that directly impacts their own kids. That’s a terrific motivator that’s often forgotten the older the kids get in any organisation.
Your greater community, from your suppliers to your neighbours to local businesses, is keen to tap into your audience. There are many important partners who can contribute products, services, or straight up advertising dollars. The easiest way to leverage these parties is simply to talk about how both parties can mutually benefit from a partnership. It’s a relationship that can work well by simply being transparent about who’s getting what. Many businesses have a marketing and advertising budget and would be happy to discuss how you can work together to make something great happen in your community.
We recommend you read our blog post about using stories to make your fundraising more attractive and effective. Build a plan to reach out to the broader community.
Funding agencies – The final group we encourage you to work with is local funding providers. There are funding providers across the country literally with money in the bank waiting for someone to ask. We encourage you to do some research, make phone calls, and ask lots of questions. Aim to establish a funding plan, not just for the one event, but for the lifetime of your organisation.
A well organised and effective gala can really impress, so invite other potential partners to attend your event, even if they aren’t contributing this time. Build relationships for the future of your organisation.
3. Payment Methods – make it easy for people to contribute
Have you found yourself wanting to buy something small from a local market only to discover they only take cash, and you don’t have any? People use plastic more than cash, and catering to this can make a significant difference to your fundraising success. It also allows people to ‘round it up’ – “Thanks for supporting our school. Would you like to round it up to the nearest dollar/$5 /$10?”
EFTPOS: You can contact your bank to arrange EFTPOS and credit card processing – there are lots of new and affordable options. Or get your bank to sponsor the event by giving you free card processing facilities.
INTERNET BANKING: Pay by Phone, and many more options. Do an online search and you’ll find dozens of solutions. People can deposit money straight into your school’s account through direct deposit.
PAYPAL: You can set up a free account for your group to use at special events or for online payments.
FLOAT: Don’t forget that cash is still used. Have enough change on hand for those people who roll out a $100 note for a $5 contribution. Once they’ve broken that hundred, the change will burn a hole in their pocket. And, don’t forget to take cheques.
Make your Gala a success, not just hard work. Remember ‘Why’ you’re doing it (hint: fundraising). Remember to involve more than just your group. And remember to make it easy for people to contribute on the day, or even afterward.
If you’re looking for more fundraising tips and ideas, check out our other fundraising blog posts. If you have questions, we’d love to help – click here contact us now.