Running Successful High School Fundraisers: dealing with common problems

Parent–driven Fundraising

Fundraising in High School brings its own unique set of problems. We’ve listed some common issues that pop up, as well as our ideas for fixing them so that you’ll have successful high school fundraisers.

Key issues:

  1. How to engage a community populated by ‘phantoms’
  2. Volunteer burnout – how to reignite the fire to get involved
  3. Choosing the right fundraiser
  1. How to engage a community when it’s populated by ‘phantoms’

Many parents are ‘phantoms’ when their children get to high school – only seen for teacher interviews and graduation! Add to that teens’ own desire to keep parents in the dark about what’s going on. Seven-year-old Johnny may be been proud as punch handing you a note but 17-year old Jonno is more likely to throw the note away, along with their uneaten healthy packed lunch.

High school students love social networking. Beat them at their own game. Use technology and social networking to get your fundraising messages out!

  • Use your school’s website. Establish – if you don’t already have one – a Parents Group page and regularly post news of meetings, activities, and goals.
  • Use group email to contact parents, sending invitations direct to them (no getting lost at the bottom of the school bag).
  • Use Facebook to promote an event or other fundraising activity. Include a countdown or progress report.

      2. Dealing with volunteer burnout

• Break down tasks into manageable chunks. Think micro-tasks. Offering one hour – and knowing it will be time well spent – is manageable.

• Do not assume that someone who has convened an event will naturally do it again the following year. Be courteous: ask.

• Actively recruit from the incoming classes. If possible, groom a volunteer so they are ready to run the fundraiser the following year.

• Use social networking to spread the word that you’re in need of help. Hitting a response button can be so much easier than picking up a phone (particularly at 11pm!)

• Incorporate a social/fun element into volunteering. Parents of high school students do appreciate meeting new people.

• Thank people for giving their time. No matter how little, time is precious and deserves recognition.

“Since inserting an info sheet about our P&F into the orientation pack, we’ve enjoyed an 80% return rate, building our database of incoming parents interested in getting involved in the high school. We ask what they’re interested in and what skills they have to share. By providing us with their email and phone number, we overcome privacy issues the school had sharing that information – and we have a handle on what people want and have got that’s of use to us as a group.”

P&F executive member, Brisbane

Next article: Getting Volunteers!