Timing of fundraisers

Timing, it’s said, is everything. That may be an overstatement in fundraising—but it’s definitely important.

You’ll know from reading The Essentials of Fundraising: 22 lessons for A+ fundraising that we recommend setting a SMART fundraising goal first, and a fundraising calendar that mixes different types of fundraising activities—events and fundraising drives. This helps spread the appeal.

You’ll know we also caution against having more than one fundraiser per school term.

But what other timing considerations are there?

1.  Let families get over the summer holiday/Christmas/back to school credit card shock before hitting them with the first fundraiser!

2.  Take a leaf out of the books of retailers and think calendar events when people are spending money: events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Christmas. By selecting a product with appeal for that particular event, you change where your supporters spend their money, rather than asking them to dig deeper at times when they may be strapped for cash anyway.

  • For example, family photo portraits are popular Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) gifts. Some food suppliers provide Christmas fare like fruit mince tarts, rum balls and White Christmas which make up nicely into gift baskets.

3.  Think ahead. We’re all too busy towards the end of the year and there can be financial benefits for getting organised early.

  • For example, every family needs a calendar. Lisa Wright from Beyond Creative says by placing an order of 100 or more 2013 Family Organiser calendars by June 1, fundraisers get 10 free. That’s a profit of $170 just by planning ahead! Beyond Creative takes a 10% deposit and required final payment by September.

“The best thing about the calendar is it shows your family’s details at a glance for each month and you have plenty of space for up to 5 busy family members.

“We have 368 stickers also which help you mark calendar events and holidays, NRL grand finals and Melbourne cup days, even the recycling nights.”

“We have people who repeatedly use this fundraiser, once they put the calendars into the school and people use them for a year the fundraiser sells itself as they have tried the product and love the way it works.”

4.  Think season. Pie drives may sell better in the cooler months when we all enjoy comfort food. Chocolate drives are better in the cooler months too—no-one wants to buy melted gooey chocolate in summer, no matter how worthy the cause!

5.  Steer clear of fundraisers that bridge the shorter school holiday breaks. Families need time off—and that includes fundraising.

6.  Finally, think about when products will be delivered, right down to the time. Someone will need to sign for the consignment. If delivery is to be made to the school office, make sure the supplier knows when the office closes.