Fundraising Engagement: Tips to Build School Spirit

Fundraising Engagement: Tips to Build School Spirit

From school colors to mascots, your community is inspired by a collective school spirit. This supportive culture may be evident in your athletic, music, and theater programs, but does it carry over to your fundraising efforts?

As you plan for your fundraiser, it’s essential to incorporate elements that inspire the same sense of school spirit. Regardless of your chosen fundraiser, the more engaged your community is, the more exciting, unifying, and successful your fundraising results will be.

For best results, create an engagement plan that covers top to-dos before, during, and following your fundraiser. This way, you can promote your event and earn increased involvement during all fundraising stages. In this guide, we’ll walk through actionable tips for each stage. Let’s begin.

1. Pre-fundraising engagement tips.

An engaging fundraiser begins with thoughtful communication. After you’ve selected an idea, make a plan to keep your school body informed and excited leading up to your fundraiser. This way, you can address any questions that may arise, solicit volunteers, and build hype around your event ahead of time.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Plan informative communications: Take advantage of your school’s existing communication methods such as email newsletters, school announcements, and text messages to send out concrete details about the upcoming fundraising event. Mention the date, time, and where parents and staff can find more information when the final details are rolled out. If applicable, plan an informational session to brief parents and volunteers.
  • Update your promotional channels: Use your social media accounts to not only brief your school community about your fundraiser but also increase anticipation leading up to your event. For example, if you plan to run a school auction, you might post auction item teasers on your school’s Facebook or Instagram account. Be sure to engage with comments and encourage your community to share updates with their personal networks.
  • Host engaging pre-events: Excite your audience by hosting pre-events to kick off your fundraiser. Whether it’s a school-wide pep rally, dress-up day, or silent auction preview party, events like these make your fundraiser more memorable in the midst of busy school schedules.

Using these ideas, you can make sure your community is well-informed and enthusiastic about your fundraising event.

2. Fundraising engagement tips.

As you near your fundraising date, consider ways to make your existing plan more engaging. This could include adding other options to your existing fundraising plan to give your community more fun ways to give. For example, online shopping fundraisers are a great addition to your fundraising plans as your school can run one without having to pay for a venue or supplies.

Besides diversifying your fundraising type, here are a few other ways to foster engagement during your event:

  • Involve your students: Invite your students to participate in your fundraising efforts. Partner with student organizations like the art department to create eye-catching fundraising flyers and them post around your school. Or, ask the High School Honor Club for volunteers to help coordinate day-of setup and cleanup efforts. This way, you receive extra help and students can earn valuable volunteer hours to place on college applications.
  • Foster friendly competition: Host competitions between classes, grade levels, or even clubs by offering incentives for those with the most pledges earned. You can also display real-time leaderboards so that each team can track their progress. Doing this will invite your school community to approach fundraising as a team-building event.
  • Gamify your event: In the context of fundraising, gamification refers to the process of adopting game-like strategies and elements to entertain and delight your audience. Leverage fundraising technology with gamification features, such as peer-to-peer or auction fundraising platforms. For instance,’s guide to auction software recommends selecting a platform with outbid notifications and auction countdown features.

When selecting your engagement strategies, be sure to choose ones that enhance the overall fundraising experience. Know your audience and offer options that would best align with their preferences. For instance, if your community prefers flexible events, you might choose a virtual fundraising event rather than an in-person one.

3. Post-fundraising engagement tips.

Following your event, continue to prioritize communication. Doing so will let your school community know about all the great things they’ve collectively accomplished. Here are some top ideas:

Provide a post-event recap

Just as you hosted a kickoff event to inspire engagement, consider hosting a post-event wrap-up to reward contributors for their hard work and inform your community about the fundraiser’s results. Be sure to emphasize your school’s efforts and note how each member of your community made a difference.

For example, you might share that with your new funds, you’re now able to provide jerseys and equipment for your athletic teams. This way, supporters can understand their direct impact and feel motivated to continue supporting your fundraising efforts.

Promote matching gifts

Your donors contribute what they can to support your school and its students. Their donations go toward enhancing the programs, extracurricular activities, and equipment you provide to create an enriching learning environment. What if they could multiply the impact of their gifts, all without spending more money?

With matching gifts, they can. Many companies leverage workplace giving software to engage employees in their corporate philanthropy efforts. All your school’s donors have to do is check their eligibility and submit a matching gift request on their employer’s platform. Then, the company will match the amount their employee contributed to your school, usually at a 1:1 ratio.

It’s estimated that 84% of donors are more likely to make a gift if they know it will be matched. Therefore, spreading the word about matching gifts can not only lead to more funding for your school, but can also encourage more people to contribute to your future fundraising efforts.

Recognize key contributors

Most likely, there are a few key contributors to your fundraiser that really turned the needle. For volunteers and donors alike, be sure to show your thanks. Appreciation events, flowers, and even simple thank-you letters work well to promote a culture of gratitude.

By concluding your fundraising event with your audience in mind, you’ll leave a positive impression. In fact, when you show genuine gratitude for a donor’s support, they are 60 to 70% more likely to give again. Keep your appreciation personalized and prompt to maintain school spirit.

Plan for future events

Take note of your results before tackling your next fundraiser so you can better prepare for future events. NPOInfo’s data collection guide suggests tracking campaign data such as event attendance, supporter satisfaction, and revenue to measure your performance and inform your future strategies. You can understand supporter satisfaction by sending out post-fundraising event surveys as a way to gather impartial feedback from your community.

To engage your school community, create a plan to activate school spirit throughout every stage of your campaign. Keep school fundraising preferences in mind as you finalize your fundraising plans. For example, if past performance indicates that your school’s fundraising efforts do best in the fall rather than the spring, you can plan your event accordingly. By doing this, you will be able to plan and adapt current fundraising trends to stimulate the most engagement.

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