School Fundraising For First-Timers: An 8-Step Guide

By  //  June 26, 2021

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Schools have urgent needs and it can be tempting to pursue fundraising and obtain general resources even without a solid plan in place. Without a good plan, you’re at risk of forgetting your priorities and you may end up not accomplishing your goals.   

To have a clear idea about fundraising, it’s best to know its definition first. 

What Is Fundraising? 

Fundraising refers to all efforts to raise money for a cause or a worthwhile project, and this includes school fundraising campaigns. Most of the time, it doesn’t involve submitting a proposal. Fundraising involves communicating with organizations and private individuals, requesting them to make voluntary contributions to a particular cause or project via fundraising websites, social media, or traditional methods (auctions, bake sales, or snail mail). 

8-Step Guide To School Fundraising 

If you’re planning to conduct a school fundraising, read this helpful guide and learn some of the important considerations and tips in holding a successful one. 

■ Define The Vision And Goals Of The School  

The first step in school fundraising is goal setting. A successful school fundraising should be able to define the vision and goals of the school clearly. Participants and benefactors need to know what you’re striving to achieve, as well as the needs and issues that are to be addressed after the fundraising event.  

Here are some tips in defining your school fundraising goals: 

Assess: You should assess the needs of the school carefully and prioritize each need. You can base this assessment on the school budget, school improvement plan (SIP), and asset mapping. Your fundraising efforts should also include working with the teachers, principal, and the community group of the school to obtain cost estimates and timelines. 

Brainstorm: It’s important to meet your team and start planning. You can ask them about some excellent fundraising ideas for schools, such as ones you can read at Exchange of ideas is best done after determining the primary and urgent needs of the school.

Create A List: Use a blank sheet of paper and make columns for ‘Needs,’ ‘Prioritized Needs,’ ‘Projected Cost,’ and ‘Acquisition Date.’ These lists will help you stay organized throughout the event. 

Prioritization: Write down the needs of the school and prioritize the list using numbers 1 to 10, with 1 as the least important and 10 as the most important. You should consider the immediacy and the feasibility of meeting those needs. 

Cost Estimation: Once you know the needs to prioritize, you can now estimate the cost.  

Set Acquisition Dates: After the planning stage, you can write down the target date to meet those needs. Always focus on your top three priorities. This way, you’ll achieve the most important priorities successfully than trying to attain all of them at once without guarantee.  

■ Identify Donor Values And Concerns 

Once you have identified the needs and solutions involved in school fundraising, then it’s time to identify the values and concerns that prospective donors will likely have in giving wholeheartedly to this cause.  

While collaborating with a local business or corporation can be beneficial to your school fundraising event, make sure to partner only with those who are reputable. Evaluate the companies you’re planning to seek help from. Business owners would want to establish themselves as good corporate citizens who support schools. However, without careful assessment, you might trigger doubts and concerns if you deal with companies with previous legal cases or scandals. 

Here’s how: 

Identify Concerned Groups: If you’re planning to raise funds to improve the school playground, you should find prospective donors who show great concern for student health and safety. You can ask volunteers to check out the individuals or groups in the community and school who expressed their concerns.  

Build Good Partnership: Skilled fundraisers partner with community service clubs or organizations that share common values. Determine your prospective partners by deploying volunteers to interview and research businesses offering products and services to parents and students. Your partners should be willing to work with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and the school. 

Contact Students’ Friends And Families: These people will most likely donate because they are the friends and family of the students. They can be great school fundraising ambassadors, helping you widen your connections and reach. 

Highlight Needs And Values 

Plan your fundraising strategies to align with the identified needs of the school and the values of potential donors. Make sure that the theme of your fundraising activity highlights these needs and values.  

Check out these helpful tips on how you can accomplish this goal for your fundraising campaign: 

■ Ensure Appropriateness: For instance, it’s inappropriate to conduct a bake sale if the key values are physical activities and healthy body weight. If you’re planning a food sales fundraising activity, make sure to choose healthy choices, such as food recipes made of fruits and vegetables. 

■ Print The Theme: If you have a uniform like printed T-shirts for your fundraising event, you can print the theme or quote on the shirts. Visual attention is crucial to entice people to donate to the cause. 

■ Share The Experience: If you’ve been a volunteer for previous school fundraising events, you might want to share your experiences. You can also share your personal experience as the event organizer by uploading a video blog or social media posts. 

■ Provide Options 

One of the greatest struggles people face is being caught up in a task they cannot commit to a hundred percent. That’s why it’s important to offer your prospective donors some options and give them freedom and satisfaction in exercising their values.

Will you allow prospective donors to decide on the amount they can contribute? What should be their level of involvement in your fundraising project? It’s better to allow your prospective donors to decide on the level of support and amount of money they can donate. 

Integrate Fundraising Into School Programs  

You can include the fundraising activity in a school program to make it more effective. For instance, you can solicit donations to improve the science laboratory during a science quiz bee. You can apply the same concept in a computer technology seminar to ask for donations for new computers for the school. 

■ Include Prizes And Incentives  

If you want your school fundraising event to be successful, it won’t hurt to include prizes and incentives for your fundraisers. As the head of the fundraising event, you might want to keep the enthusiasm of your fundraisers in gathering donations by giving cool prizes to the top performers, such as a high-end smartphone or home appliance. 

You can also apply the same concept to your partner organizations and businesses. For instance, you can offer free advertisements or mentions in the local newspaper or local TV networks. This way, they’ll be more active in encouraging and requesting people to donate to the cause.  

■ Implement The Best Fundraising Strategies  

Aside from the ones already mentioned, it’s about time to think of the most effective fundraising activities at this point. This step should answer the ‘how’ part of school fundraising.  

Determine the best fundraising platforms or channels to spread the word. You can increase people’s awareness about your fundraising campaign through social media, radio broadcasting, or the school board. 

Here are some of the best school fundraising strategies you might want to consider: 

■ A fun run to support the construction or improvement of the school clinic  

■ Selling student art crafts to help enhance the beauty and cleanliness of school grounds (such as a garden or landscaping project)  

■ School raffle draw with cool prizes such as computers and cash registers for participating businesses 

■ Social media fundraising or sharing 

■ Holding a contest for having the ‘best’ or the ‘most’ (such as the best mini classroom library) 

Give Back To The Community 

School fundraising activities gear towards a primary cause. However, don’t forget that this type of activity also affects the larger community. Ask yourself, how does fundraising help improve the larger community? 

Once you learn how to become more community-oriented in creating your fundraising strategies, you’ll be able to give back to the community without problems. You’ll likewise be able to instill the great values of fundraising activities to students and the entire community by enlightening their minds about philanthropy, so they’ll grow up and develop to become philanthropists themselves. 

Through these, as students finish school and become adults in the community, they’ll be more receptive to give back by also supporting fundraising activities and helping people around them. Hence, this great value of fundraising will be forever treasured and passed on from one generation to the next. 


If you want to attain a successful school fundraising, it’s important to determine your top three priorities. Make sure that they’re reasonable with attainable acquisition dates. Of course, prospective donors should feel that they have full freedom in choosing the amount of money they can donate and their level of involvement, aligned with their values and the school’s programs. Finally, give back to the community and never forget to express the values and true meaning of fundraising activities.