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10 Fundraising Questions to Answer Before They're Asked

If you've organised a school fundraiser before, you'll know that getting parents on board is the key to a successful event. Parents need to know how they are expected to participate, and how they can help your fundraiser succeed.

Sending a clear parent communication at the start of the fundraiser is key. This communication should answer frequently asked questions about how your fundraising process works, while explaining the basics of your fundraiser. This will stop your busy volunteers from being inundated with questions. 

With that in mind, here are 10 questions you should answer in your fundraising communications before they're asked.

1. What type of fundraiser is it?

First, you’ll want to make sure parents know what students will be selling or doing to raise funds.

Product fundraisers are fundraisers that involve selling a product. Some product fundraisers provide booklets or catalogues showing multiple products for sale. Other types of product fundraisers ask participants to only sell a single item (for example a paver).

Event fundraisers involve students participating in an organised event, such as fun runs and read-a-thons. These events fundraise through entry fees, sponsorship, or donations. Each of these fundraisers requires different effort and participation levels from parents and students. Letting them know how the fundraiser works ensures they are as prepared as possible and ready to fundraise!

2. What are we raising money for?

Your parents will want to know what the money raised will be used for, and how the funds will benefit their children’s education or the school itself.

Highlight the purpose of the fundraiser at the start of your communication. Pointing out the goals for your fundraiser clarifies your intentions for parents and students.

3. How much are students being asked to raise?

Your parents will need to know what your goals are for the fundraiser so they know how much they need to sell. Settle on a specific number that you’d like the fundraising campaign to reach. Then, approximate how much each student will need to raise to reach that goal.

Informing parents and students about the scale of the fundraiser will set expectations in terms of how much fundraising should be done. Once parents are aware of the fundraiser’s goals and deadlines, they can better plan a fundraising strategy. Letting them know a specific number to reach increases the likelihood that your fundraiser will be a success.

To further motivate your fundraising participants, you may offer prizes for top fundraisers or tiered prizes for any participant who raises over a certain amount. A couple of our favourite non-cash prizes are a designated car park at school for the term, a chair at assembly, or a first in line pass at the canteen!

4. What forms do we need to complete and return?

While order forms are usually the first ones that come to mind when we think of fundraising paperwork, your parents may also need to fill out forms and official documentation for their children to participate in the fundraiser itself. Clearly explain which forms are needed so parents don’t miss any in the process of fundraising.

Some of the common fundraisers that require additional forms are activity-based fundraisers like colour runs. Physical activities like these sometimes require a waiver to be completed to ensure participants understand and accept liability for any risks associated with participating. Some fundraisers involving excursions may require permission slips to be completed. 

Give your parents plenty of notice to complete these tasks.

5. How do we use the order form?

If you're running an order form based fundraiser at your school, it's likely the available products come in different sizes and options. In the first instance, unfamiliar forms can be confusing, especially when there are a lot of different product offerings.

In your communication to parents, offer detailed instructions on how to properly fill out order forms and highlight information they may need to make their purchasing decision. Try to address any questions you think may arise, so parents and students don’t encounter any order form roadblocks.

To ensure orders are processed correctly, ask families to fill out all student information on the form and ensure they are readable. If you can find a volunteer to check order forms as they are received, this will help alleviate delays at the end of your fundraiser.

6. Do you have access to online fundraising resources?

Many fundraisers are now supported by online fundraising tools and resources, like online catalogues, QR codes and online ordering platforms.

Fundraisers are time-critical, so sharing materials as soon as possible will help your fundraiser have a successful launch and a smooth finish.

In your parent communication, you could offer to walk through the technology with images and notes, making it as easy as possible for parents. It's also a great idea to have a dedicated tech-savvy volunteer available during your fundraiser, who can assist parents with online ordering if need be.

7. How do we make payment?

Tell parents about the payment options available. This avoids obstructions at the final point of order. 

If you're accepting multiple ordering methods, such as in-person order forms with cash payment as well as online orders, let parents know which method is most beneficial for a smooth fundraiser.

8. How can we help our students raise the most funds?

Some parents may participate in the fundraiser themselves, but not think about making an impact by sharing the fundraiser with other family, friends, and workmates.  Giving them ideas on how to boost their fundraising efforts, such as taking their order form to their workplace, sporting event, or community gathering.

9. When will the fundraiser end?

Sharing the deadline for the fundraiser early allows parents to plan their fundraising efforts. Instruct parents to return completed order forms or online payments by a set date to avoid late entries. 

As well as sharing the fundraiser's end date, you may want to set a collection date for sales items in your initial letter. This way you can avoid being inundated with enquiries about when items will arrive after the fundraiser closes.

10. Are there any prizes or incentives?

Finally, let parents know about any incentives that might encourage their students to help with fundraising.

Many schools offer fun prizes to the students or classes that raise the most during the fundraising campaign. Prizes for students may be something like a lunch pizza party at school or a gift voucher from a local business. These prizes help motivate classes to earn the most money.

To encourage parents to help out with their student’s fundraiser, some schools offer incentives for the parents as well! If your fundraiser offers parent incentives, make sure to share this too! A gift card to the best local restaurant in your area pushes parents to put more effort into fundraising, further helping you achieve and surpass your fundraising goal.