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Crafting the Ideal Fundraiser Timeline

We hear it all the time: "It's summer! Why should I be thinking about our Fall Fundraiser?" or "It's almost Christmas! Why think about a fundraiser we won't have until the spring?"

While we love to kick back and take advantage of vacation time like anyone else, we also know that it's vital to start prepping for your fundraiser months in advance. 

It's never too early to be researching and exploring new opportunities for your school fundraiser. But, there also comes a point where admin approval needs to be granted, decisions need to be made and planning needs to start happening in full-swing. We recommend that your fundraiser planning kick-off at least 3 months prior to your preferred event date. 

A Note on Setting Your Event Date: When planning the date of your event, consider other events going on within the school. You want your event to be the only fundraiser in that season (you never want two fundraisers going at the same time, parents
will only support one!). 

Many of our PECs (Personal Event Coaches) suggest that once you have the ideal date for your event picked out, that you start working backward from that point to craft your timeline. Example: You want your Fun Run to happen the first week of November. So, you flip your calendar to 3 months prior and see that you should start the planning process at the beginning of August (note - this timeline should be adjusted according to the scale and aim of your fundraiser. Planning a huge celebration the day of the event? Might want to start your planning process earlier to accomodate all the details).

While the best way to create your fundraiser timeline is to team up with yours truly and work with your own PEC, this blog post should provide a general guideline of the tasks for each step of the way! 

Event timeline

4-6 Months Before Event: Prepping/Researching/Approval

It's never too early to start exploring possibilities for your next fundraiser. We urge new schools and interested clients to take our online tour to really get an understanding of what we offer, how our services work, and what our online database can mean for their school.

You should be researching:

  • Types of fundraisers
  • Best practices
  • Potential services and outside companies 
  • Creative incentives
  • Unique ways to promote your fundraiser
  • Top methods for getting the most involvement out of students, parents, and faculty

Once you've compiled your research, it is time to pitch your ideas to your Parent Group/fundraising board. If you've taken our online tour, we recommend sharing what you've learned (or, scheduling a group online tour so they can see first-hand our online database and other a-thon services).

After pitching your idea to your Parent Group, you will need to get principal/administrative approval. To gain this approval from your principal and PTO/PTA, you will most likely need a rough outline of your fundraiser, including general dates for the kickoff, donation period, and event day. 

2-3 Months From Event Day: Planning and Setting Goals

Now that your fundraiser is approved, it's time to get to work on planning everything from your goals to your incentives. During this period, we suggest you organize the following:

  • Signing up with your outside fundraising company of choice (fingers crossed it's TGMC!)
  • Be in communication with your PEC or other point-person and get trained on using their database/services
  • Organizing a chairperson and/or committee
  • Schedule committee meetings for duration of fundraiser
  • Establish fundraiser theme
  • Brainstorm creative ideas to incorporate
  • Figure out school, classroom, grade and student goals
  • Create incentive/prizes for reaching your overall (can be broken up into smaller amounts) and individual goals. If creating tangible rewards, make sure to order these asap.

During this period you should also figure out if you will try to get local sponsors for your fundraiser (note: check out The Key to Getting Local Sponsors for more info). If sponsorship is the goal, then you should use this time to send our Sponsorship Letters to businesses in the community. It’s best to plan ahead because the decision from sponsors usually has to go through several levels of approvals before being finalized. Also, if you are competing against other non-profits, it’s best to be the early bird!

1-2 Mopromote iconnths Before Event Day: Promote, Promote, Promote!

Once the blueprint for your fundraiser is established, it's time to reveal it to the school! This period is crucial for success as you want to get the most students and parents involved, maintain excitement throughout your donation period, and make sure your fundraising goals are being met (for current clients, check out our Let's Get Started document in the Event Toolbox for tips on staying on track!).

  • Announce your fundraiser to students and faculty/staff (if doing a kickoff/assembly, make sure you plan and prep for this with flair, announcement scripts, giveaways, and any information you want to send home with students)
  • Send home info for parents with steps on how to be involved
  • Publish the details on your fundraiser goals and the incentives to motivate students
  • Decide if you are doing t-shirts for your fundraiser. If so, you need to gather sizes from students and teachers, order t-shirts, and schedule when you will pass them out prior to the event (our NEW T-Shirt Toggle makes this process super easy!).

During this period it's also important to keep track of your fundraising progress and share this progress with students and parents. Check out our helpful article for advice and examples from our past clients.

Event Day: Party & Continue to Promote 

On the day of your fundraiser you will need to set up, facilitate the event, keep your volunteers organized, and enjoy the party! This is typically a day of celebration as well as work. 

There has been a lot of sweat equity put into the weeks leading up to event day and your parent group, students, parents and teachers will see this as a time to celebrate the progress that's been made. But, make sure to continue to promote your fundraiser if donations are able to be collected even after the event has concluded. Use event day as an opportunity to communicate your progress and any news on a celebration assembly to follow the fundraiser.

Post-Event: Wrap Up & Take a Bow

Each fundraising wrap-up will be unique to the school, but there are 3 basic steps that every Parent Group should consider.

We consulted our Personal Event Coaches for their expert knowledge and what they advise our clients to do after they finish their Fun Run. We've compiled that advice into 3 simple steps for you to follow. 

  1. Celebrate: After you've finished your fundraiser and the donation period is complete, it's time to calculate how much you've earned & celebrate your hard work! Make sure to share this good news with your students, staff/faculty, parents, sponsors, and pledgers. This will not only allow others to share in your fundraising success but it will also build trust in your Parent Group & gain support for next year's fundraiser!
  2. Gratitude: Fundraising success is a team effort, which is why it's important to thank those who were involved in helping you reach your fundraising goals. Make sure to especially thank any local sponsors for their donations. You want to be sure they will support you next year by showing your gratitude & expressing what their support has done for the school & community. Also, make sure to follow through on any sponsorship incentives you have in place.
  3. Schedule Again for Next Year: It might seem crazy to think about next year's fundraiser, but trust us when we say this is one of the best things you can do after your current fundraiser has ended! This way you can already be promoting for next year, plan ahead with local sponsors, & if you book again with TGMC, we typically offer awesome incentives (be on the lookout!).

We hope this timeline is helpful!

If you want to learn more about organizing your next fundraiser, take our online tour and get a taste of the kind of step-by-step help you can expect by teaming up with TGMC!

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