About Roy Cheran

Roy is the Vice President of Marketing at DonorPro, an innovative software company that helps nonprofits grow their fundraising revenue by an average of 37 percent each year. Roy has extensive experience consulting in higher education and leading fundraising efforts for military veteran causes. He is also a regular speaker at nonprofit technology conferences and a public voice for Veterans in the Pittsburgh area.

How to Get Started With K-12 Fundraising

The children need erasers! And air conditioning! And teachers! The children can’t just sit there and be expected to discover how multiplication and division work.

School Fundraising IdeasFundraising for K-12 schools isn’t calculus. While fundraising, in general, may require some serious thinking, raising money for schools is simple math, and something that your school can and should do in order to have the funds to offer the best opportunities.

What is K-12 fundraising?

Educational institutions need to raise money for various expenses, such as student clubs, community projects, facility updates, and more.

K-12 schools receive local, state, and federal funds, but they tend to need more money in order to operate at full capacity. As nonprofits, raising money through charitable donations from parents, alumni, and community members is a great way for schools to accrue more revenue.

Why do schools fundraise?

For the same reason you go to work. They need money to pay the bills. Schools have to cover the cost of teacher salaries, field trips, educational resources, and more.

There are plenty of other common initiatives that schools fundraise for, such as:

  • Sports teams
  • Transportation costs
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Core classes
  • Educational programs
  • Facility renovations

K-12 schools can even emulate colleges and fundraise on behalf of charities. Many K-12 schools have clubs that support local or national causes. These clubs run fundraisers on behalf of their respective nonprofits.

Causes that student clubs and schools might support include:

  • Natural disaster aid
  • Military veterans
  • Homeless shelters

Using a school to fundraise is a great way for nonprofits to make their needs known to entire communities at a time.

How do K-12 schools fundraise?

Fundraising begins and ends with your people, who fall into two groups:

  • Fundraisers – Teachers, administrators, and students are your go-to people for organizing and executing fundraisers. Parents and community members can also help.
  • Donors – Parents are the most common donors, but school staff and members of the community can also give. Just don’t ask your students to fork over their lunch money.

Crafting fundraising events requires knowing your people. What fundraisers do the students want to run? Would parents be more giving if you ran events geared towards them, such as wine tastings? How much time and energy does your school’s staff want to dedicate to fundraising?

Asking for donations is the usual nonprofit method of raising money. If your school is going to request gifts, then it helps to use prospect research to learn important facts about parents that can help to make fundraising appeals more personal and more effective.

However, schools have the luxury of being able to get creative with fundraising. There is a plethora of events that schools can run in order to raise funds for big events like prom, homecoming, and student trips.

Test out one of these three fun, creative fundraising ideas to help your K-12 school get started:

  1. Penny war – Kids might not get naturally excited about fundraising. To encourage more enthusiasm, you can try an interesting, competitive fundraiser. Penny wars challenge students to bring in loose change. You can get tricky with the rules, but the goal is to make it a fun competition that helps your school raise money from spare change that might have otherwise been left lying around.
  2. Bake sale – While parents can obviously get involved by donating, you can build some goodwill by encouraging parents to help out and feel like they’re doing more for the cause. Bake sales are a chance for parents to work with their kids to cook delicious treats. Parents can also help to organize and promote bake sales, as well as oversee the sales. A big perk of getting parents involved as participants, rather than just donors, is that they might tell their friends that they’re part of a bake sale, which could mean that new people come and support your school.
  3. School sleepover – Parents love their kids, but they could always use a night off. Many parents will gladly pay for their kids to sleep at the school. This benefits the kids, too, as they receive a night full of games and snacks with their buddies. Make sure that your school has teachers and administrators willing to help out, as the burden of playing ‘babysitter’ often falls upon them.

The secret weapon of K-12 fundraising is the ability to host events that involve students, parents, and larger communities. Schools can have plenty of fun while raising funds, and there is an endless variety of fundraising events from which they can choose.

Once you’ve selected and hosted some fundraisers, learn how to make the grade with your events by testing their performance using success metrics!

Students in grades K-12 need great resources in order to learn. Don’t wait for the future. Kids are the future, and they need great schools now.


3 Excellent Fundraising Event Ideas for Fall

Cool Fundraising IdeasThe leaves are changing color, the temperatures are dropping, and the kids are back in school. We all know what that means. Fall is here.

Guess what else is here? Fall fundraising season. It’s time. Gather your volunteers. Book your venues. Invite your donors.

First though, you will have to choose which events you will be hosting. In this article we discuss three excellent easy fundraising ideas, if they are not a good fit find more fundraising event ideas here.

As you make your selections, just remember one thing. Creativity is king in the fundraising world. Your supporters are just as bored with the same old, same old as you and your staff are. Shake things up!

Ready for a way to bust out of the gala and run/walk back and forth? Try these three fundraising event ideas on for size.

Fall Fundraising Event #1: Speed Networking

If you want creative, look no further than speed networking. This fundraising event combines three separate types of fundraisers into one super, spectacular fundraising extravaganza! I say that jokingly, but speed networking truly does combine three individually strong fundraising events into one night to remember.

Speed networking is a mix of:

  • speed dating
  • networking luncheons/dinners
  • happy hour events

Many of your supporters are professionals looking for social and casual avenues for networking.

As a fundraising organization, you should be able to appreciate the concept of “it’s who you know” as well anyone. Help strengthen your community of donors by bringing together a group of like-minded individuals to mingle in an interesting format, all for a good cause.

Promote the event across your various communication channels, and especially on social media. Speed networking is likely to draw a slightly younger crowd as its greatest appeal is to young professionals. So, plenty of marketing using your strong social media presence is a must.

Speed networking will run in much the same way as a speed dating fundraiser, minus the romance.

Have all attendees pay a small admission fee. Set up a series of two person seating arrangements. Break the group in half and designate one half as the seated section and the second half as the shifting section. Give professional pairs around eight minutes to mingle before calling for a switch.

Offer cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres throughout the night to cap off the experience.

It is always great to gather many of your supporters in the same room and find a way to reciprocate all they do for you. They’ll be grateful for the many valuable connections.

Fall Fundraising Event #2: Weight Loss Challenge

Why worry about holiday weight gain? Get into those skinny jeans early and stay that way with a weight loss challenge fundraiser. Also called a weight loss-a-thon, weight loss challenges are fundraising events for those of us looking to live healthier lifestyles.

They function just like other “a-thons,” from the more standard walkathon to the less practiced read-a-thons. This time though, instead of competing to walk the most miles or read the most books, people will be competing to shed the most pounds.

Host the event via a peer to peer platform and run one competition for individuals and one for teams. People will gladly sign up for the charitable incentive to stick to their fitness goals.

Like most similar events, this weight loss-a-thon will raise money through pledges made based on participant performance. Your competitors can gather set amounts just on the basis of entering and/or they can gather pledges per a certain amount of pounds lost.

Find health experts like personal trainers and nutritionists to volunteer their services in-kind to help guide the competition and make sure everyone is making the right decisions for their own needs.

It’s a fundraising event that lets participants do well by themselves, while doing well by others. Plus, this whole event is low-cost, meaning there is a huge chance for a favorable fundraising return on investment.

Fall Fundraising Event #3: Vacation Giveaway

As we round the corner towards fall, we’re harshly reminded that the joyous vacations of summer are a thing of the past. Our wanderlust sets in and we start making plans for our next big trip. Satisfy that travel bug. Offer up the trip of a lifetime with a vacation giveaway!

Run your vacation giveaway like a travel raffle. They take ingenuity, dedication, and some good fortune to come together, but, boy, when they do come together, it is something to behold.

The best part about hosting a travel raffle in the fall is that it will be used in the coming winter or spring, meaning both warm and cold weather destinations are up for grabs.

Plan the greatest trip you can think up. The biggest obstacle you’ll face is securing enough items to put together an entire trip package. A prize on the minimal side of things will have lodging and airfare. Build up from there with excursions, dinners out, and various other must-sees depending on the locale.

You’ll be able to put together a complete travel package through gifts in-kind from various businesses and supporters of your organization.

Sell tickets for the raffle at a set price according to how much the trip is worth. Then, invite everyone to the big pick and announcement. Prospect research will help you find both candidates to donate gifts and candidates to buy raffle tickets.

All three of these fundraisers are sure to bring success. They each address a different kind of audience and need. One or all might be the right choice for your organization. Take your pick and get to work!


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