When your school has announcements and news to share, your students and parents know to visit your website to find this important information. As your school’s communication hub, it’s a great place to spread the word about your fundraising efforts. You can use your school website to encourage donations, post progress updates, and get supporters excited about upcoming events.
Because internet use today tends to center on interactivity and developing networks of friends or followers on social media, new styles of online fundraising have become increasingly popular and successful.
Considering an online campaign for your school’s next fundraising effort? We’ll show you how you can use your school website to:
- Leverage your school’s homepage to promote fundraising opportunities.
- Provide links to social media pages featuring updates on your school's fundraising progress.
- Share information about your school’s favorite causes on your website.
- Show pictures and descriptions of the incentives or rewards being offered to successful student fundraisers.
- Provide information on the anchor event of the fundraiser to increase attendance.
The more students and parents are aware of your fundraising campaign, the more they will be encouraged to participate as donors or fundraisers. The first step in getting them involved is to use your school website to share information on a campaign in which everyone can take part.
1. Leverage your school’s homepage for fundraising
Whether they’re checking for homework assignments or making sure they have the right practice schedules or holiday dates, it’s almost certain that your school’s students and parents are regular visitors to your website.
TIP: Feature your fundraiser prominently on your school website’s homepage and provide links to the information visitors need to get involved.
If your school is looking for a fundraiser that will encourage families to both donate online and participate, consider the “a-thon fundraiser.” It’s a perennial favorite among schools and youth organizations and makes a great conclusion or goal for an online fundraising campaign. Here’s how it works:
- Select the activity your students will complete. If you want to conclude your campaign with an event for students and their families to attend, consider an athletic event like a walk-a-thon, jog-a-thon or Fun Run. For a version that encourages academic success and doesn’t require a defined end date, try a read-a-thon or spell-a-thon.
- Set up an online fundraiser that creates donation pages for your students to share. Choose fundraising software where each student receives a personalized donation page to share with friends and family over social media and email. With no parent set-up required, students can move straight into fundraising. Parents get the link to their students’ pages, which can be especially useful for fundraisers involving younger students. Supporters pledge an amount for each unit (mile walked, book read, etc.) the student completes. Individual pages offer a personal outreach that encourages donation, especially among family members and close friends.
- Keep track of your students’ progress and share updates on your website. Encourage participation in your fundraiser by making it competitive! Acknowledge top fundraisers on your school website, or update a leaderboard throughout the campaign. You can also have students compete in groups, such as homerooms or teams.
- Don’t forget to share the total amount raised! Whether or not your a-thon fundraiser concludes in an activity to attend in person, be sure that you share the total amount you raised on your school website. If you held a competition, you’ll also want to recognize the winning student fundraiser or team. You can acknowledge winners and share the total amount raised during and after the event..
A-thon fundraisers are fun, easy, and can suit any cause. Without products to sell, it allows contributors to support kids directly without having to buy something they don’t want or need and ensures that more money goes directly to your chosen cause! You can learn more about this type of online fundraiser by visiting 99Pledges, where you’ll find out how to host one at your school.
Creating your online fundraiser and sharing it on your school website is only the first step to success. As parents and students have embraced blogging and social media for both personal and professional purposes, they have developed online storytelling skills that can benefit your fundraising campaign.
2. Use social media for updates
Online fundraisers like “a-thon” campaigns are made to be shared on social media. While many of your supporters may hear about the campaign via email, it’s likely that you’ll reach the widest audiences when students and parents share their donation pages with their networks of friends and followers. You can help by posting about the campaign on your school’s social media accounts.
Social media platforms, especially major ones such as Facebook and Twitter, are some of the most effective places to promote your online fundraising campaigns. After your students’ donation pages are set up, encourage them to share the pages across social media or have their parents do so. You can post a reminder on your school website and on your school’s social media pages.
If your fundraisers are older students, give them the opportunity to take the lead on social media strategy. Sharing your campaign across multiple platforms can be a benefit, provided that your fundraising team is familiar with each platform’s specialties, and your students are experts! Encourage them to get creative and use their favorite platforms to tell the story of why the fundraising cause is significant to them.
Does your school have its own active social media presence? Post links to your accounts on your school website that encourage parents and students to like and follow you for updates on the campaign. You can use social media to update the fundraising leaderboard or track progress toward your goal. If your fundraiser was supported in part by corporate sponsors, your website and social media accounts are both great places to thank those businesses for their participation.
For schools using their a-thon fundraisers and other online fundraising campaigns to raise money for a charitable cause, the giving doesn’t have to end once you reach your target or the day of the event arrives. Encourage further donation by using your school website to show visitors how they can continue their support.
3. Share information about your school’s favorite causes
There are several ways to evaluate the success of your school’s fundraiser. Did you reach the profit goal you set? Did your students take initiative in sharing their pages? If your fundraiser supported a charitable cause, one measure of its success is whether students and parents expressed interest in learning more about the cause or organization you were promoting.
To create lasting partnerships with organizations doing valuable work in your community and encourage students and parents to support these organizations, share additional resources on your school website after the campaign has ended. You can:
- Link to the organization’s website. This way, visitors can learn more about the organization’s work and make donations.
- Link to the organization’s social media accounts. This is another way to keep your website visitors updated on the activity of the organization your fundraiser supported. It’s a great way to keep students involved with the cause.
- Encourage students to volunteer. Students who were active in sharing your fundraiser and expressed interest in the cause your school supported are likely to be interested in volunteer opportunities with that organization. Use your website to share the organization’s volunteer sign-up page if they have one, or a contact email so that students can get involved.
Students and parents can use the information you provide on your website as well as save and share it, strengthening your school’s connection to your chosen organization.
If your school’s students and parents take a strong interest in the cause your fundraiser supported and are happy to make additional donations, consider involving these supporters in future fundraising ideas that build on your initial success. One way to expand the a-thon fundraiser is to motivate student fundraisers with incentives.
4. Promote student successes
Your school’s fundraiser is a wonderful way to introduce your students to a charitable cause or organization, or to provide student groups with additional opportunities such as travel. While students will likely take initiative in sharing their fundraising pages and expressing their reasons for supporting the cause, reaching their goal can be a lengthy process requiring lots of hard work!
Motivate your students with rewards for reaching milestones on their way to their larger fundraising goals.
To decide on the best reward for your students, take their ages into account as well as the nature of the fundraiser. Different products motivate high schoolers as compared to elementary schoolers, for instance, and a reward that may be fitting for contributing to your team’s travel expenses may not make sense if given in return for a donation to your community’s animal shelter.
Rewards don’t have to be pricey to appeal to students. Offer in-class recognition, homework or hall passes, or allow them to wear a hat or pajamas to class if they reach their milestones. Especially for younger students, these free or inexpensive rewards can be effective motivators.
Looking for an incentive that suits all ages of students and all types of fundraisers? Wearable rewards like t-shirts and sweatshirts are favorites for good reasons. They’re fun to receive, have a practical use, and your school can customize them to incorporate your colors or mascot.
T-shirts are also easy for your school to create. A custom t-shirt design platform like Bonfire can guide you through the process. Once your shirt is designed, share pictures on your school website so that your students know what they can receive in return for their fundraising efforts!
Your students and their parents aren’t the only people involved in your fundraising campaign who deserve a reward. You can also motivate donors to give more by offering t-shirts or other products when they give certain amounts. If you’re rewarding your donors, ensure that students and parents share this information as they spread the word about the campaign on social media.
Your student fundraisers have put in a lot of work to ensure that they reach their goals. Rewarding them along the way keeps them motivated, but it’s likely that your school will also want to take some time to celebrate their efforts and conclude your fundraiser with an event.
5. Promote fundraiser anchor event
The end of a successful fundraising effort is a time to celebrate. Your school has achieved its goal, either by supporting a charitable organization or funding an activity or project, and the success is due largely to your students’ and parents’ hard work. If your fundraiser concludes in an event, share the details on your school website to boost attendance and encourage further engagement with your cause.
Some forms of the “event-a-thon” fundraiser, such as Fun Runs and walk-a-thons, end with an activity that brings community members together. Other events of this type don’t require a concluding activity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one! If your students competed as classes or teams to raise the most money, reward the winning group with prizes or an activity like a class party.
Want to encourage further giving? Look for creative fundraising event ideas that fit the interests of your school or community and make the donation process fun! Sharing more information on the organization you supported, including their mobile and online donation information and their organization’s social media accounts on your school website can encourage giving when the event arrives.
An anchor event gives your guests an additional opportunity to support your cause and thanks those who have already done so. You’ll spread the word about an organization or activity that matters to your school and bring your community of students and parents together in support of a good cause.
Online fundraisers allow your school’s students and parents to get involved in campaigns that benefit your school and the community. You can use your school website to inform and motivate them to participate, ensuring your fundraiser’s success!
Brad Dowhaniuk is the cofounder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.