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5 Ways to Inspire Student Participation in Fundraisers
student participation in fundraisers

Written by King Fundraising

August 22, 2023

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Fundraising success often depends on the support and sometimes sweat of hard-working participants. The active involvement of student participation in fundraisers is crucial. Unfortunately, getting students to do the work can be as complicated as changing the course of a fast-flowing river. As a result, participation levels are rarely 100%. 

There’s no doubt about it. If you’re part of a small group of super-motivated cheerleaders or a dance corp going to Orlando for a major competition, you can easily get everyone to chip in. After all, providing motivation and support is what they do. However, most groups are lucky to have 50% participation, especially if they are a group of less than 100 members. 

So how do you ignite motivation? How do you inspire students to participate actively and passionately in your fundraiser? The following are 5 ways you can inspire your fundraiser participants to roll up their sleeves, get involved, and sell more to ensure that your fundraiser reaches your goals.

Start with a Kickoff Rally

We all remember getting our in-class time interrupted by a pep rally. “Not another one,” said no student ever. The interruption a pep rally provides alone is enough to cheer about. Starting your fundraiser with a kickoff pep rally is what excitement is all about. 

While rallying your supporters, you can entertain them with teacher and student fun antics related to your school’s fundraising goals and the prizes they can earn from participating in the fundraising sales. After the kickoff, post a video about the prizes to the school’s social media pages to keep the goals and expectations top-of-mind with colorful, engaging graphics.

Increase Student Participation in Fundraisers with Unique Prizes

These days, our children seem to have everything—or do they? Instead of offering the traditional pencil holders, stuffed beanies, and key chains, consider prizes that your participants can’t easily obtain from their parents or at a store. These prizes can include experiences such as field trips, playtime on a game truck, or a magic show.

Do you have a parent or teacher who creates customized gifts they can donate? They can provide one-of-a-kind artwork, handcrafted jewelry, or monogrammed items. 

Do you have an event coming up? You can name your top seller as the honorary host of the event with a crown and cape to show their esteemed position. 

You can also provide a different kind of honor by giving the top seller or the top-selling team the honor of naming a space. For example, if your fundraiser goal is to provide money for a new media center, you can have each of the new computers purchased named after the top sellers with a small plaque that has their name on it to increase student participation in fundraisers.

Themed Parties

Let’s face it. Both younger and older students love themed days. Pajama day, crazy hair day, dress like your favorite movie star day—give the day a theme, and you have excited participation. Use that excitement to motivate students to sell more with a themed party prize. 

For younger children, you might consider a Superhero, Under the Sea, Wild West, or an Around-the-World party with music, costumes, and food to fit. For older children, the perfect theme party might be a Sports Team, Luau, Hollywood Red Carpet, or Glow party. Student participation in fundraisers soars when a party is involved.

Daily Prizes Adds More Student Participation in Fundraisers

Patience is a virtue that many of us struggle with. For young children, two weeks provides too much time between the start of the fundraiser and the prize day without incentive to keep selling. They just don’t have the patience necessary to help them maintain motivation. For them, daily prizes can help to keep their goals in mind because they know that each new day brings a new prize opportunity.

These don’t have to be major prizes. Instead, gather a box full of keychain collectibles, candy bars, fun pencils, and other trinkets. Throw in certificates for free time doing class activities that they enjoy or lunch with the teacher that day. Turn your prize box into a surprise box by putting the items in brown paper bags and stapling them shut. Your students will enjoy these simple items as if they were gifts from heaven. 

Additionally, keep in mind that your prizes don’t have to always be given to the student who sells the most overnight. Rather you can also provide prizes for signed permission slips, teamwork, and best fundraising motivator.

Goal Charts

According to Ralph Ryback, M.D., “The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behavior.” Dopamine is our brain’s motivation mechanism. Like ticking off an item on your to-do list, when you display a goal chart that shows daily increased progress, you are tapping in on your student’s motivation mechanism.

Get creative with your goal chart. While you can draw a traditional thermometer that gets increasingly filled with red ink with each passing day, why not show other ways students are accomplishing the goal? 

Taking a team trip? Use a detachable plane image to show the plane rising as your fundraising profits increase. 

Raising funds for playground equipment? Let the children stick a butterfly to the chart for every ten candy bars they sell. 

Design your goal chart to incorporate your fundraising goals so that each time they look at it, they are reminded of how they will benefit from their student participation in fundraisers.

Bonus idea: Embarrass the Leader

Whether you’re an elementary school principal, a high school band director, or a girls’ basketball coach, student participation in fundraisers always increases when it involves embarrassing someone in authority. 

Either set a group goal or allow the top 5 to 10 sellers to spray the leader with a can of silly string, throw a whipped cream pie at them, dunk them in a dunking booth, make them eat something gross, slime them with a bucket of colorful slime, or shave their head. The ideas you can create for this prize are endless and always an enticing fundraising prize. 

Make a big deal about it so everyone can see what fun they can have when doing a fundraiser and what a good sport their leader is.

Need more ideas to garner more student participation in fundraisers and support for the project? Speak to a King Fundraising specialist at 1-800-541-1463. We live to motivate your sales!

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