Last year I started working for my children’s small school. I did most of my work at home last year because Levi was still home with me, but I also spent an insane amount of time at school as well.
This year, since Levi is in Kindergarten for the morning, I’ve been taking the kids to school and getting as much done as possible at school until he gets out for the day. Most days, we are there all day long. The days fly by and when we get home I’m one tired pooch and I still have more work to do. Why? Well…
This year we added another fundraiser on top of the two we already had and of course all three of them happen at the same time as well as a party for all the secondary students. So, I’m simultaneously planning three events and one additional fundraising campaign and I can’t remember my children’s names. Seriously, the brain…it’s fried.
I wanted to clue you in to why I’ve been slack in the blogging department and why I might just throw up a picture, add a few words and call it a day.
Here’s the post from last year when I asked you about what you do for fundraisers and auction items. If you help at your school, church or charity it’s very helpful to read the ideas in the comments.
This year our auction will be even better than last year. We learned from our success and mistakes. We’re fine tuning it, adding to the fun and I’m so excited to see the results.
I’m going to share what we’re doing with you because last year, when we shouldn’t have expected to make much off our fundraising effort….we made more money than our school has seen in a long time. We involved more parents and students in the effort which makes them feel responsible for the success and we did more leg work, more calling and more planning. It was good work, blessed by many hands and many hours.
How are we raising money?
The answer to this is~community.
We are supported by the parents, extended families of the school, friends and corporate sponsors. Start with your core first and wok out from there to establish a list of potential supporters.
What are the fundraisers?
1. Annual Campaign~We have an annual campaign which consists of a newsletter that is mailed out to people that our families have suggested would be interested in supporting the school. This is a huge effort and depends on many hands to get the job done. This is our first attempt at a letter campaign. I’m praying it will be fruitful. It will be a year-long effort for myself and the other development director.
2. Grandparent’s Day~ Like most schools we host our grandparents once a year. We mail them personalized invitations from their grandchildren and invite them to participate in The Golden Eagle Auxiliary, which is a group that the grandparents can join with a gift of $250 or more. Their name along with their grandchildren’s names are put on a beautiful poster in a big case at school that we change every year. The auxiliary also purchases something that is needed for the school and we include a picture of it in their invite to say THANK YOU! Last year it was a huge announcement board that we hung outside for the parents to read as they enter the car line.
A delicious homemade breakfast is ready for the grandparents as they arrive . The elementary children prepare outstanding presentations and the secondary students prepare music, songs and a couple of them speak about their experience at the school. We invite one grandparent to speak about supporting the school, which usually brings tears to many eyes because they speak straight from the heart. I’m humbled at how gracious our grandparents have been to the school. They are vital for our success. Treat them well, they are honored guests.
3. The Auction~ We host a dinner/silent auction/live auction the same evening as Grandparent’s Day because it works best to get everyone in town at the same time for the two events. We spends months gathering items, calling business and planning the event. Last year we had over 400 people attend, I suspect we’ll have the same number this year. The goal is to have people come, eat great food, have items that appeal to a large number of people, promote the school and treat our guests well. We want people to walk away satisfied that they were supporting a good cause and they had a great time doing it. You would be amazed at how much more a person will donate if you go to the trouble of feeding them excellent food and making them laugh. I want all the donors to come back next year, so the evening has to be memorable and fun.
We have corporate give-aways like digital cameras, steak dinners and hand stamped jewelrey that we let the business owners that donate at certain levels come up in front of the crowd, introduce themselves, draw a bid number and give away a prize. Most of the give-away items are donated, some we purchase at a discounted rate.
We play several raffle games that are quick and fun for awesome prizes. This year our raffle prizes are an iPad, ipod touch and a dremmel tool.
The secondary kids serve drinks and help with the auction. They all wear fun t-shrits with the corporate sponsors listed on the back, they also offer up a service with their classmates such as: cleaning a garage, yard work, wash windows, babysitting, run errands, gift wrapping and more.
4. The Fun~ The night after the auction is Rock-A-Doodle, the kids named it. It’s a party for the secondary students to invite their friends. They dance, play games and have fun in the same rented building that we hosted the auction. The building is donated for one day because we host this event for the youth. The concessions for this event are run by the Senior class to raise funds for their Senior trip. We charge $5 admission for guests basically to cover the cost of the event. I consider this event to be less of a fundraiser and more of a relationship builder. I think it’s important to reward the kids for working hard for their school and to be able invite whomever they want to one of their school events. It’s a really fun, casual evening.
And when all of it is over…I collapse in a heap and say, “I am NEVER doing THAT again! …until next year.” I think it took us until December to recover. I suspect it will be about the same this year. However, with one year under our belts, I do feel more confident and organized going into the events.
Now, for the comments. Please feel free to ask me any questions. I will try to answer them in the comments or post them later…and by later I mean…uh…later. Also, feel free to add your ideas, thoughts and successes. I gleaned a lot of help from you last time, thank you!