AUTHOR: Katie Kohlenburg
As a future music educator, it’s important to understand that your program won’t have an unlimited, or even a substantial budget to help with things such as instrument repairs, repertoire, transportation to PMEA festivals, hosting festivals, etc… Therefore, it’s important to figure out ways to raise money without pulling funds out of your own pocket.
The Basics of Fundraising
- Get started right. Hold a team meeting and set a goal that will challenge your team, class, or program.
- Encourage everyone to do their part. Fundraising does not have to be boring. You can make it fun!
- Involve your program in the fundraiser. Allow everyone to throw in their own ideas and give some input. Remember that students always have the best ideas.
- Focus on the mission. Remember that fundraising is not about the money. It’s about the values and mission of the music program.
- Remember to not just ask for money, but instead ask others to actually take part in the fundraising.
- Work together and have fun!
- Always say thank you to your donors. Write a letter expressing your gratitude. It’s always the best way to show how much you appreciate their support.
How to Fundraise Strategically
- Always fundraise with a clear vision of your program’s development strategy. In other words, figure out how your program is going to develop its goals.
- Fundraising should never be donor-led but rather linked to programs that can help make a lasting difference.
- “Advocacy is vital to secure funding.”
- Donors will donate to your music program not because the program has needs, but because you meet their needs.
- Build relationships. Fundraising is about relationships. People want to give to other people. People will want to support a cause because they support you. This can include family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc…
- Fundraising is an ongoing process. Once people have donated to your program, continue to build that relationship by sending them updates. Invite them to events. Ask for a donor’s feedback. Let them have some input.
- Many “no’s” may come before a yes. If someone doesn’t want to donate, respect their decision. Ask if you can keep them informed of future fundraisers and events.
- Develop your case first. Before your program starts asking for money, it’s important to understand why you are fundraising in the first place. People will be more likely to donate if they know it’s for a specific cause or event, rather than, “Oh, we just want to make money.”
- Fundraising is a learning process. A program will become better at fundraising by reflecting on how they did and coming up with ways to do things better.
- Host a Spaghetti Dinner
- World’s Finest Chocolate
- Canning outside Walmart (or another major store in your area)
- Eat’n Park smiley cookies
- Eat’n Park will design your cookies however you would like.
- Pay $6.00 per dozen when you first buy the cookies.
- So, you would make $12 per every dozen you sell.
- For instance, if you sell 10 boxes of cookies, you’ll make a profit of $120.00.
- Daffin’s Candy bars - http://www.daffins.com/fundraisers.htm
- Wristband Fundraiser - The bracelets can have a saying such as, “Music never dies” or something quirky/unique like that.
- Jane’s Stromboli
- Make 40% profit.
- Sell each stromboli for $3.00 and you make a profit of $1.40 per stromboli
- For instance, sell 40 strombolis and make $56.00.
- Ask a restaurant, such as Applebee’s, to donate a portion of their profits on the night of your concert. Encourage students’ families to go for dinner before the concert or grab dessert after!
- In your concert program, sell some advertising space to parents and local businesses.
- Host a benefit concert and invite students, teachers, alumni, and community members to perform.
- Host a karaoke night for friends and their families. Charge a small entrance fee and/or sell refreshments.