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School Fundraising Incentives for Your Next Fundraiser
Incentives for school fundraisers are meant to drive additional participation and generate more sales. The best incentives are those that have value in the eyes of the participants and will motivate them to give their best effort.
School fundraiser reward programs should offer quality items within a fairly structured setup that doesn’t cause unwanted behaviors such as excessive competition or discourage participation.
An important consideration in school fundraisers is who ultimately pays for the rewards program. If you think about it, all rewards will come out of your net profit one way or another.
Doesn’t it make sense to get the most for your money while at the same time offering the best overall incentives?
Look for ways to save
Ask your school fundraising supplier how their reward program works. Find out whether there are any discounts for not utilizing their prize package.
You might be able to not only save money, but also construct a better incentive program through local merchants.
Consider putting together a selection of gift certificates for top sellers that are donated or bought at a discount from businesses that want to participate.
Offer locally generated prizes such as lessons, gift certificates, baked goods, and other items. Discount coupons can also be easily printed and supplied as a participation reward for everyone.
Local merchants like toy stores, fast food restaurants, family entertainment businesses, sporting goods stores, etc. are examples of coupon sources or potential prize suppliers.
Think it through
Brainstorm with your team on how to create the best possible set of rewards at the lowest cost to your organization. Try to structure your incentive program to reward everyone - merchants, buyers, volunteers, sellers, parents, each sub-group of participants, etc.
Weigh competing factors
Consider the long-term impact of an improved prize program based on local offerings versus the alternatives. Don’t default to low-end prize packages unless you have to.
Consider what’s important
An incentive program should pay attention to what’s important to the grass roots level of the organization.
Look at these school fundraiser ideas for incenting higher participation . These will have a greater impact than simply using token giveaways.
Examples of elementary school fundraising incentives:
1- Giving a portion of funds raised by them directly to that class
2- Offer the teacher an incentive for hitting a classroom goal
3- Allow a class to retain a portion of funds raised above their goal
4- Give class bonus funds for hitting 100% participation goal
5- Let teachers sell fundraising items directly for their class’s benefit
6- Reward the top five classes with a teacher prize package
7- Provide a premium rewards catalog via a points system
Design your school fundraising incentive program with the appropriate level of reward for all participants. A little reward can produce a lot of motivation.
Be sure to set the initial reward level low enough so that at least 50% of your sales force gets a direct reward.
Group awards will also stimulate additional sales, but not as much as individual rewards.
Offer ever-increasing levels of rewards. Allow roll-up combination of rewards into one big one.
For instance, a seller might select a basic prize for each level of success or one larger prize for his ultimate success.
Give awards for success that really have value. Nobody wants junk. Skip trinkets and work with your community to come up with better prizes that don’t subtract from your net.
Example: coupon for a local fun center such as miniature golf, bowling, etc. Those merchants are well aware that more spending will result from that visit.
Big customer rewards
On school fundraiser sales from a catalog, consider motivating customers to make bigger buys by giving prizes for the biggest orders. Good coupons always work.
Example: free car wash with a order. Obviously, work with a local car wash on this promotion.
Don’t forget to reward your volunteers. You want them to come back, don’t you?
Select an appropriate reward for various levels of participation or at a minimum, do a wrap party or luncheon.
Show your appreciation to all facets of your organization and supporter base. Be sure you do fun things that aren’t fundraisers.
For example: offer discounts on tickets to athletic events, group outings, parties, barbecue night, etc.
These fun activities will help build the camaraderie useful for future fundraisers (and for getting those volunteers to come back again).
Show off what sellers can win for different levels of achievement. Build a “want” or desire to have one or more of those prizes in each of your participants.
Never underestimate the power of being praised before your peer group for doing a good job. Consider having a group awards ceremony.
Award plaques are a nice touch, particularly if you can get them at a discount (remember the influence of your organization in other areas).
Motivate each salesperson with a self-selected personal goal stated in front of their peer group. Tie a reward to the achievement of that goal.
Give better prizes for better sales volume. Save money by dropping the lower tier reward once the next level is reached and offering a better prize for that achievement than if they got two lesser prizes.
Example: Level B seller gets nicer Level B prize, but forfeits the Level A prize upon reaching Level B.
Contact your local merchants for best prizes that mean the most to your sellers. Work deals for movie passes, merchandise discounts, gift certificates, miniature golf, theater trip for top ten sellers, etc.
In school fundraisers, try to include something that directly benefits each classroom by providing school supplies, special classroom privileges, or extra playground time.
Ice cream, pizza, movies, a group trip… All of these and more can be great motivators and increase competition between sub-groups.
Junk is always junk and will end up in the trash shortly. Only offer rewards that will truly motivate your sellers.
Structure rewards fairly
Design your program so that everyone is rewarded proportionately and is proud of participating toward winning one.
Seek prize donations
Otherwise, rewards will always come out of your net profit, one way or another. Look to your Merchant Plan for how to develop sources for extra prizes that really have value.
Offer a Cream Pie Attack party to all sellers reaching a certain level. Equip multiple tables with paper plates full of shaving cream to either attack each other or attack the coach, the youth minister, the troop leader, etc.
Use a wacky reward
Have key organizational figures promise to do something funny is the goal is met.
Examples: The coach has to shave his head, the principal has to dance with the school mascot at the pep rally, all the second grade teachers will dress like clowns on Friday, the youth minister will sing off key a chosen song.
Ask your sellers for suggestions!
Thanks for listening
Consider offering a coupon sheet to everyone contacted by your participants as a way of saying “thanks for listening.”
Million dollar bill
Say thanks to your buyers by giving them a “million dollar bill.” Feature your organization on the front, say with a mascot picture in the center. List sponsors on the back.
Offer a premium tie-in at local merchants. Have customers go inside to find out more (builds your group's value with the merchant).
In school fundraising, the proper use of an incentive program will definitely maximize your results. Plan well to motivate your participants, encourage repeat business, reward your volunteers, and build your support within the community.
If you want the best results, don’t settle for less than the best incentive program.
Get your sellers imagining themselves winning awards and collecting rewards.
Now that’s motivation!
About the Author: Kimberly Reynolds writes about school fundraising and tips on school fundraisers on her website. Find hundreds of fundraiser ideas on her website.