In part one of this article I’ll point out the challenges facing schools, groups and organizations who depend on fundraising for their revenues.
Every parent who has ever had a kid in school or sports knows that a considerable amount of resource is dedicated to raising money for extra curricular and, in today’s economy, many necessities. Programs once taken for granted, such as music and athletics, are now viewed as extra curricular and often the first to be cut from budgets.
Though I came through the public school system before VCRs and Microwaves existed, I distinctly remember selling cookies and candy to raise money for my classrooms. Later it was fund raising for school clubs and athletic teams. As a parent of young children it seemed to increase exponentially and as my kids became teens the fund raising increased as school budgets dwindled.
As a young entrepreneur I was involved with the Lion’s Club and raised funds to help local children get much needed glasses. Later my own family was touched by cancer and juvenile diabetes and I became involved in events of a much larger scale.
There is little question that the “pay to play” model is here to stay as it relates to our schools. Once the realm of extra-curricular and sports programs, now every teacher in every classroom is struggling to provide what used to be staple items. Some schools and programs are blessed with generous benefactors, but most are not.
This is not just a problem for tax-supported or public schools. In higher education, the contributions to universities has plummeted and other worthy organizations, including iconic youth groups such as the Boy Scouts of America scramble for funds as well.
Just as our youth need more and more municipal recreation opportunities budgets are being slashed and even legacy charitable organizations such as the Red Cross report a stunning drop in donations.
The solution to this is the same it has always been. In fact, it is a solution applicable to every funding problem imaginable but we’re not here to solve the world’s problems today, just raising funds for your worthy cause.
And the solution?
Every entrepreneur and every corporate titan knows the same thing: the biggest hurtle to successful business is getting in front of the customer. Billions are spent on advertising each and every year to facilitate this union of producer and consumer and as the stakes go up marketing cunning is on the rise.
For decades, centuries even, advertising was largely image based. In recent years there has been a shift. Those ridiculous “value” cards foisted on us at the supermarkets, cross-merchandising promotions and back-end loyalty rebates are all methods designed to create dedicated customers.
Even fund raising has dovetailed into this merchandising makeover. In years past, a merchant may give up precious counter space to collect change for a well-known charity. Now it is common to see charities supported in packaging and promotion as well. Companies want to be associated with a “good cause” and charities facilitate brand recognition in a synergistic and mutually beneficial relationship.
If you haven’t followed this trend of shifting revenue generation you may have viewed it as a minor inconvenience when it touched your life. The fact is that any organization that doesn’t have rock-solid, guaranteed revenue needs to find other dependable sources. In Part Two I will share:
- Why traditional fundraising methods are costing you time and resource
- How to set up an ongoing fundraiser model that doesn’t take your time or money.