The new school year will be here before we know it and with it, Fundraising season. The process of obtaining donations (the “Ask) does not need to be so challenging if you break with tradition and seek out the unique contributions your staff and parents can provide. And with a dash of social media marketing, getting the word out can be easy and effective.
Breaking the Donation Mold
For many fundraising organizations, donations fall into the standard categories like dinners, tickets to events, school merchandise and goods and services from local sponsors (in many cases, parents businesses or friends of the school). These items are usually easy to obtain, can be re-used from year to year and require limited effort to list in your auction site. They can also get stale quickly and not generate enough bidding activity from event to event. So what can you do to shake things up for your next event? Here are some ideas we have collected over the years from hosting auction sites for a wide variety of fundraising clients
- Auction “a day with” coupon – Everyone has a favorite teacher or administrator in their school and nothing generates buzz like getting some quality time with that person in an unusual setting. Think about a mini-golf outing with one or more teachers, or a lunch date with the Principal. How about some one to one time with a coach, or if you are having a school carnival, so extra shot tickets for the dunk tank. Try to break out of the ordinary and your bidders will respond in kind with increased bidding activity and amounts.
- A child’s art is a real treasure – While many auctions will solicit donations from local artists and artisans for items, many overlook the talent within their own walls. Children’s artwork can be extremely effective in your next online auction – and the best part is that your fundraising recipients get to play an active role in the process by creating the items up for sale. Bidding wars can ensue as the best finger painters have their moments of fame and fortune.
- Making it real – Sometimes the best items are the ones everyone can see (and know you were the high bidder). This can be something as simple as a name on a donor plaque, or a premium parking spot for a week. It can also have a competitive aspect to you, like having the school take on your family name for a week, or winning the right to fly your college/university flag on campus. Think of ways to provide a period of pride and victory for your winning bidders and watch as the rivalries (and bids) exceed your expectations.
Mold Broken, now what?
Coming up with creative ideas for your next fundraiser is only one step, so how do you get people excited about your event, or even solicit donations? An often overlooked source of inspiration, donations and even bids is right in front of you, if you use Facebook. With the ability to create a fan page for your school or even for your fundraising event, if your school is not on Facebook, you are missing an amazing opportunity to promote and build momentum for your next fundraising.
Beginning is easy. Set up a fan page right now on Facebook. All it requires is a Facebook account (most likely yours) and some friends to invite. Information on setting up a fan page is right on Facebook. Once you have enough followers for your page, you can create a customer name (URL) for your page with the name of your school.
Now that your fan page is up and running, think about posting requests for items and reaching out to previous donors. Encourage parents and friends to visit and share ideas for the event. Solicit items and get help with the setup and maintenance of your auction site. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and efforts. And once your event starts, consider setting up an AuctionAnything Facebook app to allow your “Facebook Fans” to view items right in Facebook. And if Twitter is your thing, add the Twitter App to your Facebook fan page to automatically send out Tweets alongside your Facebook posts.
The combination of creative fundraising items and Facebook marketing will help differentiate your next event from the others, help drive up bidding and donor participation and even get your students in on the act. And AuctionAnything is here to help with easy to configure and use auction site services, deep Facebook integration and an official Facebook app for your auction items. Together we can get creative with your school fundraising.