Donation Poster Ideas For Your Next Team Fundraiser

Posters are a great way to promote your team’s fundraising event. They convey all the relevant information about your fundraiser, they build awareness about your good cause, and they can be used in both print and digital formats.

Posters can be professionally made or you can tackle them yourself with either art supplies or computer apps. Either way, here are some things to keep in mind.

When making any poster, remember to cover the 5Ws about your event: who is the event for, what is the event, where is it, when is it, why are you having your event (who benefits, where is the money going), what is the goal, and how much the event costs. We collected some great donation poster ideas to help get you started, from new trends to time-tested tactics.

Most posters need an illustration or some eye-catching images and colors to make them stand out. All text should be in a clear readable font.

QR codes have made a comeback and having a QR code on your donation poster that connects to more information about your event, contact information, or even your donation letter and donation page gives your supporters another way to connect with your fundraising event.

Any poster made using a computer app and template can be saved as a file to be shared on social media. Hand-made posters can be used for social media posts as well, just take a clear picture in a well lit area to use your hand-made poster in digital form.

Equipped with this information, let’s check out some inspiration with these donation poster ideas.

This poster from FICU is great because you immediately know what the fundraiser is: A backpack and school supply drive. A closer look tells you when the donation window is, where to donate, who will benefit and how to get more information.

You can almost taste the syrup on these pancakes promoting this Lions Club Pancake breakfast. The eye-catching graphic is a perfect fit for this gorgeous and informative poster. At a glance, you can find when, where, and how much the breakfast is. You know where the proceeds are going and there is the extra bonus of knowing that someone in the community is matching funds as well. This poster also gives a link to be able to donate directly to the cause.

The Indiana School for the Deaf High School Volleyball program made this poster with a smiling red car against a neutral background for a real pop to advertise their car wash and it makes sure you know all donations go to their team.

This TUSD poster matched their yellow school color to basketball orange to get the word out about their students vs. staff basketball game. They made sure to include what snacks would be available to their hungry fans and players. It also asks for volunteers and donations and gives a link to be able to connect with the fundraising team.

Webb PTO features an agricultural theme on this Family Harvest Fair poster. They take this opportunity to put their event sponsors front and center on this poster while giving information about suggested donation amounts and where the donations will be going.

This downloadable book drive donation poster uses clear print and graphics to attract attention while having space to customize for when and where the book drive is. When it comes to donation poster ideas, don’t forget your digital options!

This donation poster idea uses the traditional style of a “WANTED” poster to collect donations for a Kindergarten. This poster outlines exactly what nonperishable food items they want to collect to be able to meet the needs of the Kindergarten students they are collecting canned goods donations for.

Animals tug at the heartstrings on this Smith County Humane Society poster doing triple duty asking for auction donations and also announcing the dates and times of the auction and pancake breakfast to benefit the animals at the humane society.

When the ICSV was gathering donations for their mission trip, they were sure to share why they were asking for kites – because Romanian children specifically asked for kites.

A well-done, creative fundraising flyer can be an important tool in your fundraising campaign toolbox, bringing awareness to your event and giving your potential all the information they need to support your event. We hope these donation poster ideas spark your creativity!

Successful Class Fundraising Ideas: 12 Dos and Don’ts

Successful class fundraising ideas are grounded in some basic principles that can help ensure your efforts result in a high-impact event that reaches a wide audience, creates positive engagement with your supporters and potential donors, and achieves your fundraising goals.

We put together this list of 12 dos and don’ts to help you get started.

Do: Put some Fun in the Fundraising

Where do you see your students and families having fun and enjoying themselves? The more that your fundraising idea taps into what your community already loves the better. If you are a Minnesota community that emerges from winter into the joy of spring sunshine, you’ll love some spring fundraising ideas, but no one wants to go door-to-door selling anything during the deep winter months.

One innovative teacher in Richmond, VA did a writing project with her second-graders to help find forever homes for shelter animals. These students were definitely engaged in this good cause that helped the animals of their local community.

Do: Be Inclusive

It is important that your events be inclusive to your community. It is good for the students in your school to live in a community that shows diversity and inclusion matter. Also, the more someone feels like an included and valued community member, the more likely they are to be a supporter of your fundraising campaign.

Hybrid fundraising events are one way to make your fundraising event more accessible. Learn more: Top 3 Reasons to Build Hybrid Fundraising Events.

Do: Reach Out to More than the Moms

When thinking about parent and family engagement, imagine all sorts of family units. Think about the families in your community – There are more than moms in the local community raising our children, and they are ready to encourage students as well.

Consider engaging with the fathers as a focus of your next fundraising activity or reaching out to alumni to join in your next school event to expand your active school community.

Do: Be Up-To-Date On Crowdfunding Policies

Crowdfunding can be an easy and efficient way to raise classroom funds. Crowdfunding can also open you and your district up to liability. Knowledge is power and knowing best policies for crowdfunding in school districts is a great place to start. Your district may have information about crowdsourcing available online, if not, these sources should give you an idea of where to begin.

Don’t: Ignore Social Media Channels

When looking for fundraising ideas and marketing your fundraiser, reach out through social media. While 40-somethings and up tend to hang out on Facebook and Twitter, remember your community is also found on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. Don’t know how to use some of these platforms? Enlist the help of high-school students. Expand your community reach by casting a wider net via social media.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Ask for Help

There is no shame in asking for help! When it comes to fundraising, ask anyone and everyone to pitch in and lend a helping hand. And don’t forget you can ask for advice, resources, donations, and, of course, donations!

Do: Have A Donation Page

Gather all the information about your fundraising efforts in one place. Use a QR code to connect your printed information to your donation page. On your donation page, have a copy of your donation poster, donation letter, and a donate button so your supporters can participate on the spot or when they want.

Set up a free donation page today.

Don’t: Underestimate The Power of A Small Fundraiser

Schools and parents are cash-strapped these days. Being able to raise any extra money is great. A small donation made at a bake sale could be enough to make an impact, depending on your fundraising goal. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to class fundraising ideas, so embrace the simplicity of this concept.

Don’t:  Start Without a Budget

While it’s generally true that it takes money to make money, knowing how much money is available in the budget to invest in a school fundraising idea is always a vital piece of your planning puzzle. 

Planning to sell tickets to an event like a silent auction is a solid fundraising plan, but your budget will determine if you host your event at a local business or elementary school cafeteria. Knowing how much money you have to work with upfront will save you disappointment in the long run.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Try Something New

Just because you have always done a spaghetti dinner on the second Saturday in October doesn’t mean you always have to. It may be time to shake up an old event with a new theme or time of year. It may be time to scrap a tried and true event like a dinner for an out-of-the-box idea like a parade where the money is raised from entry fees and whatever donations are collected along the route.

Don’t: Underestimate The Power of School (Or Competetive) Spirit

Friendly competitions like penny wars or who can wear the most spirit gear can bring in donations and give kids lasting memories. Almost every student is game for seeing their principal kiss a pig or watching their favorite PE teacher take a pie to the face as a reward for winning.

Do: Check With Legal

Much like understanding the legalities of crowdsourcing guidelines for your districts, knowing when and where you can fundraise on school property, knowing who is allowed to be in photographs, being aware of insurance policies and restrictions, knowing policies, guidelines, and laws about things like alcohol and raffles are all important when choosing class fundraising ideas.

With these dos and don’ts in mind, you are ready to check out these class fundraising ideas:

6 Easy Spring Fundraising Ideas for Schools

15 Auction Basket Theme Ideas for Every Season

17 Fantastic Auction Basket Ideas for Your Next Fundraiser

Top 4 Most Profitable Fundraisers for Your School

When planning your fundraising calendar to raise money for your team or club, one of the first questions you might have is, “what are the most profitable fundraisers?”

The simple answer is the most profitable school fundraisers are those which require the least amount of investment and have the highest return. The more complicated answer is that the most profitable fundraising activities are dependent on a number of factors. 

Four Questions to Ask Before You Decide on the Most Profitable Fundraising Idea

How much money do you need to raise? 

Your financial goals are critical when considering what kind of fundraiser will be most profitable for your organization. Are you planning to raise $500,000 to help fund extracurricular activities at your child’s private school, or are you looking for ways to help support your school’s track and field team? The scale of your goals needs to be considered.

What resources are available? 

Can you use school facilities and save on rental costs of space, tables, and chairs? Do you have a team of 50 people ready to pitch in and help, or are you a team of you and your family? How much cash do you have available for the planning stages? Make a list of your assets, big and small to know where you can save money. Also think about insurance—are you covered through the school’s policy or would your event need a separate policy?

Is this a one-time school fundraiser or is it an ongoing or annual event? 

A one-time fundraiser can be a quicker “pass the hat” or “A-thon” fundraiser, but an annual event can be built for growth.

After answering four key questions, you are ready to begin vetting fundraising ideas, keeping in mind these four most profitable fundraisers for your school.

Four Profitable Fundraisers to Consider

Acts of service

Raising money through work is one way to have a profitable fundraiser without spending a lot of money. Think “read-a-thons”, “jump-a-thons”, all things “a-thon”. These are popular because they raise funds without requiring a lot of cash upfront, and involve and feature your students.

Clean-up days or odd-job days are a great way to raise money without spending money and get your students out into the community.

Partnering with sporting complexes to clean up after games, or running concession stands is a way to raise money without spending more cash than your gas to get there.

Long-term projects that involve some up-front investment in supplies would be yard decorations for birthdays or holidays, or flags to be put out at local businesses on federal and state holidays. Donors pay for the service, the organization provides the service and the clean-up, and stores the items waiting for the next use.

All of these fundraisers are great ways to connect to your community while also raising money for your team.

Gather donations to resell

Think bake sales, garage or yard sales, or donated items for a silent auction. These are low-cost to your organization but do require lots of volunteers to be successful. One example from my local area is that our school band does a spring garage sale every year that funds its fall marching band travel. After the garage sale day, a local charity takes any leftover items to distribute or sell for their cause, leaving the band with the profit and nothing to store.

Another successful fundraising event like this is selling tickets to a meal served in your parking lot before a football game or other sporting event. Have all the food donated by members of your organization or group and have your group serve the meal. Get your name and good cause out there via social media and other local outlets to raise money for your event. An event like this can also grow from year to year, becoming a large-scale fundraising event.

Large-Scale Gatherings

There are many ways to raise money via large-scale gatherings. Sell tickets to in-person events involving food and entertainment. Some examples include dances, galas, auctions, and carnivals.

Without a doubt, large-scale gatherings come with the most potential cost, but can also yield high-dollar returns. The more you can have donated, from event venue to food to entertainment to auction items, the higher your profit.

The type of large-scale gathering that is right for you really depends on your community and who your potential donors are.

A high ticket price black-tie gala at the fanciest spot in town with a full meal and open bar will appeal to a different audience than a “blue jeans ball” set out at the county fairgrounds featuring a pig roast before a live auction and country music entertainment.

These gatherings generally make their money from ticket sales and from the proceeds of auctioning donated items. A catalog of auction items along with information about the program can make a souvenir of the evening as well as being useful during the event.

These events can also be made hybrid to be inclusive to more people who want to support your school community.

Personally, I’m a sucker for a school carnival. I remember the carnivals my mom took me to as a child, and, wanting my children to have the same kinds of memories, means I’m willing to hand out dollar bills for them to do cake walks and fishing booths. 

If nostalgia appeals to you, lean into that with an adult or family prom, make a throwback theme and attach it to a reunion or homecoming weekend to attract alumni to your fundraising event.

These kinds of large-scale events are absolutely meant to grow. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t start out with a full-scale swanky bash. Focus on throwing the best event you can on your budget for this year, and look to ways to expand and improve each year.

Cash Donations

The next step from large-scale gatherings (and ideally large-scale donations) are cash donations to your organization’s annual fund, recurring donations, matching gifts, and endowments. This is among one of the most profitable fundraisers.

This level of donation is usually managed by the school district. Some organizations like school districts or even sports teams also have foundations set up to manage significant donations. 

These kinds of donations are typically reserved for non-profit organizations (like schools) that can give tax breaks to the person donating the money.

Setting up these kinds of profitable fundraising ideas requires a solid and legal framework for raising money for an annual fund. The benefit is that once these systems are in place, you are set up to continually have a set income from your fundraising.

Remembering that every event is an opportunity to get out and connect with your school community, any of these 4 types of fundraisers will benefit your school and help meet your fundraising goals.

How to Build A Successful Online Fundraising Store

Virtual fundraising has become popular with teachers, school districts, PTAs/PTOs, and a variety of teams and booster clubs. The online fundraising store is the key piece to many a fundraising program success story.

An online store expands your reach beyond the pop-up shop for supporters at football games and allows a donor to support your fundraising campaign anytime and anywhere.

An online fundraising store can become your one-stop-shop for school spirit merchandise like hoodies and other apparel items. It can be where to find specific products like this year’s Homecoming shirt. School districts that have moved to online ticketing can use their online store to sell tickets for any upcoming event like sports games or fine arts performances. The sites can also be used to collect class fees, field trip money, and classroom donations.

Once your fundraising team has added an online store to your fundraising strategy, follow five these steps to build your successful online fundraising store. We suggest you discuss these aspects of your online fundraising store at your next committee meeting.

Five Questions to Ask Before Building Your Online Store

Who is the store fundraising for? A single classroom vs. all the teams and booster clubs in your school district can both use the same online store—know who will want to have items posted in your store.

What is your virtual store being used for? Collecting field trip money or collecting donations for an annual fund each have different needs. Think of what you plan your store to be used for, and then think about what else it could be used for in the future. Plan for now and also set a solid foundation for your future.

Where will you host your online fundraising store? Selecting a fundraising platform is an important step. Check out our recent posts about fees and payment solutions to help you decide on the platform fight is right for your fundraising efforts.

When will your store be accessible? Decide your timeframe—is this store open continuously or does it need to open and close quickly? Think of who will monitor the store if it’s an ongoing campaign.

Why is this store good for your fundraising efforts and why do you think it will be a good fit for your school community?   

Key Take-Aways

An online fundraising store can be a high-impact way to drive donations and fund your organization. We recommend making sure you have a clear and documented strategy before you launch, which will ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.

17 Fantastic Auction Basket Ideas For Your Next Fundraiser

Auctions are a great way to enhance donations for any kind of fundraiser. From booster clubs to PTAs to dance troupes or youth sports teams, creative auction baskets ideas can drive competitive bidding and put more money into your organization’s coffers.

We collected 17 terrific auction basket ideas for you, and you can use these suggestions as a great jumping-off point to get your creative fires burning. These ideas are great for raffles and silent and live auctions, and we included some big-ticket options if you have the opportunity to go all out.

Home-Baked Auction Basket

Someone in your community has a famous cheesecake or cookie that would drum up some good-spirited friendly competition. Add a picnic blanket, forks, and plates for a tasty take-a-long treat. 

Mega Candy Basket

Let your inner 9-year-old do the shopping for all the sugary snacks that make your mouth water. Grab a container to hold it all at the local dollar store, and someone is sure to bid on the perfect gift for their favorite young person. 

Father’s Day Trip Basket

Give the dads a day out! Start with matching hats and shirts so they can stand out and find each other easily. Add a gift certificate for a meal or gather snacks. Get tickets for an activity such as concerts, 5K competitions, sports events, car shows, or a game night. Make it upscale and score them a limo ride or sweet rental car. 

Chocolate Lover’s Basket

Who doesn’t love chocolate? For this auction basket idea, create a package with hot chocolate, cookie dough, cookie cutters, chocolate snacks, and a gift certificate for ice cream!

School Spirit Basket

Pack up your best school swag for a VIP experience! Include reserved front row seats to your school’s plays, concerts, and sporting events for an auction basket idea with low monetary investment and a huge value to the bidder. 

Baby Shower Gift Basket

Pack a bassinet or laundry basket with diapers, cleaning wipes (of all kinds!), blankets, baby books, and outfits. For something extra special, include a getaway weekend for the parents to enjoy before the baby arrives.

Coffee Lover Auction Basket

Combine a variety of coffees from around the world in a wooden box or wicker basket. Add biscotti, chocolate-covered espresso beans, a coffee mug, and a French press to complete this caffeinated delight.

Movie Night Gift Basket

Pack a giant bowl with gift cards for movie rentals, a cozy blanket, popcorn, and snacks for the start of a great night. Add in some hot cocoa for a late-night treat in the winter, or go big with a movie projector for summer night movies from the pool!

Classroom Supplies Basket

One great auction basket idea is a basket full of teacher supplies. Crayola crayons, Ticonderoga pencils, facial tissues, hand sanitizer, dry erase markers, tape, sticky notes, desk snacks, and drinks are always helpful in the classroom.

Book Lover’s Basket

Pack earplugs, some bestselling books, a book-themed candle, bath salts, and a do not disturb sign for an auction basket idea all book lovers would go for. Add an e-reader or tickets to an event for a basket that wows!

Sports Night Basket Idea

Cheer on the local team with a tailgating kit. Provide tickets to the big game, parking vouchers, and spirit wear. Gather it all in a cooler or grill along with your favorite tailgating food and beverages. Add some chairs and a pop-up canopy to really get the party started!

Fishing Basket

Fill a tackle box with lures, hooks, bobbers, and a knife. Add a fishing rod and reel, folding chair, and a cooler for a fishing day out, sure to please. 

Local Excursion Basket

Your area has lots of uniquely local experiences, so why not consider an auction basket idea focused on hometown flair? It could be horse riding or a cooking class, painting lessons, or theater. Create a passport of things to do and provide all the vouchers and tickets in a travel bag ready for local adventure. 

Sports Auction Basket

Sports baskets are so great because they can be fun for people of all ages! These baskets can include balls, sports gear, memorabilia, tickets to games, movies, tailgating supplies, and more! Sports-themed gift baskets are great for silent auction fundraisers by athletic boosters because they can feature each team sport in the school.

DIY Spa Gift Basket

Bring on the self-care! Popular items in these auction baskets are facial masks, candles, bubble baths, aromatherapy scents, bath melts, foot scrubs, fluffy towels, robes, slippers, eye masks, and lotion, manicure sets, bath salts, and lip balm. These can even be organized in a cute tin complete with labels!

Pro-tip for the basket organizer—if you are collecting items from many people, you may need to separate items by scent and store them in separate tubs, so the scents don’t start mixing.

Food and Drink Basket

For a tasty auction basket idea, fill a wicker basket with coffee, hot cocoa, chocolate, cookies, crackers, cheese, meats—any yummy snack, you name it. Food and drink baskets can also be specialized like a Wine Gift Basket or an Ice Cream Toppings Basket.

Pet Care Basket

Everyone thinks their pet is the best, and everyone is right, of course! Pamper Fido or Fifi with toys, chews, grooming tools, shampoo, conditioner, treats, beds, blankets, clothes, leashes, books, stickers—the “paw-sibilities” are endless.

This is another great auction basket idea theme that can be separated by categories. A dog basket with chew toys, leashes, poo bags, maps to dog parks and local dog shops, and balls will be a hit. 

Go for a cat-themed basket with feathers and toys and catnip all in a fancy litter box. An aquarium tank can be filled with items for fish or reptiles. A birdcage can be stocked with bird necessities. 

A Few Auction Pro-Tips

If you are hosting a live auction, consider how much time is available when deciding on what auction basket ideas you’re planning to offer for bid. The longer time you have to allow potential donors to compete for the item of their choice, the higher your return. If you have too many items and a short time for bidding, you run the risk of low or no bids on some of your auction baskets. Timing is key!

What if you find yourself with an abundance of auction items? Present your lower-priced items as a “pre-game” silent auction and keep the higher-value items for the live auction to build excitement through the night. 

With these auction basket ideas, you are well on your way to fundraising fun and success. Good luck and happy bidding!

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

15 Auction Basket Theme Ideas for Every Season

Anyone seeking to generate money for a non-profit organization, booster club, youth sports team, or PTA/PTO knows that fundraisers happen year-round. One great way to get donors excited and drive significant donations is to offer auction baskets. Who doesn’t love a friendly competition to support their favorite cause?

Auction baskets are a great way to involve your school community in your fundraiser. Asking local businesses to donate items rallies the community around a common cause and gives donors the chance to win something local that appeals to them personally. In other words, everyone wins—especially your organization.

Themed auction baskets are a popular tactic for fundraising events. We know how fun it can be to brainstorm auction basket theme ideas, but we also know what it feels like when that creative well runs dry. We’re here to help get you started with some great ideas for every season.

Spring Themed Auction Basket Ideas

Gardening Basket 

After a long winter inside, once those warm days creep in, it’s time to get out and enjoy it. In a sturdy bucket or watering can add a wide brim hat, sunscreen, gloves, knee pads, hand tools, plant markers, regional seeds, and a book about gardening in your area for a raffle basket to bring in spring.

Bird Watching Basket 

Spring means the return of the birds! A hummingbird feeder, a birdhouse, black oil sunflower seeds, and books about birds will make the bird lover sing with joy that spring is back!

Get Outside and Enjoy Spring Basket

Want to be outside but have the dreaded “nothing to do”? A jump rope, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, frisbees, discs for frisbee golf, kites, bug spray, and sunscreen will get your basket winner started on enjoying spring outdoors. 

Summer Auction Basket Theme Ideas

Camping Gift Basket

Get ready for adventure! Depending on your location and season, this basket can be geared for both sun and snow. Fill a wagon, cooler, or fire pit with s’mores fixings, roasting forks, fire logs, air mattress, tent, campground or rental cabin gift certificates, dishes, cookware, sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, sturdy chairs, fishing gear, hiking gear … wherever your heart can take you. Top it off with an “I’d rather be camping” T-shirt to enjoy the basket year round!

Swim Day Basket 

Whether the beach or the pool, this basket is sure to spark joy on a hot summer day. In a large colorful tote, add towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, goggles, hats, balls, pool noodles, and insulated cups for a day of summer fun.

4th of July Basket 

Go for the big bang with a firework basket full up on all the loud and beautiful fun. Think snaps and parachutes to delight the younger ones, and firecrackers and fountains for the older kids and adults. Go for a basket with the funniest or strangest named fireworks. You’ll have a ball finding crazy named 4th of July fireworks. 

Tropical Drink Gift Basket 

In a small cooler, add coconut or other tropical fruit-flavored rum or other alcohol with pineapple juice, margarita, or daiquiri mix. Colorful durable outdoor glasses with a pitcher and mixing supplies will make it 5 o’clock somewhere this summer.

Fall Themed Auction Basket Ideas

Get Ready for School Basket 

Fill a backpack with everything a student would need to start a new school year, semester, trimester, or quarter. School supplies, spirit gear, books, calculators, snacks, and water bottles are great! These baskets are especially good for the student making a transition to Kindergarten, Middle School, or High School!

Homecoming Basket 

If your school is one that has Homecoming in the Fall during football season, you know what an event this can be! Special spirit gear and front row seats to the game can be a real treat for the returning alumni or community supporters. If you have extra yearbooks from the past, these can be included to send your basket winner back in time to relive their own high school days. 

Texas -Sized Homecoming Basket 

Texas parents know that Homecoming means mums. HUGE mums! Use your talents to make a truly amazing Homecoming mum, combined with gift certificates for a local dinner and tickets to the dance, to send your young people off in style!

Local Fall Festival Basket 

If your community has a fall festival, include tickets for the shows, the kids’ areas, and the drink tent along with a list of vendors and attractions to bring some local joy to your families. 

Winter Basket Ideas

Winter Fun Basket 

Pack a sled with hats, gloves, hand warmers, hot cocoa, and some insulated cups to send the kids and kids at heart out for a winter day.

Winter Movie Basket 

Include winter movies like Frozen, A Christmas Story, or Last Holiday in a basket along with a heated blanket and movie snacks for a cozy night in. 

New Year’s Basket 

New Year’s Day is a fresh start for many. New calendars for the wall, day planners, journals, colorful pens, markers, and stickers can get this basket winner to dreaming about their upcoming year. 

Yarn Lover’s Basket 

Combine yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, and a couple of patterns in a yarn bowl to keep the crafter busy through the winter months.

We hope this list gave you some ideas to inspire you to create your own auction basket or raffle basket that’s the talk of your next fundraising event!

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

Choosing an Online Fundraising Platform: Let’s Talk About Fees

The online fundraising platform is increasing in popularity for teachers, school districts, PTAs/PTOs, and all kinds of booster clubs. Not only are organizations pressed for funds, but they’re also pressed for time. That extra funding is critical and your community needs it now.

As a busy working mom and former educator, I know that donating cash directly to the fundraising causes important to me is my preference. What I didn’t know was that by donating money to an online fundraiser or virtual fundraising event, a significant portion of my donation was actually applied to hidden fees from many of the most popular online fundraising platforms.

Part of figuring out how to fundraise online is finding the right tool. However, that takes a lot of time and effort. Even when you do have the time, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the fine print and just hit the button to launch your campaign—especially if it’s a brand you’ve seen online that has a good reputation.

In turn, donors are trusting that the entire amount of their donation will go to the cause they want to support. However, that isn’t often the case.

There’s only so much money to go around, and donors are making careful choices on where they want to put their funds. How would your donors feel if they knew as much as half of their contribution went to the fundraising platform and not your cause? How would that affect your next round of fundraising? 

Finding hidden fees: Questions to ask about your online fundraising platform

Not all online fundraising platforms are equal, and it’s easy to get stuck with unexpected fees or see the actual amount of your donations slashed by unexpected fees. We’ve put together some simple ways you can make sure you know the majority of your donations will actually end up with your organization or cause, and not in the pocket of the platform you choose.

It’s important to remember that online fundraising platforms are businesses, and they do need to make a profit. However, some are more transparent than others. Here are five ways to help you make the best choice.

Know the difference between platform fee and payment processing fee. The platform fees go to the website you are donating money from. The processing fees are from whatever entity is taking your money from your virtual wallet and transferring it to the school organization’s virtual wallet.

Restaurant fundraising partners generally take 80% of the sales for the hours/day of the fundraiser. Pre-COVID would find teachers working a “Teacher Night” from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (after teaching all day), and a family of four would easily spend at least $30 on dinner (before the tip)—with $6 going to the school of their $30 spent. 

Online or virtual fundraising platforms that say they don’t have a transaction fee are making their money somewhere. It may be that some donor, somewhere, has to give that 15% “voluntary” tip donation before the funds raised will be released to the people who organized the fundraiser. 

Virtual or online fundraising platforms require fundraising goals to be met before they will release the funds—30% or more of fundraisers are never fully funded and the donation money does not reach the organization.

If a company is sending in a sales rep to generate student excitement about sales—the company is now paying for gas, mileage, salary, and benefits—and it’s coming from your donors at a rate of 25 to 50% of what you can raise. 

Key takeaways

Transparency is invaluable in fundraising. Look for platforms that share their monthly fee structure upfront. You deserve to see clear information and being able to easily see and understand the pricing is a great indicator of the transparency of the vendor you choose.

Looking for a great online fundraising platform that has a simple and clear flat fee to maximize your donation dollars? Click here to learn about Livingtree Give and sign up for your FREE account today!

Top Tips to Manage a PTA/PTO Leadership Transition

Whether your school’s parent organization is linked to the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or is an independent local school organization, you have something in common. Eventually, officers will transition, and all the knowledge needs to pass from the outgoing officer to the incoming officer. 

Parent organizations are comprised of people eager to be involved in their child’s school, and also people who are elected board president and say, “Never in my life did I see this happening.” Parent engagement comes in many forms. However, if you find yourself here, welcome to the esteemed club! 

The National PTA has a wealth of information for local leaders addressing mission, leadership, finance, membership, fundraising, and communications.

We talked to parents, school staff, and PTO leaders to find pain points and solutions when the parent organization has a leadership transition.

How to keep PTA and PTO institutional knowledge intact

For two years, Victoria Haller was the vice president of her local parent alliance in Aptos, CA. She is now in her second year as president. 

“We are a group of parents who will welcome you overwhelmingly with open arms and then never let you go,” she told us.

After four years of involvement, Haller knows that someone will need to have an eye on transition next year because her child will age out of elementary school.

Yearly officer transitions bring their own kind of stress. Everyone has just settled into a working routine of understanding their positions, and suddenly, it’s time to change it up. 

Often, PTOs and PTAs end up losing years of institutional knowledge as students move or age out of their buildings. Valuable information is likely to live inside the head of the outgoing officer, or on the desktop of a past volunteer.

However, there are ways you can better manage a leadership transition and maintain all that great information and knowledge your volunteers spent years cultivating. 

Personal email address are out, generic PTA email addresses are in

According to Heller, using personal or work email addresses for volunteer positions at school is one of the most significant volunteer pain points. 

Outgoing leaders are subject to hundreds of unwanted emails, and incoming leaders have no ready access to existing donor email lists or contact information.

In other words, it’s a nightmare, and new officers often need to start from scratch. Cue the headache!

The California State PTA suggests generic emails for officers for easier transitions. If your organization hasn’t done this, let this change begin with you, friend. 

Keep it all in one place

Being a PTA/PTO board member is a lot easier when you know which PTA members, school leaders, or school administrators have helped out with fundraisers or other volunteer opportunities in the past.

Searching for contacts, current fundraisers, outside fundraisers, and who manages school merchandise delays being able to get to the business of supporting your child’s school and boosting parent engagement.

If you are the outgoing officer, gather information to pass on to your successor. In whatever form you have it—spreadsheets, paper lists, databases—gather it up, so the next person doesn’t have to start from scratch. 

If this isn’t already digitized, taking care of that would be a great gift to the next person doing your job. Specialized apps can help manage your lists of people, activities, fundraisers, and school merchandise. 

If you are an incoming volunteer, find out what information and tools you will have available. If the information isn’t consolidated into one place, now would be a great time to do that. 

If you can keep track of contacts, fundraisers, school spirit gear, finances, and emails under one roof, it will save you hours in time and effort.

There are a lot of great options out there, but we are a fan of Give. However, always be sure to check out the fee structures of other fundraising tools as you search for ways to keep all your organization’s information under one roof. 

And remember what we advised above—create anything new with a generic email address attached to your officer position. Doing so will save you from the pain of a crowded inbox and make a seamless transition for your successor.

Haller started a shared drive with information about each position and “encouraged each board member to add a list of their responsibilities so that we can have continuity.”

Engaging families in multiligual districts

If you live in a culturally rich district, odds are English won’t be the first language of many of your students and their families. There are some great ways to ensure everyone is included.

The National PTA has Spanish resources geared toward student potential and PTA membership in the school community.

You still need help communicating reminders for parent-teacher conferences, teacher appreciation week, and other activities to raise family and community involvement.

One solution is a school-communication app with automated two-way translation in many languages. All notifications, posts, and direct messages are automatically translated into whatever language the person has set as their default language with the right app. Having two-way translation with no extra steps is a time saver for all.  

See an example of English to Spanish translation in a school-home communication.

Thank you so much for devoting your time and talents to your local school and community. We see the work you put in, and we know your students, families, districts, and communities see and appreciate it, too.

Looking for a great online fundraising platform that keeps PTA/PTO information under one digital roof and makes it easy to succeed? Click here to learn about Livingtree Give and sign up for your FREE account today!

How to Market A Fundraising Campaign in Three Easy Steps

Imagine it—you and your team vetted all the fundraising ideas, landed on an amazing plan, planned your fundraising event, and now it’s time to get the word out.  But how will you market your fundraising campaign?

Overnight, you have become a marketer. Suddenly, you’re in charge of creating, communicating, and delivering something of value for your donors and for your students. You need marketing materials and a marketing strategy to reach your target audience.

If you are sitting at your computer overwhelmed and Googling “how to do a fundraiser” or “how to fundraise,” never fear! Here’s our crash course on how to market a fundraising campaign in three easy steps.

1. Make a list, check it twice

Donor acquisition is great, but you need to keep track of them. Donor retention is tough when you can’t find who contributed in the past. Hopefully, someone before you created a donor database, but if not, now is the time.

Gather your pool of potential donors and their email addresses into one place. Now keep all that information so you have it for the next time (or so you can have an easy transition between you and the next person in charge of team fundraising). 

Pro tip: If there isn’t already an established generic email address that gets passed from person to person in charge of fundraising, now might be the time to create one and use it for all your fundraising communication and organization.

Ideally, you’ll have a way to keep track of these contacts that gives you an import template and then lets you sort your contacts by parents and donors, and volunteers. Bonus points if it also lets you keep track of payments once it is set up. 

Having a payments column is great for tracking a recurring donor and planned giving, as well as a one-time fundraiser. (Livingtree Give will let you set up an account for free and it will let you do all of this.)

2. Build a great donor email

Think about your inbox—it’s probably filled to the brim with content competing for your attention. That’s what your donors are facing, too. Creating a great donor email is one way to cut through the clutter and make sure your hard work results in a donation or attendance at your fundraising event.

First, fundraising campaign names matter. When you’re making your plan, think about the “branding.” Your fundraiser may have a cute and catchy name, but does it clearly communicate what your cause and campaign are about? Think about how this plays in the subject line of your email.

Donors care about where they put their money, so when you’re describing your fundraiser, include as many details are you can, succinctly. What is your plan? What is your financial goal? Why does your fundraiser matter to the donors you’re trying to reach?

Bullet points are a great way to add these details to your donor email. Here is a quick example.

First, define your fundraising goal (capital campaigns and donations of time and supplies are very different!)

Next, add a short but clear description of your campaign, and connect with your donors on an emotional level here.

Remember to lead with empathy!

Be clear about the timeline: what are the start and end dates of your campaign?

Finally, call out exactly how any donations will be used.

Visual elements matter! Pick an attention-grabbing image that represents your group. Online fundraising could use videos. Dance team fundraisers might use a team photo so a supporter can see a team member and know who their donation was going to. But remember, images can be tricky. Make sure you’re using an image that doesn’t violate any copyrights, and always have district and parent authorization before using student images.

Is your local culture one that opts for anonymous donations or does it like the social proof of seeing names of individual donors? (Not sure? That’s okay, try both ways and find out what people like better.)

Have an easy way to donate right then. No reason to wait, use this digital fundraising strategy to lead a donor straight to a donation page and attach a donation form in every email about the upcoming events.

Check out a school district success story with lots of examples of fundraisers.

Is your head spinning? Would a template help? You can set up an account here for free marketing tools and use the templates to create your fundraising campaign with all of these things in mind. In one step, you can also create a flyer you can email, print, post, and distribute. (Another thing you can check off your list!)

Something else to consider is social media posts. The flyer you create can be used as part of Facebook fundraising posts. You don’t need to organize a Facebook fundraiser to share posts about your upcoming events across social media.

Send your donor email out into the world

You’ve created an amazing donor email! Great job. Now you have to send it, and you have to send it more than once. Depending on the timeline of your fundraising campaign, you can consider sending an email every month your fundraiser is ongoing, or as often as once a week can be effective for shorter campaigns.

When you send the donor email matters too. In an online fundraising campaign, weekends are busts, but Tuesdays at 10 a.m. are great. Wednesday morning emails have good luck getting opened and read as well. 

Since you are sending weekly emails, one week could be Tuesday at 10 a.m. and the next week could be Wednesday at 8 a.m. Consider paydays—Fridays, the first and last day of the month, and the 15th of the month are common paydays. 

Keep in mind when your school district’s payday is—when I was a teacher, my pay date was the 20th of every month and that last week of the pay period was pretty thin on extra funds. It wasn’t a great time to get any communication that asked for a donation. 

What if I’m busy on Tuesdays at 10 a.m?  You can set it and forget it! Automation is your friend. Create your donor email, set your sending schedule, and check another thing off your to-do list. (There’s an email tool over here with a free 30-day trial.)

It’s always hardest to market a fundraising campaign when you’re starting from scratch. These tools will help guide you through the process, and make it easier for you to hand the job off next year or become the next great fundraising expert in your area!

Sign up now to get Livingtree’s free platform and start automating your fundraising marketing campaigns today!

Looking for a great online fundraising platform that makes it easy to be a marketing rockstar? Click here to learn about Livingtree Give and sign up for your FREE account today!

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