School fundraising is the focus for PTO groups and schools in the fall. It is a great time for fundraising events as the leaves change, with the holiday season around the corner. One school in particular sends out rockets to rally their community for a color run. They used a video fundraising appeal for their September crowdfunding event. The MARS parent-teacher group for Rutland Elementary School offers a great example of fundraising for kids with Rocket Rally!
School Fundraising Call to Action
The MARS PTO group tells donors what their specific plans are for the year. Their wording and intention is about loving their students.
“We would love to,,,”
- Build a climbing wall on our playground
- Add tether balls to our blacktop
- Replace soccer balls
- Restock our recess carts for each grade
- Contribute to classroom donation accounts
- Continue to fund our accelerated reading program
- Fund our family night including an 80’s cover band!
- Fund the catering for our teacher appreciation dinner
Their call to action is so clear that donors can envision the new playground, and children playing at recess. Each item they would love to fund is accompanied by a photo. And the family night from last year is shared with a rad video clip!
The video fundraising appeal specifies other key elements:
- It introduces the 6 PTO volunteers who help make rockets soar, and lets donors know they are also a part of their team
- 100 percent of their funds received go towards their school because they don’t use an outside company
- Instructions for student crowdfunding participants share included
- Student fundraising incentives are detailed
- The color is defined for donors, volunteers and students
- The theme of kindness is shared by several kids: “Kindness is sitting next to someone new at lunch,:
- 6 PTO members are introduced, and donors are included as vital team members
Message to donors
Donors hear in the video fundraising appeal message an open invitation to help. They are invited to be a part of changing the lives of school children. The appeal asks donors to improve the quality of life for their children. Through donations they’ll improve the equipment used to enhance the health of students in terms of body and mind. Donors are informed how their donation will impact children. The video creates a picture of students playing on their playground with new equipment.
“Who’s ready to sell wrapping paper, cookie dough and candles? We aren’t!” With this message on their crowdfunding homepage, they let donors know they’re serious fundraisers. The message says they are setting their standards high for their beloved children. They show confidence which tells donors they are competent and believe in their kids.
An option for your school fundraising video is to suggest a donation amount. For example, offer the dollar amount per child for new playground equipment. Present a small amount rather than the cost for your school to purchase the equipment. Give donors the satisfaction of knowing their donation would help a young girl or boy. This message may be shared in social media marketing too.
Fundraising for kids incentives
MARS clearly outlays what kids receive for fundraising in their video appeal. Donors envision their children getting rewards for participating. Students receive cool t-shirts at no cost. The video shows prizes kids receive as they reach goals. This motivates students who are crowdfunding participants. Donors are motivated by what Rutland Elementary School is doing for the children they wish to help with their donations. Being a part of a crowdfunding event is a wonderful learning experience for students. Making it fun with a color run, prizes and a new t-shirt is another way to make participants and donors feel good.
The Color Run
The school has chosen from one the great school fundraising events, a color run. They’ll attract people of all ages. Students, donors and their community of all fitness levels and ages can participate. (Learn more on how to organize one with our article on Fundraising with a Color Run.)
The Rutland fundraiser is in step with their school values. They promote diversity and express their student body speaks 25 languages. Inclusion is a part of their mission. They hold regular non-bullying groups facilitated by school counselors. The color run is a non-competitive running event. Their crowdfunding participants may choose to run, jog, walk or roll. Fun is placed first. These are all important strategies to consider in elementary school fundraising.
Rutland, in partnership with our students, families, and community will:
- Respect and embrace diversity
- Ensure all students SOAR academically and emotionally
- Supply a safe and challenging environment
The fundraising letter MARS created share specific financial information to motivate and inform donors. This is important information to share by email or traditional direct mail. It is another way to let donors know their donation has had an impact. MARS shares the amount raised through last year’s Rocket Rally and what is was used for. Donors are given credit for making this event possible:
“And of course, after another successful Rocket Rally (because we know we’re going to reach our goal) we invite you to don your favorite 80’s and 90’s gear as we jam out to one of Nashville’s favorite cover bands, Rubiks Groove! Save the date for Friday, Sept. 28; we promise you won’t want to miss this fun family evening for Rutland families. With your support as parents, grandparents and guardians, we can once again propel your Rockets and SOAR to new heights!”
The message throughout the fundraising letter is positive. It shares a very fun aspect of the fundraising event of the after party geared towards donors. The fundraising team shows belief in their cause and confidence in fundraising. They thank their loyal donors and communicate openly which further engenders their trust.
Students are encouraged to send crowdfunding letters. They send an initial letter requesting a donation. They follow-up with the progress of their individual fundraising to keep donors engaged. Rocket Rally offers prizes as kids reach their goals. Sharing this with donors is encouraging, and another opportunity or reminder to donate.
Thank you videos
Create short thank you videos with your mobile phone. Thank a business or donor who sponsored your color run. Students, staff and volunteers may use this visual form of thanks. Thank donors through short videos for crowdfunding donations. A short video of thanks engages donors and thankss them in social media marketing.
YouTube tips in sharing your video fundraising appeal
- Place your school fundraising video to your YouTube page. It’s easy to create a Youtube page if your school needs one.
- Create your own thumbnail. Take a look at what others on YouTube have used for some ideas. Select a thumbnail that reflects your school spirit and brand.
- When choosing a video title, keep it short. Your title isn’t the description of your video…that comes next.
- When adding a video description, consider that your goal is to get people to click on your video link! Draw your audience with a description that speaks to them emotionally.
- By using keywords in your video title and description, think of what your followers search for. Consider non-profit SEO when posting YouTube videos.
- Consider YouTube school fundraising annotations. This gives your fundraising campaign a competitive edge.
- Frequently post your video on social media platforms. Change the title to draw more donors and volunteers.
Your nonprofit website video fundraising
Utilizing video throughout your nonprofit websites offers people a fast way to learn what you offer and how they can get involved. Nonprofit crowdfunding events present a great forum to create excitement with the use of videos. Volunteers speaking on video of their work and the benefits of volunteering will draw more volunteers and donors. Regular public speaking engagements shared on video are fantastic ways to reach new donors.
First steps and considerations in starting your school Color Run or Fun Run:
- Create your Fun Run planning committee of people dedicated to the event and organization’s mission
- Create a Color Run Committee of volunteers, staff and community members dedicated to this event
- Select the best time of year and pick a date and theme for the crowdfunding event
- Create your Fun Run fundraising website with DoJiggy
- Recruit participants, volunteers, and sponsors
- Import participants or ask them to register online to create their personal Fun Run fundraising pages.
- Participants ask supporters to donate or pledge in support of their efforts
- Use fundraising thermometers to track the progress of the event with crowdfunding software
- Post the top fundraisers and teams to motivate Color Run participants
- Registration reporting makes race day check-in easy
- Finalize the total number of pledges by adding off-line donations