Marching bands, the color guard, choirs and other music groups are often in need of financial support to sustain musical programs, fund competitions and concerts, cover travel costs for band camp and trips, and pay for instruments, uniforms and training tools. Are your band fundraisers exciting and successful each year? Are you interested in fresh, new suggestions for successful high school band fundraising?
Establishing and maintaining successful band fundraising efforts relies on several factors. This article is intended to help your marching band plan successful band fundraisers by providing planning tips and creative fundraising ideas for high school and other marching bands.
Great High School and Marching Band Fundraising Ideas
The success of band fundraisers lies first and foremost with the type of fundraising campaign you choose to hold. It’s always helpful and inspiring to try to tie your marching band fundraisers into what band members are so passionate about: Music.
Our #1 Band Fundraising Idea: March-a-thons
Create a variation of a walk-a-thon event by hosting a March-a-thon fundraiser for your band. A march-a-thon is conducted on a specific course (which could be the school track or right through your downtown’s Main Street) for a specified period of time. The march-a-thon is almost exactly like a walk-a-thon from a fundraising perspective and instead of just walking, band members are marching and playing songs. Members from the community can participate in the event and march alongside band members as they play popular tunes and raise money for a great cause. Reach out to the cheerleading or dance team to see if they are interested in participating with your band, and make the march-a-thon a parade!
Band members raise funds by asking relatives, friends, and neighbors to make a donation to help a certain, specific cause (i.e. raising money for new band uniforms or to cover fees for an upcoming competition). Pledge amounts can be calculated per mile marched or contributors can also choose to donate a fixed amount, like $25. A great way to obtain a lot of donations easily is through DoJiggy’s Pledge peer-to-peer software. Band members create personal fundraising pages where they upload photos and videos, explain their mission and ask people to make secure online donations. Fundraising pages include donor comments, a fundraising thermometer and links to Social Media sites. Participants can send out an email donation request letter that includes a link to the online donation page. It’s easy!
2. Community Fundraising Events
Community fundraising events are a great option for bands. Not only are they great for team-building as they require cooperation and encourage involvement from students, families, band boosters (supporters) and community members, but they also provide an opportunity to practice in front of an audience. This is one great advantage that bands and choirs have over other groups when planning a fundraising event; the built-in entertainment. Whatever the event may be – a community picnic, concert, yard sale, or even car wash – band members can take turns playing tunes to entertain guests during the event. Don’t forget to consider adding a fundraising raffle as part of your event to raise even more. Local businesses are often happy to donate in-kind contributions (such as gift certificates to their store) for you to raffle off to event attendees, which can be another great source of revenue.
Some ideas for your band community fundraising events include:
- Community Picnics and Bake Sales: Have band members prepare food and sell items to raise funds. Tie the event in with food that’s in season such as pumpkin bread and apple pies for a Fall fundraiser.
- Community Concerts: Have your high school band throw a fundraising concert at the school and sell tickets online. Add refreshments and treats, and invite students, parents, teachers and local supporters to showcase your marching band’s talent, while raising funds.
- Car Washes: This fundraiser can be very easy to execute. Set up the fundraiser right in the parking lot of your school or recreation center – but find a location with good traffic flow. Charge a small donation fee ($5 – $10) in exchange for a car wash. Offer lemonade and snacks for sale while guests wait for their cars to get cleaned.
- Community Yard Sales: At least once a year people clean out closets and garages. Have band members reach out to families, friends, band boosters and neighbors to see if they have any items they’d like to donate for a good cause. Gather all donated items and host a large community garage sale at a convenient local establishment such as a school cafeteria or local recreation center.
3. Marching Band Fundraising Sales
Another good option for marching band fundraisers is implementing a sales drive. Many groups achieve success with fundraising discount cards and scratch card fundraising. These options work well because they are not specific to one item, and therefore appeal to a broader audience. In addition, both of these options provide value to those who purchase the card. The discount card is sold for a set fee (i.e. $10) and provides numerous savings from local businesses. It’s an easy sell as purchasers are likely to save much more than the $10 they spent on the card. Scratch cards also provide savings for donors as they receive a coupon-sheet for participating, yet they also add in an element of fun & excitement. Participants ask potential donors to scratch off a dot on their scratch card, which determines the amount they will donate. Often contributors will scratch off multiple dots.
Another idea for fundraising sales are selling seasonal items that are in high-demand during certain times of the year. For example selling wreaths, poinsettias, holiday wrapping paper, cookie dough and candles during Christmas can be a very successful band fundraiser. These items typically have a 40% profit margin, which can make for quite a lucrative fundraiser. Holiday fundraisers work best if conducted late-fall, which could be an opportune time for high school bands and marching bands since it’s shortly after their season starts. Band members are excited for the new season, and are often preparing for Holiday concerts and performances. What better way to ramp up ticket sales and support for the upcoming performance than with a fundraiser? You can promote the upcoming event and ask for donations all at once. Remember that seasonal sales typically require delivery, so start your sales early, and allow for two weeks of delivery.
Your band members can sell and track fundraising product sales via our crowdfunding software. If your band is considering a sales fundraiser, be sure to offer incentives for top performers to help motivate band members to sell more, and add in a fun element of healthy competition.
The Importance of Band Fundraisers for Schools
Band fundraising campaigns help fund music and band programs in high schools, middle schools, universities and social organizations. If you’re reading this page, you know this already as you are a supporter of your marching band. But you may need to convey the importance of your marching band program and your band fundraisers to the school at large and community. Why?
Marching bands and color guards are very important for schools. They are the epicenter of school spirit and make many school times and moments unforgettable. The marching band performs during football games (of course!), high school bands get students excited at pep rallies and homecoming celebrations, and there are plenty of band concerts that entertain students, parents and faculty. A love of music and musical skills are instilled in students through band practice. Many students who don’t normally excel can do so, via their marching band. These talents are just as important to the development of students as are academic skills, and they need to be supported and nurtured. Schools that cannot support a marching band are seriously lacking in providing opportunity to students, and your school may need to work hard at your fundraising efforts to be sure that you provide these opportunities for your students.
As well, your students can learn valuable leadership and financial skills by taking charge to raise money for their high school band program.
Promoting Your Band Fundraisers
Whatever fundraising strategy you decide on for your marching band fundraiser, be sure to promote it heavily throughout your school and the local community.Your advertising and promotion of the fundraising event or campaign will also be a primary factor in the success of the initiative. Be sure to allow your group plenty of time and promote the event in the following ways:
- Add your event to online community calendars
- Post announcements on bulletin boards at your school and local businesses
- Include an announcement on your school and band websites
- Post on Facebook and other Social Media pages – ask band members to do this as well as doing it on the band’s page
- Email to your list serve or mailing list and ask the PTO, booster club and/or school to email to their mailing list as well
Remember that hosting any fundraising event requires the assistance of motivated volunteers. Various details to manage include event set-up, organizing collection of donated goods, promoting the event, and managing your donations. DoJiggy offers affordable event management software to help you safely collect donations, and manage the details of your fundraising event.
Still looking for band fundraising ideas?
See our 40 best fundraiers for schools and high school fundraising ideas. For more information about hosting a peer-to-peer fundraising event (such as a March-a-thon), including sample donation forms, a fundraising event budget, forms and “how-to” planning guidelines, visit our walk-a-thon fundraiser resource center.