Raising money for your student project is an exciting challenge. You’ve got a big goal to reach, and you have control over how you can earn your money. Plus, nothing feels better than working for a good cause, does it?
But when you’ve got no experience managing a project like this, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed. You want to get it all right and ensure you hit your target. And when you’ve got limited experience running a fundraising project, it can seem like a lot of work.
That’s why we've put together an easy-to-follow action plan to help you come up with ideas, attract sponsors and run a great fundraiser.
We’ve even added some free designs and templates to help you raise more money, and attract lots of attention. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
01. Get clear on how much you want to raise
The first step for any fundraising project is to set a clear goal of how much you need to raise. This goal is important for two reasons.
Firstly, it gives you something to aim for. You know what you need to achieve and when you need to achieve it by. After all, it’s hard to hit a target if you’re not aiming for it!
But this also works on a more practical level. If you know the amount you need to raise, you can begin to break it down to how much each person needs to raise, and when they need to raise it by.
Let’s say you need to raise $1000 for your project. There are ten people working on it, and you have six weeks to raise it. That breaks down to:
- Per person: $100
- Per week: $16
This helps turn your big goal into a small achievable chunk. $1000 might seem like a lot of money at a group level. But $16 per person, per week, is much more doable.
It’s also important to highlight this target so everyone who is taking part can see it. That could be in your classroom or the place where you guys tend to meet.
For example, you could create a large poster, that can be coloured in to show progress towards your target. Using Canva you can edit this Cream Confetti Candies template to match your goal, print it off, and then put it into plain view:
02. Recruit volunteers to help you
With more people on your team, you’ll be able to raise more money in a shorter amount of time. And, if you’re tracking it as we showed you in the last step, you’ll be able to break it down into even smaller amounts per person.
Try to think of people you know—or who your teammates know—who might be able to help you. They can either be part of the school, like a teacher or a coach. Or, they could be someone outside of school, like a parent or a friend.
It’s also useful to look at other clubs or classes you can work with. Are there any people you could help you now, who you can return the favour for in the future?
Flyering is a great way to let people know that you’re looking for volunteers. They’re super easy to hand out and for people to take home to their friends and family. Or, you can stick them up in a place like a mini-poster.
03. Make a list of your resources
Before you decide what fundraising events you should hold, it’s helpful to look at the resources available to you.
There are lots of different things that can affect your fundraiser, like where you live and the equipment your school can provide. By creating a list of what you’re able to use and do, you can begin to come up with unique and creative ideas.
Pay close attention to:
- Your local area: Do you live in a city or the countryside? Is it flat or hilly?
- Your school facilities: What can your school provide? For example, do you have a big gymnasium or a large car park?
- Your teammates and their skills: What are the people on your team good at, and could that be turned into an event?
- Your common items or activities: Do you all have bikes? Are you all great at table tennis? Do you all know how to crochet?
- The time of year: Are there any major annual events you could tie your fundraiser into? Will the weather get in the way?
Answering these questions will help you decide which events or activities are best to help you raise money.
If you live in a rainy town with only 2000 people and nobody can bake, selling cookies door-to-door may not be a great option. However, you might have all the space and equipment you need to run a successful bike-a-thon!
04. Draw inspiration from existing ideas
When you start coming up with ideas, it’s useful to look at what other schools, clubs or causes have done in the past to raise their funds. Success leaves clues, right?
You can find lots of great ideas by using Google, Facebook and YouTube. We’ve pulled some ideas together that might spark some inspiration for you as well.
Have you got a Principal who likes to get involved (or who you’d like to see uncomfortable for a couple of hours)? If so, this school in New Jersey duct taped theirs to a wall!
You’ll have to ask for permission, but “get your own back!” style challenges are a great way to motivate people to donate dollars to your cause.
If you’re more of a mover and a shaker, these schools came together to perform a seven hour dance-a-thon to raise money:
You could do this in your school gymnasium, and you could even get school bands, up-and-coming DJs or local acts to come and help out too. Just be sure there’s lots of water available!
Or, if you’ve got some sporty people in your class, you could raise money by performing one of your skills! This student raised money for charity by kicking field goals:
You could easily translate this to any sport, or skill within that sport! The key is to be creative with it.
05. Brainstorm some original ideas
There are lots of great ways to start fundraising. But some of the best ways are the unique ideas you come up with on your own. They’re more likely to turn heads, attract attention and receive donations.
Based on the list of resources you created earlier, what ideas can you come up with?
Try putting together different combinations from the list and see what pairs well together, and give everyone involved a chance to come up with and share ideas. There’s no such thing as a bad idea when you’re brainstorming. The silliest and craziest often turn out to be the ones that work!
06. Pick your best ideas
With a big list of ideas created, it’s time to decide on the ones you’re going to do. This could be just one big event or multiple smaller ones.
Often it’s good to have one big event with some smaller ones leading up to it, so you can build some momentum. For example, if you’ve decided you want to sell products, you could have some little stalls set up after school, before you do a big school fair.
07. Let people know about your event
Once you’ve decided on your event, it’s time to let people know about it! Spreading the word is a key part of fundraising. After all, the more people you can reach, and the more hype you can generate, the better.
Let’s take a look at some simple, free and effective methods of doing this.
A well-designed poster can be a great way to turn heads. And, by putting them in prominent places on campus, you can ensure they’re seen by lots of people. This could be by the entrance, in the bathrooms, in the cafeteria, or anywhere people go to hang out.
Flyering is another effective way to spread the word. If it worked for getting volunteers, it could work for finding donors, too.
These can easily be handed out by people on your team, or placed in people’s chairs or on desks so that they’re hard to ignore.
Social Media Images
If your friends are anything like mine, they spend a lot of time on social media. So, why not promote your fundraiser where they’re looking?
Create a simple image—similar to a flyer—that displays all of the information and stands out in a busy news feed.
If you want to present your fundraiser to a business or professional institution to get sponsorships or partners, it helps to have a pitch deck.
This is a simple presentation telling people what you’re raising money for, why it’s important and how they can contribute. (We’ve also got some advice on delivering a great presentation.)
We have some great, easy-to-edit, pitch decks here at Canva to help you win over the hearts, and funds, of these potential sponsors. You can try templates like our Purple with Photo Pitch Deck pitch deck:
08. Prepare For The Big Day
No matter what idea you’ve chosen, there’s always lots of preparation to be done.
This is where teamwork is really important. Find the people in your group whose strengths match each different tasks. If you play to their strengths, it’ll all go much more smoothly.
You may also find it helpful to create handouts or booklets for the day. These would contain information about your cause, how much money you’re trying to raise, and some background on why you’re doing it.
It can help eek out a few extra donations from the people who naturally find your event and aren’t sure what’s going on.
09. Once You’ve Hit Your Target…
Once the event is over, and you’ve (hopefully) hit your target, there’s still one last thing left to do.
Say “thank you!” to everyone who helped you.
Sending a quick thank, you note to friends, family, volunteers, teachers and anyone else who took part can show people their help was valued, and let them know they made a difference
Don’t worry about having to go out and spend lots of money on cards, though. We’ve got lots of free thank-you card templates to choose from. My personal favourite is our Coral Pixelated Trophy Graduation card:
All that’s left to do now is hand them out!
Your fundraising checklist
We hope by now you feel prepared and ready to start raising funds for your student projects. But, before you go, here's a quick checklist you can refer back to while you’re working towards your goal.
- Set your target and display it clearly
- Recruit volunteers to help you
- Make a list of resources
- Get inspiration from past fundraising events
- Come up with your own new and creative ideas
- Choose the perfect idea(s)
- Let people know about your event through posts, flyers, social media and pitch decks
- Prepare for the big day
- Send thank you notes to everyone who took part
Best of luck reaching your goal!