Guiding Questions to Help You Develop Your School Fundraising Plan
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
You’re facing a tough school year. You have a million things to plan and lots of questions. The coming school year will be unlike any we’ve seen before. But your teachers, parents, and students are looking to you for answers. How will you move forward into the unknown?
Well, you’re in luck. I am currently working on a new book entitled, “Fearless Funding: 30 Day Challenge for School Leaders.” As I research information for this book, I am learning about the many ways nonprofit organizations have figured out how to “do fundraising” that most charter schools just haven’t mastered.
I can’t help you with most of the difficult decisions you need to make, but I can offer support to improve your fundraising, which is likely to be more important than ever this year. How do you start fundraising or improve fundraising success for your school? Keep reading to learn the guiding questions, culled from nonprofit experts and filtered for you, the charter school (or private school) leader, and how to develop and implement your fundraising plan.
Start by Reviewing Your Budget
Unlike the Federal Government, schools cannot operate at a deficit. You already know your budget for the coming year, but does it cover everything you need? It’s likely that some vital expenses have been cut to balance the budget. Identify the priority expenses that have been cut but are still important to your school’s mission and vision. Make a list, including the approximate dollar amount needed for each.
Ask Yourself These Questions
How much money do we need to cover these expenses?
What fundraising strategies will we use? (grants, donations, fundraising events, or corporate sponsorships)
What is our deadline for raising funds?
Talk through your ideas with your leadership team and members of your board of directors. Get input from your business manager and any other stakeholders who may have insights into your situation.
Set Your Fundraising Goal
Turn the answers to these questions into a Fundraising Goal. This goal will guide your planning and provide a target for everyone to work toward. Here are some examples:
We will raise $75,000 to support expenses in technology and safety through fundraising events and grants during the 2020-21 school year.
We will raise $20,000 for new Chromebooks through donations during the Fall 2020 Annual Campaign.
We will raise $10,000 to support general operating expenses related to COVID-19 health and safety measures through grants during the 2020-21 school year.
We will raise $25,000 to provide training and stipends for teachers to develop online curriculum resources over the 2020-21 school year.
What are your most urgent needs? Once you have clarity on what you want to accomplish, the plan will follow.
Make a Plan
Now that you have an overall goal, let’s break that goal down into the various fundraising activities you’ll need to plan. Review your school’s track record in fundraising. Do you have an active parent base who can support your school-based fundraising events? Do you have a history of successful grants? Do you have partnerships with local businesses, or parents and board members who could help develop those relationships? Build on the assets you already have and expand from there.
Check out these resources to learn more about fundraising for schools.
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Divide the overall fundraising goal into sub-goals for each type of fundraising activity. For example, let’s say you want to raise $50,000 to purchase new Chromebooks. Perhaps you could plan:
$5,000 corporate donation
$25,000 annual campaign
Now, you have a fundraising target for each activity. What will you do to meet your goal? You might need to establish a grant writing committee, plan your annual campaign, and reach out to several local businesses to see who might be willing to provide a sponsorship. What specific actions will you take to move you toward your goals?
For more information, see these related blog posts:
Ready to start your plan? Grab this free infographic to post in your office and remind you of your goals. (Print in color on 11 x 17 paper for best results.)
Grant Writing for School Leaders
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Fearless Funding: 30 Day Challenge for School Leaders
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