4 Steps to a Successful Fundraiser



In between curriculum development, running after-school groups, department management, and individual student considerations, music teachers and department leads are increasingly needing to fill in the blanks where funds are missing from annual music department budgets. Enter…the annual fundraiser.

It’s a necessary evil – so you may as well make sure that you’re going to make it as easy on yourself (and your students) as you can. Here are 4 key items to consider as you’re planning your fundraiser:


When should we start? There are two big factors when it comes to timing.

The earlier, the better. Bottom line, it’s best to fundraise in the Fall. Think about it – your band or chorus isn’t the only group stretching their budget – so do sports teams, competition groups, and clubs, with tens and tens of fundraisers happening each year, nationally. Each of them is going to be asking the same population – parents, grandparents, neighbors – that you’re targeting to contribute to their annual goal as well.

Avoid conflicts. It’s also important to check the school calendar to ensure there are no major conflicts during the key weeks you’re targeting to get orders, or for order delivery week. You want this to be everyone’s top priority, and that includes parents. For delivery week, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to work with your rep and the kids have time to pick up their orders.

Why are we fundraising?

People are more enthusiastic to place orders when they know specifically where there money is going. Is it a trip year? Are new instruments or uniforms needed? The more clearly you state your group’s goals, the easier it is for your students to prepare a smart “pitch” to family, friends and neighbors. Help them draft a request that states the tangible reason for fundraising.

How much do we need to raise?

Once you identify why you’re fundraising, you need to determine exactly how much you need to raise. Identifying a profit target is easy – the cost for a new tuba, an additional 12 uniforms, or a trip for 35 kids is based on facts. Fundraising companies often provide a calculator that helps you sort out what that means by taking an average order amount, and estimating how many orders you’ll need, based on the amount your group receives from each order. This helps guide your students as to how many orders they need to reach individually to deliver enough profit and hit your goal. It’s often best to over-estimate by just a bit, so you’re not caught just short of what you need in case additional expenses show up.

How much time investment will it take?

There’s no doubt that a fundraiser takes time and effort, but with the right set of resources, it’s a lot less painful. Choose a program with the right hands-on support – one that gives you a partner-in-crime at kickoff and on delivery day. A fundraising company with a long track record of success indicates a process that’s easy for schools to use and profit from.

Remember: you’re not in this alone! Reach out to your fundraising company for guidance from your reps, and good communication with your students and parents will keep you on path to reaching your goals (and help you survive another year).


“Century is by far the best user-friendly fundraiser I have worked with. It is extremely organized and the delivery process is as easy as it gets. I am a repeat customer because of the integrity of your organization, the ease of process, the great products and the profits generated for student use.” – Ron May, Moline HS Chorus, Moline, IL

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