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Engage Your School Community: 7 Inspirational Fundraisers

Your school’s supporters provide you with the help you need to make each school year great, and what better way to engage them than fundraisers that give back to the very community they’re a part of? Whether it’s parents, family, or alumni, inspire them to give by engaging them in new and exciting ways to give back to the school. 

Instead of endless requests for donations or invitations to networking events, invite them to participate in inspirational fundraisers. Creative, engaging fundraisers help supporters feel like they’re making an impact on your school and are a part of the community. 

To help you spark meaningful conversations with your school community, we’ve gathered seven inspirational fundraising ideas schools of all sizes can try out. 

Educational Fundraisers 

Educational fundraisers link your school’s mission with community contributions. In other words, when supporters give to these fundraisers, they can see directly how their donations impact your students’ education for the better. Here are a few ways to incorporate student education into your school fundraisers

Art Classes 

Encourage creativity and raise funds at the same time by hosting art classes for students, alumni, and family members alike. Your community will be excited to support your school while learning a new skill. Plus, as a bonus you can potentially even help highlight a local artist’s skills by asking them to help volunteer at your fundraiser.

Depending on the size of your art class, you can use a school classroom or partner with a local art program at your community center to rent out their art studio. Buy shareable art supplies, and be sure to purchase extras that can be saved for the next event—depending on the turn out, this event could be repeated for even more fundraisers! 

Read-a-thon 

If your institution focuses on primary school education, increasing student literacy is likely an important goal for your school. By hosting a read-a-thon, your students can help your school raise money by working on their personal and class reading goals. 

Read-a-thons raise money by having friends and family members pledge to donate a fixed amount. Then, your school will host the read-a-thon, encouraging kids to read as much as they can in a given timeframe. Students continue to reach out to their family and friends for donations throughout the event, and their reading progress can inspire new donors or multiple donations. 

You can make managing your read-a-thon easier for students, teachers, and donors by investing in read-a-thon software. For instance, students and teachers can log reading time on Read-a-thon’s online school fundraising platform. Students can then send their personal reading log page to family and friends to collect promised donations. 

Not only does this fundraiser encourage reading, but it can also grow your school community by demonstrating the initiative your school takes in supporting childhood literacy. 

Creative Fundraisers

Tap into your more creative school’s supporter network and bring your community together by hosting a unique fundraiser. You can even showcase your students’ work with some of the following creative fundraising ideas. 

Art Gallery

Invite your school community to engage to enjoy and even purchase art by hosting an art gallery event. If your institution has advanced art classes or an art school, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase students and community members’ art while also raising money.

Here are a few ways to raise funds with an art gallery: 

  • Partner with a gallery. Partner with a gallery to secure an event space. You can raise funds by charging for admission or arranging for a portion of profits from sold artwork to go toward your school.
  • Host it yourself. If your school has the proper event space, you can host your gallery in your cafeteria, gym, or a set of classrooms. Find artists in your local community and invite them to present their artwork in your gallery. Just like if you partner with an official gallery, you can charge for admission or arrange for a portion of the proceeds from sold artwork to be donated to your school. 
  • Have artists donate their work. Invite your alumni and community members to donate their artwork to your school’s gallery. Then, whether you’re hosting the event yourself or have partnered with another organization, all the funds can go straight to your school.

You can encourage participation in your art gallery by highlighting student and alumni artists. Community members will be able to see how your school has influenced your students’ creative talents, demonstrating the positive impact your community can have by giving to your school.

Auction 

Raise money for your school by hosting an auction where community members can bid on unique items and experiences. Start procuring auction items early by asking your school community members and local businesses if there is anything they would like to contribute. Highlight alumni and supporter businesses that make a contribution, providing some positive promotion while also shedding a light on the success of your school’s alumni. 

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A Guide to Identifying Audiences for Your Nonprofit’s Website

Your nonprofit’s website is the most valuable marketing tool you have at your disposal. It serves as a hub of information about your organization’s mission and impact, as well as the main location where supporters can donate and get involved. Your organization can also interface directly with supporters through your website in several ways, like responding to contact forms, acknowledging blog comments, and publicly recognizing donors.

Having an engaging, informative website is also important when you consider that those who encounter your nonprofit through other channels will likely visit your website to find out more. While emails, direct mail, social media, flyers, and word-of-mouth marketing are all effective for spreading awareness, you can only fit so much information into each piece of content you create for these channels. On your website, though, the possibilities are endless.

To get the most out of your nonprofit’s website, you’ll need to design it for your target audience. But that target audience is likely more complex than you’d initially think. In this guide, we’ll answer key questions about identifying and tailoring content for your website’s audience, including:

  • What groups of people are included in your website audience?
  • How do you learn more about your audience?
  • How do you design your website with your audience in mind?

Every nonprofit has different needs and goals, so you’ll want to evaluate the suggestions in this article to determine which ones will be most effective for you. Then, use those strategies to design your website with your audience in mind. If you need help getting started or have questions along the way, you can always reach out to a nonprofit web design agency to collaborate on all your audience-related needs.

What groups of people are included in your audience?

Most brands focus on promoting their products or services primarily to consumers. Nonprofits differ from these other brands in that they have to sell and promote their mission instead of a product or service. They also need to address many more groups of people in order to make an impact.

Some of the potential groups visiting your nonprofit’s website for information about your organization include (but are not limited to):

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Picking The Best Fundraising Product for Your Donors: 3 Tips

Chances are your nonprofit juggles many responsibilities. The last thing you want is to become overwhelmed and lose sight of your priorities. What if we told you that there’s a way to combine donor appreciation, fundraising, and effective marketing into one campaign?

Product fundraisers are a triple-threat approach to fundraising that will ease your worries. Not only are they a great way to raise money, but you can also spread awareness about your cause while giving your donors something tangible in return for their support.

However, before you jump into your product fundraiser, you have an important decision to make: What products will we sell?

There are so many options to offer, from branded merchandise to discount cards. So, you should take a strategic approach when selecting your products to best cater to your donors and increase your efficiency. Here are our tips:

  1. Consult your data
  2. Ask your donors directly
  3. Seek out products that match your organization’s niche

Without further ado, let’s explore how to find the products that get you closer to achieving your fundraising goals.

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Wealth screening can help nonprofits fundraise more effectively and efficiently.

Wealth Screening for Nonprofits: The Complete Guide

Here’s a common scenario: A nonprofit university is planning a capital campaign to build a new Center for the Humanities. Knowing that most effective capital campaigns rely on large initial gifts, the university wants to raise approximately 50% to 70% of its campaign goal during the campaign’s “quiet phase” before moving to a broader public one.

However, the fundraisers are in a bind. Reaching out to everyone in their database would effectively push the campaign public before raising the necessary base funds. On the other hand, they don’t have the time or resources to manually go through each alumni profile in their database. Moreover, they may not even know who their wealthiest donors are.

Luckily, this is the situation for which nonprofit wealth screening was born. With more than ten years of wealth screening experience, AlumniFinder has seen the robust impact wealth screening and data-driven intelligence can have on nonprofit fundraising. This guide will explore the fundamentals of wealth screening for nonprofits. We’ll look at:

What Is Wealth Screening?
How Does Wealth Screening Help Nonprofits?
What Data Should Wealth Screening Include?

Wealth Screening
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The Essential Guide to Alumni Giving and Fundraising

Between small recurring gifts and large one-time donations, alumni giving often makes up the largest segments of university fundraising efforts. Who’s more motivated to donate to your university than the individuals who were once students themselves?

Keeping this in mind, this guide will review the current state of alumni giving, the best practices for engaging your alums, and the most effective ways to increase your alumni giving rates. We’ll also review the tools that make it easier to reach your fundraising goals. Here’s what to expect:

As we walk through these steps, you’ll likely find yourself exploring the quantitative and qualitative information you have on your alums. Before making any programmatic decisions, however, plan to conduct an audit of your alumni database, remove outdated and duplicate information, and enhance your data with additional wealth and philanthropic indicators. Then, you can be confident that any changes you make will be based on the most accurate, thorough data possible.

Why Is Alumni Giving Important?

Alumni giving is important for two primary reasons: it offers crucial support to the important work your university does in educating the leaders of tomorrow and it’s a key indicator of your university’s financial health. In this section, we’ll cover how alumni donations tend to be directed and used by universities, plus the major benefits of developing an alumni giving program.

How Are Alumni Donations Used?

There isn’t just one type of student that graduates from your school. Likewise, you don’t have only one type of alum. Your graduates have gone on to be biologists and writers, farmers and professional athletes. In many cases, alums will direct their donations to a specific program or department that was meaningful to them during their studies. In fact, restricted gifts make up 93% of giving to universities.

Overall, alumni giving generally funds:

  • Scholarships. If an alum received a specific scholarship or support during their time at your university, they’ll often want to “pass on” this opportunity to current and future students.
  • Construction costs. Usually, alumni interest in funding construction projects piques after the kickoff period of a capital campaign to fund a specific project, such as a new science center with up-to-date technology or a state-of-the-art theater. Alums are particularly apt to give to buildings for which the name (e.g. the Alumni Hall) will acknowledge their contribution.
  • Research projects. Funding faculty research can be attractive to your alumni, especially when it’s framed in the context of its impact on students and the broader community.
  • Operational costs. While the day-to-day operations of running a university aren’t as sexy as new experimental research, they are just as important! Because of this, operational costs generally end up being funded by unrestricted donations.

By engaging the diversity of your alumni community, you’ll be able to attract and direct resources across your funding priorities.

What Are the Benefits of a Strong Alumni Giving Program?

Even though the majority of alumni gifts contain restrictions, they are still incredibly valuable to your university. So why exactly is it important to build a strong alumni giving program? A thriving program allows you to:

Access a broad range of support that adds up to make a big impact. Relying entirely on one income source can become a big problem if you suddenly lose that stream. Alumni giving helps you avoid that risk by diversifying your fundraising efforts across a large body of donors. Moreover, small gifts can really add up. For example, in a given year, an annual fund made up of $500,000 in small donations can have the same financial effect as 

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