FundraisingSchool Marketing

How Technology Can Enhance Your School’s Fundraiser

It’s time for your school to plan its next fundraiser, and your team’s to-do list is beginning to grow. Between setting a budget and promoting your fundraising efforts, there’s a lot to get done in a short amount of time.

Luckily, in today’s digital age, there are a variety of tools built to simplify and streamline fundraising for schools. In this guide, we’ll cover some fundraising technology basics and how your school can use its tools to their fullest potential.

Key Types of Fundraising Technology for Schools

When building your fundraising toolkit, use your school’s specific needs, resources, and goals to guide your decision-making. For example, consider your staff’s experience with using technology, your existing software solutions, and what fundraising activities you plan to carry out.

Let’s take a look at some of the technology tools you can use to facilitate your fundraising:

  • Social media. Social media platforms are invaluable for reaching a broad audience quickly. Use them to spread the word about your fundraising events, share updates, and even host live fundraising campaigns. This approach leverages your school’s existing network and encourages sharing, significantly increasing your campaign’s visibility and success.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising software. Peer-to-peer fundraising software empowers individuals to raise money on your school’s behalf by creating personal campaign pages linked to your main fundraiser. This method taps into the networks of your school community, allowing students, parents, and staff to personally engage their friends and family in the fundraising effort.
  • Auction software. Investing in silent auction software allows your school to engage its community by giving people the opportunity to bid on appealing items and experiences to support your fundraising goals. It’s a win-win: Your school earns revenue while your community members leave with gift baskets, event tickets, and more.
  • Crowdfunding platforms. These platforms enable you to collect donations from a wide audience, beyond your school community. They are ideal for specific projects, allowing you to set clear goals and deadlines to motivate donors. Additionally, they offer tools for sharing your campaign via social media, email, and other channels to amplify your message and attract more supporters.
  • Matching gift tools. These tools help you identify donors whose employers offer matching gift programs, potentially doubling the donations you receive. By integrating these tools into your fundraising strategy, you can take advantage of these opportunities and earn more to support your school’s projects and programs.

Each of these tools offers unique advantages that can help amplify your reach, engage your community, and maximize funding for your school. With the right combination of these technologies, you will be well-equipped to meet your fundraising objectives.

How to Select the Right School Fundraising Tools

There are numerous fundraising software providers available that cater specifically to schools. These platforms offer a variety of tools designed to streamline fundraising processes, manage campaigns, and engage donors effectively.

To choose the right solution for your school, follow these basic steps:

  • Define your needs. Consider what types of fundraising campaigns you plan to run, the level of donor engagement you require, and any specific features like event management or analytics that will help achieve your goals. For instance, if you’re planning an auction, recommends looking for a platform with flexible bidding features, credit card processing, customer support, and sponsorship packages.
  • Explore reviews online. Exploring reviews will help you gauge the effectiveness and user satisfaction of different fundraising software. Look for feedback from other schools similar in size and needs to yours. This can provide valuable insights into how the software performs in real-world scenarios and help you narrow down your choices.
  • Ask peers for recommendations. Reach out to other schools or educational professionals to learn more about the fundraising software they’re using. They can share the practical benefits and challenges of their platforms, providing a clearer picture of which options might best fit your school’s specific needs.

Once you have compiled a list of potential software options, request demos from each provider. This allows you to see firsthand how each solution works and whether it would benefit your specific fundraising efforts.

3 Tips for Making the Most of Your School Fundraising Tools

Once your school has adopted its chosen fundraising solutions, it’s time to prepare for the busy fundraising calendar ahead. To get the most out of your newly implemented technology, follow these key tips:

1. Train your staff and volunteers.

Some essential types of training that your school should provide to staff and volunteers include:

  • Step-by-step guides and FAQs
  • Video tutorials
  • Hands-on training sessions
  • A designated “expert” to contact for support

By empowering your team with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate your fundraising software, you can boost their confidence, minimize errors, save time, and improve your overall fundraising results.

2. Monitor your fundraising performance.

Measuring fundraising performance is crucial for refining and improving your strategies. By tracking key metrics like total funds raised, you can identify effective tactics and allocate resources wisely, enhancing the success of your campaigns.

Let’s say you’ve just hosted a school auction using your new auction software. To evaluate your success, you might look at metrics such as:

  • Total amount raised. This number reflects the overall financial success of your auction, indicating how much funding you’ve secured toward your school’s goals. Comparing this figure to past events or pre-set targets can help determine if your strategies were effective or need adjustment for future fundraisers.
  • Attendance. This measures how many people participated in your auction, providing insights into your level of community engagement and interest. Analyzing attendance trends over time can also help you plan better for future events in terms of venue size and marketing strategies.
  • Number of items sold. This metric will help you understand the popularity and effectiveness of the items offered at your auction, allowing you to better select items for future auctions.

Analyzing these metrics helps you determine the effectiveness of your fundraising strategies and pinpoint improvements. For example, if you received a high number of small donations during your most recent fundraiser, you might decide to suggest higher-tier donation options to increase gift size in future campaigns.

3. Collect and act on user feedback.

Your school’s fundraising team is the driving force behind your fundraising efforts throughout the year. From planning and executing various campaigns to managing relationships with donors, this dedicated team works tirelessly to meet your school’s fundraising goals.

That’s why it’s important to ensure that team members are comfortable and happy with the tools at their disposal. According to eCardWidget, surveying your volunteers is one highly effective way to improve their experience and retain their long-term support.

Check in with your fundraising team regularly to note any problems they’ve encountered with the fundraising software, identify opportunities for further training, and make other adjustments as needed. Gathering feedback directly from those who use the tools daily provides invaluable insights that you can act on to streamline your team’s fundraising efforts and boost your overall results.

In today’s technologically centered world, your school can find tools to streamline essentially every aspect of your fundraising journey—from planning unforgettable events to thanking your donors in meaningful ways. Investing in fundraising technology doesn’t have to strain your school’s budget. By conducting thorough research, you can discover a variety of solutions tailored to your specific needs and budget. 

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