For many institutions, the holidays are when they receive a large portion of annual donations. With opportunities like Giving Tuesday (November 30) and other specified days of giving, now is the time to start mobilizing donors. Here are some tips to get started.

Tip 1: An articulated goal

Create one clear, attainable goal that will have an immediate impact on your school, and try to find a donor to provide a matching fund challenge through the end of the year. Even a small donation can help inspire others by helping their gift go further.

We have a $300 match to help us raise funds for new tablets for 5th and 6th grade students. These tablets will help students to complete their assignments quicker, allowing more time for additional instruction. 

Tip 2: Emails from real people

Create three emails: one from a student in the class, one from an alum or influencer, and one from the teacher or principal who will be most affected.

“I’m Salli, an eighth grader at Howard Academy. I love playing basketball, but our school gym isn’t in great shape. I’d love an opportunity to play with more kids and have a nice place for my parents and grandparents to come watch me play.”

Tip 3: Utilize social media

Have a solid social media plan. Simply use your phone to take photos or video of your students or their families.*

Ask whoever will be impacted by the goal to say a personal message to donors. This is a great way to capture material for 3-4 posts. Also, it makes life less hectic when you do it all at once.

Here are the types of posts you’ll need:

1. “Why giving matters.”

  • Share a video or photo and quote from a student explaining why they need a new tablet or update school gym.

2. “This is what your gift will do.”

  • Ask some students to talk about how your donation would make their life better and record it on your phone.
  • Make sure your total video clip is no longer than 30 seconds. Generally, the shorter the video, the more effective and more likely to get shared on social media.

3. “Thank you for giving!”

  • Take a video of multiple students saying, “Thank you!” one after another.
  • Then, write in the caption how much has been raised and how much is still needed, and provide a link for where people can still give.

4. “You did it — here’s how much was raised!”

  • Record a video of all of the students from the school cheering while holding up a giant paper sign that says, “THANK YOU!” Write in the caption how much was raised and if you met your goal.
  • Make sure to do this video as soon as possible the first week back to school. Your donors, students, and their families are holding their breath with you and are excited to know the results of the fundraiser. Your social media post is the big reveal.

Tip 4: Be ready to say thanks

If you don’t have an automated emailing system in place, make sure to have a thank you email template ready, so you can email contributors right away. It encourages repeat giving in the future.

Tip 5: Make your job easier

Whether you fundraise once or do multiple appeals throughout the year, you can use FACTS Giving to increase donations, track goal progress, and easily rally your supporters. (Donors can even text to give.)

*Note: Remember you’ll need parents to sign a release form for photo usage and social posting if it’s not already part of your admissions process.

Best of luck in your end-of-year fundraising!