It’s three weeks before your event and you log on your registration website to see how many participants have signed up. You scroll down and see that you only have 28 people signed up online and another 12 paper registrations collected. With only 40 participants signed up, you are a far cry away from the 100 participant minimum for your event. You start to panic and wonder how this could be – with only 3 weeks until your event and 1 week until you need to order your supplies. You close out your browser window and look at your spreadsheet with your sponsorship and donation information and you total up a whopping $129. You are about to go into full-on meltdown mode and call your event co-sponsor to vent.
Unfortunately, this happens in the world of fundraising. You are probably thinking to yourself, “that would never happen to my event!” Hopefully not. We’ve helped over 1,000+ schools and organizations host successful fundraising events and compiled a list of the top 5 reasons why fundraisers fail and ways to overcome these hurdles.
Top 5 Reasons Why Fundraising Events Fail and How to Avoid these Mistakes:
1. Lack of planning – In the scenario above, the event coordinator signed up with our recommended 12 weeks, however, as soon as they paid their deposit they completely dropped the ball. They took more than 2 weeks to turn in the Questionnaire used by our MSCR customer service team to create their promotion materials and forms, leaving them with less than 10 weeks to plan and promote their event. By the time they put up their custom fliers and got the word out on social media, they were down to only 8 weeks until their event date and only 6 weeks until their supply order was due. With just 6 weeks until their event, they hosted a school assembly to get students excited about their event. This left only 4 weeks until they needed to place their supply order. The lack of participation at this event was directly related to a lack of planning by the fundraising hosts.
If you want to host a successful fundraising event you cannot expect it to happen last minute. Successful fundraising events are built by rock star teams working together and communicating well. They meet together as a team regularly and communicate consistently with their MSCR Customer Service representative.
2. Lack of promoting – If My School Color Run had a rally cry, it would be “PROMOTE! PROMOTE! PROMOTE!” (and then promote some more.) With the amount of resources (free resources!) available today, promoting an event should be a non-issue. Our MSCR Customer Service team has a host of creative promotion ideas to jumpstart your event and help increase your number of participants. Do you want to make sure the students at your school remember to sign up for your event? Have a teacher or the Principal stand near the car line in a funny costume with a sign advertising your event. We guarantee it will get the kids talking about your fundraising event! Make it fun, make it memorable, and promote across multiple channels – social media, paper fliers sent home, press release, a school wide automated phone call – you name it, promote there.
3. Not enough help – Before you begin planning your event you will need to form a team to collaborate with through the planning process and to contact potential volunteers. Brainstorm with your planning team about who you want to be on your volunteer team: a mom/dad that is an avid runner, a teacher who is a great event planner, the coach of a local sports team could make great volunteers for a MSCR event. If parent volunteers are not plentiful, local running clubs, local athletic shoe stores, and other fitness oriented businesses can be a valuable resource. Be creative with inviting people with a passion to help and serve in your community! A fun way to do this is to send a personal invitation to help with your event and tell them why you think they would be the best person for the job you are asking them to do. You want Ms. Smith, the drama teacher to MC your event, tell her why! You want the art teacher to host a face painting tent at your event – tell him why! You’ll be surprised by how people will want to help when they know that you value their skills and time.
4. Scheduling conflicts – Scheduling conflicts can turn a successful fundraiser into a rescheduled event overnight. The best way to avoid scheduling conflicts is to finalize your event date and location with the person or persons responsible for your school or organization’s calendar before you begin planning anything else. This means you may need to do some research to find out who you need to contact – the city if you are using city streets, the principal, the school district offices, the venue manager, the parks and rec department. Whoever it is, contact now, before you find out that prom, a football game, a parade, or some other event has been double booked for your event date or location. The hassle of rescheduling an event can be avoided 9 times out of 10 simply by finalizing your event date and location, permissions, and necessary permits with the appropriate departments.
5. Personal Issues – The best way to avoid personal problems affecting your event is to take a team approach to planning and hosting your fundraising event. Put aside any control issues you have about things not going exactly as you have envisioned and invite multiple key players to your planning team. Together, brainstorm processes to put in place to make sure that the success of your event does not rest solely on the shoulders of one person. Create a game plan to determine how your event will continue if someone on your planning team is unexpectedly not able to be there the day of the event, or even in the couple of weeks leading up to your event. Great communication with your planning team is imperative to overcoming this obstacle.
Take it from us, we’ve seen great fundraising and we know it isn’t easy to “Go it Alone.” Avoid these common mistakes and more by partnering with a trusted and proven name in the fundraising consulting field. We’ve helped over 1,000 schools and organizations, totaling more than $1.5 million in funds raised and we are here to help you too.