Fundraising with Performing Arts Groups

I have been in the fundraising industry in one way or another for 44 years. I was a music educator for 18 years and fundraised as a necessity to support my band programs. I had the great opportunity to work with a variety of amazing companies and sales representatives to help my students achieve their goals. I have seen what works and what doesn’t. When I became a professional fundraising consultant, I learned so much from the sponsors and how they connected, motivated, and communicated with their students.

Here are a few things I have learned over the years:

Have a specific purpose for the funds raised – 

Students will respond better if there is a clear and relevant goal for them. Instead of “We need money”, focus on something everyone can get excited about! For example:

  • “We’re raising money to go to Disney World!”
  • “We’re raising money for new instruments!

Have a firm goal for the money raised – 

“Our goal for this fundraiser is $10,000!” The goal should be attainable and challenging for everyone. Where allowed, setup personal “Fair Share” accounts and goals for each student.

  • “In order to participate in marching band, everyone needs to have $200 in their fair share account.”
  • “Our trip will cost $700; each student must have that money in their fair share account by November 20th.

Have a reward in mind if the goal is reached. These can be fun fundraising activities. –

  • “If we reach our goal, Mr. Smith will eat a chocolate covered cricket!”
  • “If we reach our goal, we’re going to turn Mr. Smith into an ice cream sundae!”
  • “If we reach our goal, we will have a pizza and ice cream party for everyone that participates!”

Have a positive attitude towards the fundraising project! – 

Your students love you! What is important to you is important to them! Excite them and motivate them! Do a “temperature” check every day. Recognize top achievers and reward them!

Choose products that will give value to your supporters - The secret to gaining supporters and increasing sales is to offer products your customers will enjoy. It is best to give your supporters a variety of products to choose from. There are companies out there that offer an excellent product, but in a single product line. If you’re selling cookie dough for example, add another product brochure to increase your sales! Choose a company and product line that will interest a wide supporter base.

- John Fulton

Cherrydale Representative