For most K-12 booster clubs, fundraising isn’t a piece of cake. Coordinating time and resources to stay atop the minds of your supporters shouldn’t take over your life (or the lives of your volunteers). Here are some tips to save time so you can skip the frustration and double up on the fun.
1. Repurpose content
With each new year and transition in booster club leaders, the records (Excel sheets) from previous fundraisers can get lost in the process. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to reuse a pre-populated template? By building upon past successes and the work that was already done, you will take the headache out of organizing the campaign and have more time to focus on member engagement. memberplanet allows you to repurpose templates for incoming officers to use. Learning a new position takes time; we’re here to make it easy.
2. Take advantage of social media
Promoting your event doesn’t have to be stressful, especially with the help of social media. Post your campaign URL in as many places as you can, including your website, email, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Through social media, you can get people talking about your event with just a few shares. The more people who share, the broader your reach gets. More awareness for your campaign and way less time spent making promotion calls or passing out flyers!
3. Save time with automation
To be successful, all booster club leaders should engage with their donors and volunteers. But there are only so many hours in a day, and as a leader, there is only so much time you can dedicate to booster club admin tasks. That’s what inspired us to build in automated features in our platform. For example, handwriting thank-you cards take forever! To save time, admins can add a thank-you message to the automated confirmation email that is sent once someone donates online. Set it and forget it!
Whether you’re a seasoned booster club fundraising pro or just getting started, you can’t go wrong with these three time-saving steps. memberplanet is here to help you focus on what’s important: engaging with your supporters and making a difference in your community.
Create a free account and see for yourself!
Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) is a group of radio operator enthusiasts and is an affiliate of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for amateur radio operators in the United States. In the world of ham radio, amateur refers to operators who must pass an exam to communicate non-commercially over the radio frequency spectrum. The contest-oriented club relied on manual processes to record and track membership, which was time consuming and resulted in inaccurate record-keeping. With members demanding transparency and online payment options and access to information, NCCC needed a system that members could use to view their own membership status and payments.
Since teaming with memberplanet, NCCC has maintained accurate records (in less time) and provided a dedicated, online membership portal for its members to view payment history and stay updated with club activities. As a result, NCCC has enjoyed a 57% increase in paid membership and 37% boost in dues collected in just one year.
Small Club, Big Challenges
For a club whose members are mostly over 50 and involved in a hobby that includes a fondness of Morse code, attracting younger demographics and recruiting new members in order to thrive may seem like a unique struggle. There are many small social clubs, however, that have fallen behind on meeting the demands of a new generation of members, including providing access to information online, offering convenient payment methods, and effectively communicating updates. Clubs that still heavily rely on paper filing systems and manual processes face the time-consuming challenge of keeping accurate financial records and managing members.
It became clear to NCCC that it needed to upgrade its manual processes and combat its dwindling membership – or face radio silence.
Manual Processes – Over
In 2016, NCCC began using memberplanet to keep its database organized and up to date. “We really didn't know how many members we had prior to memberplanet. It's sad, but true,” Ian Parker, NCCC’s Secretary, explained. The club’s manual reporting processes included interactions between the secretary and treasurer, a lot of paperwork, and time. Sometimes members who missed payments went undetected. “We now have a good grasp on the number of real members. With memberplanet our data is kept accurate – and timely.”
Club admins have enjoyed the platform’s turnkey features, such as automated membership reminders and convenient payment options. “We also have more up-to-date member information and auto renewals. These were the primary reasons for moving to memberplanet, which has been one hundred percent successful,” Parker said. The membership insights available in the support site and the time freed up from admin tasks are now directed to engaging members.
A Closer Look at NCCC’s Online Results
Admins have used the platform’s event sites and RSVPs to manage and track attendance. Parker believes that memberplanet’s payment reporting, event invite templates, and email campaign features have dramatically improved their efficiency. Members can log in to a dedicated portal, view club announcements, connect with other members using the interactive directory, and update their own profile. “We have received many positive comments,” Parker continued. “Overall, it has been a huge plus and now folks can also see when they last paid!”
When NCCC started using memberplanet in 2016, it had 100 paid memberships. That number rose to 157 by the end of 2017 – a 57% boost. The club also saw a 37% increase in membership dues. Parker noted how more members are engaging with the club, converting to paid membership status, and how the hassle-free process of joining the club is contributing to an increase in membership overall. As of January 2018, NCCC had 350 members total.
Broadcasting a Bright Future
Parker reveals NCCC has recently obtained 501(c)(3) status for nonprofits, and plans to fundraise and open an online NCCC store are in the works. Growing paid membership and engaging members remains a focus for the club, which was founded in 1970. Now that NCCC personnel find it much easier to manage and interpret data, communicate with members, and increase engagement, they expect that their club for radio aficionados will remain on the air for much, much longer.
Contact memberplanet today to learn how the platform can help your organization simplify membership.
Fundraising is the act of raising funds for a cause or a mission. And although that sounds straightforward and simple, the act itself can be, well, anything but. If you’ve run a fundraiser, you know what we’re talkin’ about.
But the key to success remains pretty simple: You must create a strategic plan and stick to it.
No matter what goal you’re working toward as a group leader, follow these fail-safe tips and with research, a dab of creativity, and (possibly) a bit more elbow grease, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish!
1. Set your goals
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, you need to take a hard look at the big picture – and that begins with figuring out your purpose. Defining a clear, measurable goal is the foundation of a successful plan. Here are a few things to think about when setting that bar:
It’s okay to be ambitious with your goals, but it’s also important to determine what’s realistic. Shoot too high and you could end up spreading resources too thin. Now it’s time to write the fine print of your plan.
2. Give your donors the option to donate online
Offline (check and cash) donations are still essential for any fundraising effort, but online is quickly gaining ground when it comes to raising money. It’s all about convenience. Every additional step it takes to give – like writing a check, finding an envelope, and rummaging through a desk for stamps – creates the potential for donors to get distracted: Where did I put my checkbook? Oh look – here’s my coffee mug! I’ll find my checkbook later. It’s time for another cup.
See my point? Check out how much funds Wittman Elementary School raised in its third year of offering an online payment option:
Total PTA Membership Fundraising for 2016-2017: $35,655
Offline Fundraising via Checks and Cash: $8,120
Online Fundraising via memberplanet: $27,535!
(Read the full Wittmann case study.) 77 percent of funds were raised online with memberplanet’s platform. And that’s just one example. The Chronicle of Philanthropy conducted a survey of 100 leading nonprofits and found that internet fundraising grew by about 13 percent year over year in 2014.
Bottom line: If you’re not using online giving features, you’re missing out on a big chunk of cash today, and even more tomorrow.
3. Delegate responsibilities
Shared responsibility is crucial to holding a successful fundraiser, because one person (you) cannot manage everything. Delegate most of the effort so that the event itself can go off without a hitch while you oversee the big picture.
If you are planning an event, designate an event committee to book vendors and locations, and make sure you’ve paid any fees or permits if it is being held in a public place. If possible, research backup vendors and another location in case your first location doesn’t work out. Plan a dry run (especially helpful if you expect a large amount of attendees).
4. Get the word out
In order to conduct a truly successful fundraiser, you will want to make sure that people actually know about it. Create a campaign schedule:
Note to memberplanet users: You can also encourage your members to create their own supporter pages for the cause, which makes their campaign efforts more personal and effective.
5. Execute the plan
With so much preparation, planning a fundraiser can seem overwhelming. But the pay-off is worth it. You’ve worked hard to design a great event, so try to sit back and enjoy the magic. Once the fundraising is underway, make sure that each of your delegated tasks is being tended to. Part of your plan should include periodic check-ins with those overseeing key tasks. The engagement, tracking, and logistical back-work does not end when the effort begins. If you see that your fundraiser is falling short of your goals, re-allocate resources or make adjustments to your goals.
6. Analyze the aftermath
Whether your fundraiser exceeded your wildest expectations – or it wasn’t quite what you expected – it’s important to meet with your team to determine what went well, what didn’t, and what you can do next time to improve. Detailed tracking is essential for the post-game debrief.
7. Say thank you
Thank your team, donors, partners, sponsors, and other benefactors. It’s super easy to use Smart Lists on memberplanet’s Pro and Premium plans to send a targeted email (templates included!) to all your donors to express gratitude. If you held an event, be sure to include a sharable photo album (show the impact!) to strengthen that connection with supporters.
Holding the ultimate fundraiser isn’t magic – it’s a combination of hard work, team effort, strategic planning, testing, and creativity. Whether you’re an organization with 20 volunteers or a 10,000-member medical society, following these rules will put you on the path to success.
Log in to get started on your next fundraising campaign.
Don’t abandon your traditional fundraising methods just yet, but keep in mind that your old techniques might need some updating. As the world shifts towards an increasingly digital landscape, taking your fundraising efforts online will prove to be a beneficial strategy to help you surpass your monetary goals. Here's why:
Not many parents and donors carry cash or a checkbook anymore. Accepting electronic payments makes raising money faster and easier than ever. By offering your supporters the choice of donating online or offline, you can reach a larger network. This way, you’ll raise more money!
Tasking someone with collecting cash and check payments puts your booster club at risk of accounting errors, bad checks, and fraud. On the plus side, credit card payments are SSL compliant, ensuring secure online payments and donations. By accepting electronic payments through a reputable payment processor, you also boost your own credibility.
One of the main benefits of launching an online fundraising campaign is its potential to go viral. This opens your campaign up to supporters you wouldn’t typically reach with traditional methods. This can help you reach your monetary goals faster and even surpass them. Share your donation page directly to your social sites to maximize exposure.
Crowdfunding has gained momentum over the past few years and is only becoming more popular. It offers convenient payment methods for donors, makes tracking donations easier for admins, and is easily shareable across social media. It’s an effective and efficient way of framing a fundraising campaign.
If your booster club is hesitant about taking your fundraising online because of processing fees, it is important to research various sites to see how they structure their costs.
For example, PayPal charges 2.9% for payment processing and $0.30 per donation.
memberplanet offers significantly lower site fees based on monthly subscription, and 3% plus $0.30 per transaction. What you pay in fees is easily offset by the increased donations received by offering online payment options. How much of an increase? Some studies say by 30 -100% or more (Visa International).
In addition to payments processing, memberplanet provides a robust toolset for communicating (a custom-branded mobile app, email and tracking, group texts), managing members (option to set member levels, auto membership renewals, recurring donations), and more, all on a single platform. It’s more bang for your buck.
Paying a small fee shouldn’t be a deterrent when deciding to bring your fundraising efforts online. Streamlined payment methods, larger reach, and customizable templates are just some of the features that will help you orchestrate a better campaign and grow donations.
Getting donations shouldn’t just be about asking for cash. That’s intimidating and off-putting.
The more effective, less painful way to collect donations is by asking for contributions indirectly. The goal of fundraising is to help others connect a passion or memory with a cause. It’s about making your goals theirs. Here’s how you can relate to your donors:
1. Use social media
Engage with your supporters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share your story rather than your fundraising goal. Social media is a crucial resource when it comes to raising awareness; use relevant stories as well as personal testimonials from your foundation to show people where the donations go such as to new laptops, computer labs, programs, or school improvements. Thank those who have donated in the past to entice them to donate again. Utilize your internal network to share these posts with your team to extend your reach even further. If you can raise awareness, you can raise donations without having to even ask.
2. Share your story
What’s your “why”? Most people can relate to personal stories and experiences. Use an emotional hook to pull people into sharing your passion for the cause and showcase your educational foundation’s purpose to connect with potential donors on a deeper level.
3. Make it personal
Make sure your donors connect with your educational foundation’s message. Giving is a personal act and you want your supporters to feel the need to make an impact. Rather than adding a blunt “donate” button on an email, ask recipients to visit your donation page to learn more. That way, they’ll be lead through the donation path all on their own.
4. Ask for feedback from donors and parents
When you make someone feel valued and heard, you open the door for them to speak more comfortably. Ask potential donors for their thoughts on where donated funds should be allocated. Seek out a passion or pain point that connects them with your educational foundation. You may even bring them to the conclusion to donate all on their own.
Asking for donations can seem a lot less overwhelming when you view contributing as inviting people to participate and support the school district. You’re selling significance and purpose. Lead them through constant communications to tell your story. Lead them with memberplanet!
We have all the tools your educational foundation needs to expand reach and manage your donations in one spot. See what our other educational foundations are saying about how memberplanet helps increase donations and improves donor engagement.
Whether you’re a pro at fundraising or a just getting started with the #GivingTuesday movement, you can get your organization all geared up to participate by following our four-step process. Click on the infographic below for a high-res view.
It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is quickly approaching, isn’t it? The first sighting of snow-covered décor or lit up trees means that giving season is upon us! There is one major event that kicks off the holiday giving – Giving Tuesday. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday 2017 takes place on November 28. Last year, more than 85 community coalitions across the U.S. and people in 98 countries/territories participated in the charitable event.
According to the Giving Tuesday organization, Giving Tuesday raised more than $177 million online in 2016. Last year’s results prove that donors are extremely generous with charitable donations during both Giving Tuesday and end-of-year giving in general. As awareness of the day continues to grow each year, so do its benefits for charitable organizations. Giving Tuesday has become a global event, but you don’t need to be a national or multi-tiered organization to participate. Here are three steps even a local nonprofit can take to prepare for the main event.
Step 1: Set your Giving Tuesday fundraising goals
An important part of preparing for Giving Tuesday is setting your fundraising goals. When setting your goals, you can consider the following:
Remember, the more prepared you are in determining your goals, the easier it will be for you to nail down your message when you’re ready to share your goals and grow community involvement!
Step 2: Fire up your fundraising campaign
You have a million ways these days to approach promoting your donation campaign. You can go the chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire approach, which is kind of a slow burn at first, and then switch to fireworks finale mode, an all-at-once effort, toward the end.
Whatever approach you decide on, take advantage of email and social media – two powerful marketing platforms.
Mobilizing volunteer efforts is another strategy that spreads awareness throughout your local community and celebrate giving. The holiday giving season can mean giving one’s time or donating goods – not just funds. By inviting donors, employees, and members of the local community to your event, you can attract attention to your cause.
Step 3: Make donating easy
In business, a best practice is to make it easy for customers to give you their money. The same applies to your donors. Always give them the options to donate when they want and how they want. By offering the option to donate electronically, your supporters can make secured donations conveniently from a website or mobile device, whenever they want, even if they’re thousands of miles away. You can still accept cash or check, but you’re not limiting your fundraising by only accepting those forms of donations.
Nonprofits that offer online giving also widen the donor net and grow overall fundraising revenue. By setting up a way to process funds electronically, you can also offer donors the option to pay by recurring or installment payments. Recurring payment options are a great fit for those who want to contribute weekly, monthly, or quarterly throughout the year. Installment payments give donors the convenience of breaking up a large sum of money (which they may not have considered giving all at once) into multiple payments of their choosing.
By using these key steps to prep for Giving Tuesday, your organization will not only be a part of a growing movement, it will also give you the chance to celebrate the success that your charitable efforts deliver to your local community.
Ready to get started? Log in, create a donation campaign, and choose from multiple templates, including Giving Tuesday and other seasonal occasions.
With the school year up and running, the stress of getting the kids back to school begins to dissipate. Books have been bought, lunches have been packed, and you may have even gotten used to the 6 a.m. alarm (hey, we said maybe!). Now that the summer is long gone, PTA efforts are in full swing. It’s time to focus on the fun stuff, like planning for a PTA fundraising event! We’ve put together the three best ways to organize your fall fundraiser. Learning your 1, 2, 3’s has never been so easy.
1. PTA member with a plan: plan ahead
Organization is your golden ticket to running an event smoothly, and you not pulling your hair out. Create a checklist with basic items (budget, timeline, materials, etc.). Your fellow PTA members will look to your leadership to steer the planning process and keep them in the loop of what their roles are. Using online surveys to gather feedback, consolidate detailed information that’s pertinent to your event, and ask for volunteer signups can help cut down time on the back-and-forth correspondence between you and your members.
2. Keep it inviting: send event invites
The sooner you get the word out about your event the more likely it is you’ll see a high turnout. We suggest sending invitations six to eight weeks before the event so attendees can mark their calendars. Our event module allows you to create an event page and send invitations. (You can even add your own PTA logos and images!) We recommend using our Smart List feature when sending events. Smart Lists let you generate email lists for a specific set of people based on the information they’ve submitted. For example, if you sent out an invite to get RSVPs, your next email can target those who replied “yes.” Once you’ve sent the invitations, you can use our event module to post updates and answer any questions guests have. Increasing your engagement efforts beforehand is a great way to build anticipation so everyone is as excited about the event as you are!
3. Sharing is caring
Social media is one of the best marketing tools around, and best of all, it's free! After you've created your event page, use the social sharing icons available to share your event directly from the platform. Ask your PTA members to share on their social pages as well. Each member has a vast and varied network that will increase awareness of the event, and likely boost attendance. The more people share, the more free publicity you get for your event, and your PTA efforts. Along with social media, make sure to ramp up your marketing efforts and spread the word via email flyers, posting information around your community, and publishing announcements on your school or group's website.
Remember to make a plan, send your invites, and spread the word. Most importantly, have fun. The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, and online payment options make it easy to plan for your entire year. So, what are you waiting for? Happy planning!
Effective PTA leaders have many duties. They have endless parenting obligations, and must commit to becoming a resource to other parents in the community. PTA leaders focus on fundraising because they firmly believe their altruism will help not just their children, but all the children of that school community. As a PTA leader, you might find it challenging to balance these responsibilities. Take the time to understand the online tools at your disposal, and you’ll reap many exciting and lucrative benefits.
Social media reaches more people
The number of social media users is growing exponentially. According to TrackMaven, by 2018, the population of social media users is projected to reach 2.44 billion, or 33 percent of the world population.
It makes perfect sense for PTA leaders to consider how using social media can boost fundraising by targeting specific audiences. For example, the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report claims that millennials prefer to give online and they are most often inspired to give by social media. Utilize and mobilize your social media presence to spread the word about fundraising events.
Mobile and online payments simplify the process
A philanthropy study conducted by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis projected the vast majority of giving would come from individuals and households, contributing 71% of total giving in 2017. And giving to support education at all levels is projected to rise 6.3 percent in 2017. No matter how much these number grow, it won’t benefit your PTA unless you have an easy and convenient way to collect payments and donations.
Offering online and/or mobile payment and donation options do more than just help you broaden your reach. They remove the need for donors to have cash and checks on hand. Accepting online payments leverages today’s tech with potential donors: where it’s only a few clicks from decision to completion of payment. That’s why online donation campaigns see more overall dollars collected. It’s not just easy, it’s a familiar process that donors feel innately comfortable with. According to a Cone Communications study, 48 percent of American adults are likely to use an app to make a donation. What are you waiting for? You can broaden your reach (and increase your donations) by using mobile and online payment methods.
Photos improve engagement
Email drives donations
Email is a powerful tool for driving PTA social media presence and donations. Just ask the people behind the M&R Benchmarks Study who found that for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, a nonprofit organization raises $44. When you make emails engaging and fun, you might even pick up some email subscribers.
Keeping your email contacts organized in an online platform makes it seamless to communicate with your whole audience and track their responses. You can test and target your messages to specific recipients, and optimize your fundraising efforts to meet your goals every time.
Beyond emails, organizing your contacts on the platform into customized distribution lists drives engagement in a specific way most suited to your needs. Set them up to send thank-you messages anytime someone donates, or send donation campaign details to any new contacts. Your options aren’t limitless, they’re better: They’re specifics built exactly for you and your group.
By making the most of online tools such as social media, electronic payment options, photo sharing, and email, you can be more successful in your fundraising efforts. These online tools offer PTA units an edge that will make managing fundraising events more effective, and better yet, more engaging.
Learn more about fundraising.
For most PTA members, the annual back-to-school fundraiser isn’t a walk on the beach. Whether you’re campaigning for back-to-school season, the next holiday around the corner, or the book drive, coordinating time and resources to stay atop the minds of your supporters shouldn’t take over your life (or the lives of your volunteers). Since you’ve teamed up with memberplanet, offering your donors electronic payment options is super easy to do on the platform. Here are some other tips to save time so you can pass on the frustration and double up on the fun.
1. Don’t start from scratch – use a template
With each new year and transition in PTA leaders, the history (excel sheets) from previous fundraisers can get lost in the shift. Also learning a new position takes time. We’re here to make it easy. Since PTA fundraisers are often annual, you can save time by managing your event online. We even offer Donation Site templates. These pre-populated templates will help you set up your donation campaign. Our campaign feature also has the ability to save donation campaigns for future use, so the next event will practically take care of itself. By building upon past successes and the work that was already done, you will take the headache out of organizing the campaign, and have more time to focus on member engagement.
2. Take advantage of the gift of gab: social media
Planning your fundraiser is only half the battle – you must promote it too! The good news is that promoting your event doesn’t have to be stressful. Use your campaign URL in as many places as you can, including your website, email, and social media. Through social media, you can get people talking about your event with just a few clicks. Picture word-of-mouth sharing – but amplified! Our Donation Sites were designed to be shared on your PTA social media channels. Ask your PTA members to share the event too. Everyone has a unique circle of friends, so the more people who share, the broader your reach gets. More awareness for your campaign and way less time spent making promotion calls or passing out flyers! We like to call that a win-win.
3. Cut out the stress: set and forget
Engaging with your members and donors is the bread and butter of being a successful PTA leader. But there are only so many hours in a day, and as a leader, there is only so much time you can dedicate to PTA admin tasks. That’s what inspired us to build in automated features in our platform. Writing thank-you cards (the kind that’s sent through snail mail) take forever! To save time, admins can add a thank-you message to the automated confirmation email that is sent once someone donates to your online fundraiser. We highly recommend adding a thank-you message to the confirmation email as well as encouraging donors to spread the word about the campaign. If you’re really feeling like you’re in an automating mood, you can also include the info donors need to file their taxes. PTAs are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, and contributions to them are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. You should include the full name of your PTA unit, the EIN number, and your PTA’s location.
Whether you’re a seasoned PTA fundraising pro or just getting started, you can’t go wrong with these three steps – they’re fail proof, and most importantly, they’ll save you time. (So you can engage with your members and make a difference in your community.)
Log in and see for yourself.