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5 steps to safe and successful fundraising during Covid

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Students are going back to school and seemingly everything has changed. New norms are being established regarding social distancing, wearing masks, hours of operation, personal hygiene, and sanitation. A new code of conduct has been communicated for things like how students move throughout the school, where they’ll be picking up and eating lunch, who’s allowed in and out, and how the buses are supposed to work — so the question is — what about fundraising?

The question of fundraising comes into focus as extra curricular activities spin up once more. Sports seasons are starting again, clubs and teams are returning, and while students may initially come for the education, they often stay engaged because of their favorite programs. But budgets aren’t larger, their smaller. These programs aren’t any less valuable — they’re more important than ever, and their costs aren’t going down. So how will they be funded this year?

Just as new guidelines have been established for how we manage school lunch, new standards need to be applied and communicated for fundraising. The following 5 steps will highlight how these programs can ensure safety without sacrificing their ability to successfully raise what they need.

1 — Go paperless (starting with fundraiser approval)

We know we have to limit close contact for school staff and employees as much as possible this year. That’s especially true for those staff members who keep our schools up and running — our school administrators, main office employees, and financial secretaries. So why are we asking them to handle so much paperwork (AKA ‘fomite’ contact). Of course fundraisers must abide by certain guidelines and therefore must get approval, but it’s time to take that digital. Online fundraiser approval is not only logical, it’s necessary, and it’s easier. By taking the process online you can respond/react quicker, have more visibility, and maintain a record of the entire paper trail (pun intended).

2 — Cashless? How about touchless? (Even cards don’t need to change hands)

So many businesses are only accepting cards these days, so why are we asking our schools to do any different. Today accepting cash and checks is an unnecessary risk to our secretaries, coaches, teachers, parents, and students. Shifting to credit cards might be an improvement, but fully digital, online (touchless) payments is preferred. When parents, donors, and even students can pay online, we eliminate unnecessary close contact and money handling.

3 — Sell products online not door to door (Take pre-orders for just in time inventory)

Even though selling products might not be a preference this year, it can be very effective. So if you’re going to do it, door to door isn’t the way. Sell products online — and do it in advance. Take pre-orders, and set a deadline for when selling stops. You can always open your store again if you choose, but driving demand during a designated window saves so much time and hassle. Plus by selling products in advance, you can order the exact amount you need and you’re never left holding unsold inventory. Set a date for picking up purchases, or deliver batches of items to classrooms before or after school. These methods limit unnecessary close contact and keep employees and students safe. It’s easy to carry out, and far better than setting up a table with a cash box somewhere in the school while you hold on to boxes of unsold T-shirts.

4 — Congregate online first, then come together

Many of the successful fundraisers of the past have included fun runs, dances, or other in-person events. These are great ways to capture attention, but they’ll be questionable ways to host a fundraiser this year, and there’s really no need for them. Today’s crowdfunding tools allow for goals, end dates, online reminders, and more. If you’ve been holding a fun run in the past, convert it to a No-Fuss fundraiser. If you’re set on holding your event, consider collecting payment in advance and checking names, email addresses, or digital receipts at the door rather than processing payments. This way you can maintain the appropriate distance and still come together. Consider soliciting donations during events as well— everyone can donate a dollar or two from their phone. People love the option of Venmo — it’s like monopoly money.

5 — Establish the rules, and be clear about them

You’ll need a few new rules for fundraising this year, so make them simple, clear, and easy to follow. Equally as important, be sure you have the visibility you need to help course correct when rules aren’t followed. Here are some common rules we’ve already seen this year:

  • All fundraising approvals must be done online — no more paper forms
  • Accept payments online rather than accepting cash
  • No door to door or in-person selling
  • Require masks at all fundraising activities
  • Events must be approved and limited to only XX number of people
  • Provide an online alternative to all in-person fundraising for participants who may be high risk, but would still like to contribute
  • Do not let the current limitations keep you from using technology and creativity to raise the funds you need to run your program this year

Do all of it with SuccessFund (plus it’s free)

We’ve been hard at work making all of this possible for educators, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to offer the SuccessFund platform to school districts entirely free. That’s right, SuccessFund provides a simple fundraising approval process in the cloud completely free for school districts. We’ve heard the feedback loud and clear that this year more than ever the need for cloud-based solutions has become critical. We are committed to being part of the solution, and we’re making our team available to support around the clock as this year gets rolling.

SuccessFund makes accepting payments a touchless experience and even unlocks payment methods like Venmo, Applepay, and others without sending money into individual teacher’s bank accounts. All funds go to their proper place in a process that’s immediate and fully transparent.

Use SuccessFund to make product selling an option for educators so they no longer have to handle cash. Set inventory limits, offer product variations and customization, and even pre-sell products in advance so you have the budget needed to order on demand inventory.

Schools need flexibility this year more than ever. Find success and peace of mind by letting SuccessFund manage this year’s complications with fundraising — you and your people will be glad you did.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash