One of the challenges that most, in not all, performing ensembles face is the percentage of participation within the student/member group.
Whether the boosters set up a fundraiser for the sale of raffle tickets, candy, or a similar item, or it’s a participation-based event like a dinner, car wash, or the like – the challenge of getting kids to step up and show up, or getting kids and their families to support a band fundraising drive is tough for some organizations. More so for some than others…
Several factors are at play:
(1) Consider the fundraising culture of your Org.
Who is the “director of fundraising”? Odds are, it’s your band boosters, with varying degrees of help from the band director. Band directors are already overloaded with responsibilities having to do with the day-to-day running of the performing program. In fact, many band directors defer when given the chance to dish-off the band fundraising duties to a booster-in-charge.
There can be challenges with this. The students are predisposed to follow the directions of the director and instructional staff to the letter. Throwing a parent, even a well-qualified parent, in front of a large group and expecting the same levels of attention and compliance does not normally yield the same results.
Wise and savvy directors will “pick their spots”, but should be outwardly supporting the fundraising responsibilities along with everything else. I recently shared this sediment with a director while they were building and planning a campaign with us at FansRaise, to which he replied, “Between me nagging them, and my booster ways-and-means chair in their face, we expect 100% participation.” Easier said than done, but approaching the fundraising effort with that same vigor will yield great results.
(2) Do it for them, or do it with them?
This is not a criticism on any philosophical way to run a program. Some Orgs purposely decide to ask very little of students outside of rehearsal, as they want the kids focused on getting better and schoolwork ONLY. I can understand why this may work in some circles and some communities. Speaking from my own personal experience, along with the experiences from those that work on the FansRaise team (decades of combined exposure to the performing activity), this can be seen as a missed opportunity to teach students and members a great deal about ownership and responsibility.
Some fundraisers are just better-built for parents to jump in and run with it – Beef-n-beers, raffles, and casino nights are obvious examples of this.
Consider selecting fundraisers that your program can use as a vehicle to teach those important developmental real-life skills. We’ve discussed the ways that FansRaise can be leveraged to get the kids involved in a band fundraising activity that’s built with them in mind.
(3) What’s in it for them?
Many programs fund that including a percentage split for profit (X% to the Org, Y% to the student’s individual fundraising account) is key to getting higher participation. Depending on the type of fundraiser, this can become tricky, if not impossible to manage.
Be sure to outline who earns what, and what percentages are awarded based on participation.
By the way, FansRaise makes it easy to carve out a percentage for your students versus your Org, which makes the back-end management much easier from an accounting standpoint.