Tour fundraising for first time group leaders or group leaders who haven’t fundraised in the past can often seem overwhelming. To their surprise though, many of the obstacles they anticipated were easily avoided with proper planning. Below are ten tips to review and consider before you finalize your fundraising strategy.
1. Start planning early
Stress to your travelers the importance of fundraising and planning ahead. The further out you start planning, the more time you have to fundraise and prepare. If they start raising money now, it won’t be too difficult to meet deadlines.
2. Realistically assess your time
Assess how much time you have to fundraise for your tour and how much time can you commit to fundraising. Trip planning will also take up time outside of school. If you have someone else working with you, put one person in charge of fundraising and the other person in charge of trip details and logistics.
3. Research fundraising ideas before your first parent meeting
Ask around to find out what has worked in your community before. Encourage students to also research fundraising ideas. Before your first parent meeting try and have three to four fundraising ideas. Also, if you are running your travel program through your school, make sure that whichever vendors you choose are approved.
4. Set tour fundraising goals for the students
After you have finalized your fundraising strategy set realistic goals of how much money each student should be able to earn. Have an honest conversation with students about fundraising before the first parent meeting. This will help trigger additional fundraising ideas, but it will also set the tone and help you gauge their commitment.
5. Plan fundraising goals starting backwards
Start with the end in mind. Figure out how much money you need. Then, figure out how many days you have until the money is due. Divide the total travel costs by the number of days, weeks, or months before the group’s departure. This will help break down costs, but most importantly this will help students stay on target with their fundraising goals.
6. Decide how you will distribute fundraising money
I recommend using fundraising credits. For example, if your students have a spaghetti dinner they would be given credits for how long they work the dinner. If they help set up they get one credit. If they work the event they get another credit, and assisting with the cleanup would earn them a third credit. You then divide the total proceeds by the number of credits and multiply it by how many each student earned.
7. Decide how you will keep track of the money
Set up a separate bank account if you cannot use your school treasurer. Make sure at least one other staff member or adult who is not a parent of a student traveler knows how the money is being tracked. If you are going through the school treasurer make sure that you establish clear communication on how you want the money tracked from the beginning.
8. Be clear about refunds
Before you begin any fundraisers, be very clear that there are no refunds! Any money that a student raises for the tour cannot be refunded if the student drops out. In many cases it is illegal to raise funds for a school trip and then give the student cash.
9. Decide how and when you’ll pay for your tour
Can you do this monthly or is it easier to pay every other month? Figure out what works best for the majority of the group and be sure to communicate this to the parents and students.
Making sure everyone is up-to-date on fundraising details and goals can be challenging, but it’s also very important and necessary. I recommend creating a Facebook page so everyone is consistently aware of all group communication. A Facebook group will make it easy for others to contribute to discussions and also stay up-to-date with any changes.