— January 3, 2019
Kids are awesome. My 8yo son plays soccer on a local club team here in the US. With my background and experience in digital marketing, my mind races any time we start exploring ideas for fundraising for his team or any of my daughter’s (she’s 6½) musical endeavors. This article will introduce ideas on how and why to use fundraising for kids as a lead generation mechanism.
If you’re looking for ideas to make your fundraising events more successful, there are a few good ones explored in the words below.
I’ll cover some of the benefits I see in deploying lead generation tactics and also some easy fundraising ideas we’ve used recently to help fund sending my son’s soccer team from the US to Ireland for a 12-day tour.
The best part? You can use a lot of these same lead generation principles for your business.
In fact, I’ve used a bunch of the ideas I’ve had fundraising for kids to help clients large and small uncover new lead generation opportunities in their business’.
Why fundraising for kids is (usually) a broken process
Most team fundraising events I’ve participated in have a broken process. It goes something like…
- The team decides they need to raise money
- Coaches and parents organize a deal with a local business or franchise to sell something whereby the team collects a percentage of sales
- Parents and kids hit up everyone they know at school, work, and on social media
- Sales are made
- Money is transferred to the team
Seems right. There are a few fundamentals missing, though.
Here are a few things I see missing from this fundraising strategy:
No one is keeping records
When brands ask me to put together a marketing strategy, one of the first things I check for is a solid CRM. If the brand wants to make sales, generate leads, or even just gain brand awareness, they need somewhere safe to house their audience.
Fundraising should be no different.
Keeping a record of fundraising participants allows you to see who to engage with in the future. If you segment your audiences just like you would in a marketing campaign, you’d be able to see which groups of people are most likely to participate in each fundraising style.
How do we re-engage with high impact participants?
If you have a record of your fundraising participants, wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew how those people preferred to be communicated with? Maybe all that awkward time in front of the grocery store isn’t necessary? A good CRM solution would tell you this immediately.
If your fundraising events were based on historic customer trends you could plan better, cater to their needs better, and reduce friction in the process for everyone.
Analyzing what’s worked in the past to inform future fundraising decisions
Every fundraising event we’ve been part of has seemed like we’re starting fresh… over, and over… and over again. It makes no sense.
In marketing, we spend so much time analyzing what works and what doesn’t. All so we’re smarter the next time around. Fundraising should do a better job of analyzing what’s worked in the past to inform future decisions.
How lead generation tactics can make fundraising for kids more successful
Ok, so now we know there are some fundamentals missing from our fundraising process. Let’s look at some opportunities common lead generation tactics can present to fundraising for kids.
Attract people to your fundraising events instead of selling to them
Let’s think of fundraising like an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing is all about providing value for people. Developing resources for them to find and use when it’s actually useful to them.
I’d also like to introduce the idea of fundraising through strangers. Not just family members, friends, and coworkers.
How can we flip the grocery storefront cookie sales to be more valuable? The answer will be different for each team or community. Here are a few thought starters to get you moving, though.
Think of Groupon. People use Groupon all the time. Most often because they’re looking for something to do or a discount on what they’re already planning to do. What if your kid’s fundraising program could provide the same type of utility? It can.
Try turning your fundraising activities from short-term pushes of effort into longer term, consistent effort. If your fundraiser was listed in a place where people could depend on it, they’d likely come back every time they needed the product, service, or discount. Hosting a free website for your team so you can post fundraisers there for people to engage with often would be a great start.
Make people feel more connected to your community
Once people have shown interest and “subscribed” to your fundraising cause, let’s give them a way to stay connected and feel like part of a community.
Re-engaging with your fundraising community when the time is right will be crucial to your success. When you start listing your fundraising events on your website, be sure to collect email address’ of people engaged so you have a consistent way to reach back to them in the future.
Even better, ask them how often they’d like to be contacted… just like you would in a lead generation campaign.
This might sound silly for Aunt Susan, but for acquaintances and strangers, knowing how often people want to be contacted will dramatically increase future conversions.
Deliver a better experience for your fundraising audience
One of the strategies we use often in the digital marketing world to create a more engaged audience is called conversion rate optimization. There are a ton of different tactics available to increase conversion rates. The best, in my opinion are focused on customer experience.
To paint the picture, think of the story of the best girl scout cookie salesperson. Instead of just standing in front of the grocery store, asking “Do you want to buy some girl scout cookies?” to any strangers entering or exiting. The little girl approached with a simple yes or no question she knew almost everyone would answer yes to. “Do you like cookies?”
The simple switch from asking strangers to buy something, to asking strangers a personal question made an amazing impact on her sales.
She didn’t stop there, though. She followed up with a series of questions that created an instant relationship between her and the would-be stranger.
When you can effectively accomplish this task online, we call it conversion rate optimization. We use a strategy called progressive profiling to accomplish this with online lead forms. It’s amazing to see it work in action and even more amazing to see the relationships become real with would-be online strangers.
If you’re going to use forms on your website to engage with fundraising participants, make sure you’re optimizing the experience for them. The long term benefits will be amazing.
Ask your community to participate and provide feedback
Once people have connected with you, why not ask them what kind of fundraising activities they’d be interested in in the future? Your community is the best place to go for good advice. Use it wisely.
Since you’ve now been collecting email address’ and communicating with your community, try asking the most engaged members of your community to participate in a poll for the next fundraising event. Including your audience in the creation of the event will increase participation like you wouldn’t believe.
Try using a service like Survey Monkey or even a social media poll to get feedback from your community. Use your email communications to link to the poll and segment responses into the top 3 best fundraising ideas. Once you have the top 3, consider asking your entire audience what they would be most interested in for the next event.
Including your community during the creation of your fundraising ideas will keep them engaged longer and produce better results.
Let me know in the comments what ideas you have for community involvement in fundraising events.
What other benefits do you see in using a digital marketing style approach to fundraising?
Fundraising ideas for kids
As promised, below are some fundraising ideas to help your group break the mold of the expected fundraising activities.
Host a Trivia Night Fundraiser Event
Trivia night is a great time. If you haven’t participated in one before, most local bar bar-restaurants will host them mid to late week to increase sales during off nights.
Hosting a Trivia night for your next fundraiser event is a great way to get people excited and can easily turn into a recurring event for your group. Some teams have reported raising over $ 10k during Trivia Night fundraisers.
There are a few helpful tips to make your trivia fundraiser more successful. Read more here on How to Organize a Trivia Quiz Fundraiser Night.
Viral Fundraiser Challenge
The most viral fundraising challenge to date has been the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge brought in over $ 115 million to the cause in just 8 weeks. While there’s no reason your viral fundraising challenge can’t be this successful, it’s probably best to keep your expectations reasonable.
The key to a successful viral challenge is using social media to gain a large audience. Start with a simple and safe challenge. Try to think of something funny and daring, but not too over the top. It’s also wise to think of a challenge which can be completed by local business’. Friends and family are great, too. Local business’ who participate are more accountable to the donation side of this fundraiser, though.
Once you have your challenge, have your team or group start the social media chain by performing the challenge on video and posting it to your social media accounts. When you post, make sure to tag the people you’re challenging so they get notified of the challenge.
In the video you record, be sure to cover the following:
- explain the challenge
- explain the reason you’re raising funds
- explain where to make and send donations (if you can send them to your website to fill in the form we talked about above, you’ll be winning)
- explain how to challenge the next group of people
This is a great fundraiser idea. Just be sure you have your instructions clear so people don’t end up participating without making the donation.
How the kids (and parents) benefit from a digital marketing approach to fundraising
Have fun planning out your fundraising events for the kids and remember to set yourself up for success by following a digital marketing approach.
Using a digital marketing approach to fundraising for kids has clear benefits. Keeping records of participants so you can re-engage with them in the future will be huge for long-term success. Analyzing what’s worked in the past to educate your team on what to do in the future will pay off. Developing a community around your group and fundraising events will be amazing.
If you’ve seen success with some of these fundraising ideas or have some you’d like to contribute, please shout them out in the comments below.