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  • Melanie Notaras

11 EFFECTIVE IDEAS to generate GREAT PUBLICITY for your next school fundraiser

You’re ready for your big school fundraising event. You have the volunteers organised and you’ve outlaid the cash. Whether it’s a book sale, trivia night, BBQ or massive school fete, you want customers lining up to buy. Plan your publicity from the very start, and you’re on the road to success.

1. Devote one volunteer to co-ordinate publicity. You’ll need one person in charge to make sure things get done - that’s probably you, since you’re reading this post - and a few other people to help.

2. Tell the playground. Word of mouth is simple and effective, especially for small in-school fundraisers. Put a big smile on and walk up to parents in the playground – ESPECIALLY those you don’t know – and say, “Hello, I wanted to let you know that we’re running a [school fundraiser] on [date] and I hope you can come along [to buy cakes / you can buy tickets at the office/ raffle tickets are being sent home in the kids’ school bags]”. Ask them to spread the word to their friends. If they say they can’t participate in the event, be brave and ask why. There’s not much you can do about a conflicting appointment but if the reason is they’re too shy, they don’t know if their baby can also attend, or how much they’re likely to spend – these are the sort of problems you can address by explaining the event in person. They might change their mind and come, or still decide not to; but if you’d never talked to them, they’d be a lost customer for sure.

3. Talk it up at the start of the school day. Everyone gathered together in Lines/Assembly? Even better! Make at least 3 announcements in the 3 weeks before the event (twice a week would be better, so you can catch different sets of parents). If you can’t be there, ask another parent or appropriate teacher to do it for you.

4. Posters around the school. Make them bright and they’re a great visual prompt, especially for kids.

5. School website. Place it on your homepage if you can, or top of your events page.

6. Note in the school bag. Paper is visible. Most parents will end up seeing it. At least 2 or 3 weeks before the event.

7. Local newspaper. We’re talking the very local newspaper that’s often freely distributed around the neighborhood – they love school stories. Find the name of a journalist who does the school or community stories and send them an email about your event, and a couple of 300dpi jpg photos if you have them. You’ll need to send it 2 or 3 weeks before your event date (check with your newspaper). Make sure you angle your event story to show how it is interesting to, or able to benefit, the wider community – if you want to see it in print! If they also have an “Events Calendar” section within the newspaper, ask if they can put your event there too.

8. Advertise in other schools. Big events like car boot sales, carnivals or fetes need more customers than just your school community. Ask your Principal/Head Teacher if they can talk to their counterparts in other local schools within their school system (ie other Public schools, or other Catholic schools) and have an ad popped into their school’s newsletter. Offer to reciprocate when the other school hosts a big event.

9. Letterbox Drop. Don’t forget your neighborhood. A small flyer (one third of an A4 sheet) dropped into letterboxes within walking distance of your school’s neighborhood lets everyone know about your big community event. Families with small kids love to know about local entertainment.

10. Got a school SRC? Ask if they can walk around (in pairs) to each class to promote the event/sales within school.

11. Got a local/community radio station? Ask to be put on their calendar of events (on air as well as on their website) and invite them to come to the event too – they may even broadcast from there!

If nobody knows, nobody goes – so get out there and get started!

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