A successful fundraiser doesn’t finish when the last cake is sold or the piles of cash are banked into the P&C account. There is one final step that will not only complete this fundraiser – but help make the following one successful as well: handover.
Keeping clear and concise notes about the processes involved in a fundraiser can not only make it easy to replicate the event next time, but it can also help avoid mistakes and improve profitability for future fundraisers.
It may seem like a lot of work, but once created, it will become a valuable resource for your school or club.
Create a file (digital, hard copy or both) which is kept in an accessible area in the school/club. Remember to make sure that people know a) it exists and b) where to find it. The file should not be a static policy that everyone has to adhere to, but a guide and source of information. Encourage people to update and add to the file, as it is useful to see how the event has evolved over the years.
Before you start
Has this particular fundraiser been done at the school/club before?
Find out who organised the event last time and if they have any records or notes they may have kept. You may find that they have spreadsheets, posters, check-lists, suppliers contact details, shopping lists, process logs and meeting minutes which can be re-used to save time.
Ask them what they would do differently, and what they found to be the most successful elements of the fundraiser.
During the planning phase
Keep meticulous notes as you organise the event – it will save time afterwards to organise them into a comprehensive document you can hand over to the P&C/club committee.
The information you should keep and collect includes:
- The name of the event, the date it was held, and the organising committee.
- Where the event was held (address, contact details, hire costs) and if there are any particular rules or requirements for off-site premises.
- If outside suppliers were involved record the business name(s), address and contact details, website, the name of the person you dealt with, what you ordered (and how much), the prices you paid and any other relevant information.
- Keep any brochures or information about alternative suppliers, together with notes about why you did not use them or if you would consider using them in future.
- For large events do you need council approval or permits, insurance, liquor license, security staff etc? Provide detailed documents on how to get the necessary approvals including costs, lead times and where to get them.
- A financial log detailing the total cost of putting the event on including hire fees, permits, purchasing supplies, printing costs and other consumables.
- The cost charged to attend the event.
- If a float is required, how much would be recommended.
- Copies (hard and digital) of all documents including any flyer, poster, ticket or brochure used. Highlight if an important piece of information was missing or misleading.
- If the event is to be held on school/club grounds – do local residents need to be invited/warned about noise or parking?
- All correspondence to and from the council, suppliers or local residents.
- School staff who may have been involved – such as groundstaff, cleaners and admin staff – and what their role was.
- The number of volunteers required and their specific jobs/duties.
- A database of volunteers, supporters and donors (names and contact details). This list should be kept up to date and used to provide acknowledgements after the event, including Certificates of Appreciation to donors and supporters. It can be used as a starting base when seeking support for the next event, but keep in mind that businesses can be overwhelmed with a constant barrage of requests from local schools and charities.
- Would the local paper be interested in a story either promoting the event beforehand or as a community feature afterwards? Include details of supportive local reporters.
During the event
Allocate one or two people to take photos of the event, including logistical areas (location of stalls, signage etc) as well as promotional images (make sure you have permission to take photos of individuals).
If there is a problem during the event (massive lines for the toilets, a tent collapses, parking congestion) it is easier to take a photo than pull out a notepad.
After the event
Ask your organising committee to spend five or ten minutes to consider the following questions, then compile the answers into a single document to add to the handover file.
- When did you start planning? Was there enough time prior to the event? Approximate time commitment.
- Estimated attendance/money raised.
- Did you run out of stock/tickets/supplies? How much more could you have sold?
- What didn’t sell?
- Do you think the prices were adequate? Recommendations for next time.
- Was there any aspect of the fundraiser that did not perform to expectations? Why?
- What would you do differently next time?
- Did you get any comments from visitors/families which might affect how the event should be run in future?
If there are leftover goods or supplies it is also important to ensure they are stored properly (leftover sausages from a BBQ will freeze well for a few months if stored correctly) and that someone (else) knows where they are.