February 19, 2018
When You Hear the Beep ...
How Voice Broadcast & Other Communication Tools Can Boost Your Next Fundraiser
by the AFRDS
A middle school in Connecticut is finding it much easier to meet its fundraising goals simply by tapping a familiar technology. The school subscribes to a service which broadcasts recorded voice messages over the telephone. Throughout the year, the school taps this technology to alert parents about report cards, progress reports, inclement weather and upcoming fundraisers. On the day of the fall fundraiser assembly, Principal Joe Scheideler spends a few minutes on the phone, dialing a special number, entering a few simple codes and recording a message reminding parents that the magazine drive is underway and that they should check their son or daughter’s book bags for more information. Mr. Scheideler’s secretary then logs onto a Web site and chooses what time (usually 6:00 pm) to send the message to the telephone numbers listed in the school directory.
“Before we started sending voice messages, I would hear from parents all the time who said they wanted to help [by supporting the fundraiser], but never got the information,” Mr. Scheideler said. “Since we started using this technology, we’ve seen an increase in parent involvement.” That increased support helped fund class field trips to Washington, DC last year. Voice broadcast is just a small part of a growing number of communications tools being used by schools today. Here are some other communication technologies that may help boost fundraising support:
During your next fundraiser, arrange to have daily updates broadcast over the school’s closed-circuit system. Be sure these updates emphasize the goal of the fundraiser (new playground, field trip, etc.), which will help keep students and teachers focused and motivated. Another idea: utilize this visual medium by having your fundraising professional deliver his kick off message in front of the camera as a substitute for the traditional kick-off assembly. Some groups have recruited teachers and students to stage full blown skits promoting their fundraising drive. A video kick-off will save time, eliminate the need to move students in and out of the gym/cafeteria and give busy teachers more flexibility. Be sure to stress the importance of adult supervision.
Email & Text Messages
Communicate frequently with supporters and potential supporters using email and text messaging. Remind parents why your group is raising money. Sample subject line: “We’re halfway to new lights for the stadium!” Take advantage of these tools to send important inf o rma t i on a b out deadlines and thank parents at the end of the fundraiser as well. And remember that while email and text messaging provide an opportunity for frequent communication, be careful not to overdo it. At most, send 3-4 emails or text message during the fundraiser.
School Web Site
The school Web site provides a host of communication opportunities. Parents and other supporters will likely turn to the Web site first for more information about the school fundraiser, so be sure there is easy-to-spot information about the program on the homepage. Include frequent updates and list your group’s fundraising goals. If the school is involved with blogs, podcasts or webcasts, be sure these Web-based diaries include a mention of the fundraiser to keep momentum alive. Your fundraising professional may have some other ideas for how to leverage your school’s Web site in order to increase family participation.
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About the Author:
This article is from the Fall 2008 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers and is reprinted with permission. Visit their web site at afrds.org for more information and a look at the complete issues of the Fundraising Edge.
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