Fundraising – It’s Easier Than You Think

Todd Rogers • August 2023Fundraising • August 20, 2023

Our team at Bob Rogers Travel has had the privilege of planning incredible performance travel experiences for over 40 years. One thing we believe just as strongly as we did when we started is this: Travel changes everything. 

Performance travel expands your students’ horizons, brings classroom lessons to life, and builds stability for your program. This life-changing experience should be accessible to every student – and that’s why fundraising is so important.

But fundraising doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult! After working with thousands of schools, we’ve seen some amazing fundraising programs. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way.

Step #1 – Know Your Goals

First, put pencil to paper and estimate the total cost of your performance tour and the number of students you think will participate. Then divide the total cost by the number of students. Once you have the overall trip cost and the per-student cost, you’re ready to put a plan together.

Step #2 – Get Your Team Together

It takes everyone working together to achieve your fundraising goals. So, gather your superstar parents, engaged students and best boosters for a fundraising strategy session. Together, you can brainstorm ideas, share community contacts, assign responsibilities, and develop a schedule. 

Step #3 – Choose Your Top Ideas – and Go!

The best thing about fundraising with students is the dozens of fun, effective options you have. Since every group is unique, different methods work for each. Choose the ideas that are most interesting to your students, parents, and boosters, and run with them!

Here are some of our favorites:

Performances Give your talented performers another opportunity to shine – and raise money! Think talent shows, concerts, local competitions, recitals, Christmas carols, etc. Sell tickets and concessions and offer sponsorships in the program or on banners at the event. These types of events serve so many purposes – raising funds, showcasing your performers, and providing more on-stage experience. 

Services Encourage your students to find ways to use their unique talents and skills to raise money for the trip. Music lessons, sports coaching and tutoring are excellent ways for students to raise money and to grow as leaders. Neighborhood jobs like lawn mowing, dog walking and snow shoveling are also oldies, but goodies. 

Events Organize events that raise money through sponsorships – a golf tournament, 5K, carnival, auction, craft fair, polar plunge, etc. These events can also become community favorites, allowing you to have a consistent fundraising event on the calendar whether you’re traveling that year or not. 

Homemade Products Think bake sales, pancake breakfasts, plants in the spring, pumpkins in the fall, holiday ornaments, spaghetti dinners, chili cook-offs, yard sales, etc. These types of sales can also become traditions for your group and events your community looks forward to.

Fundraisers-in-a-box Work with fundraising companies to sell any number of products – gift wrap, fruit, popcorn, entertainment books, cookie dough, lollipops, etc. These are fairly turnkey but note they typically yield a lower profit margin. 

Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is a newer method of raising money, thanks to technology. Share your group’s story and fundraising goals on the crowdfunding site of your choice, like IndieGoGo and GoFundMe. (Whatever the site, be sure to research how much of the profits your group will retain.) Be creative and share your group’s personality through video, pictures, and a vivid description of how you’ll use the funds. Then have students, parents and supporters share the fundraising link with everyone they know via social media and email. 

Step 4: Track, Share and Celebrate

You’ve established your goals, followed the schedule, and have hit the ground running – you’re on your way! Track your progress through a payment system from your travel company or with an Excel spreadsheet. Make sure to regularly update students and families on your group’s progress and then celebrate together when you achieve your goals!

Working together to raise travel funds holds tremendous benefits beyond the financial. When students, parents, and the community work together to achieve a goal, something magical happens. Memories are made, friendships flourish and the culture of your program grows stronger. 

Fundraising activities give your students one more outlet to bond, grow as a group, and work together to achieve a goal. For your students, a car wash fundraiser on a Saturday afternoon isn’t just a means to end – it’s an opportunity to laugh together, work together and grow one step closer to the trip of a lifetime.

Whether you’re working towards an upcoming performance tour or simply raising money for your program’s general fund, fundraising can be one more way to make moments that matter. 

Todd Rogers is the co-CEO of Bob Rogers Travel, a student performance travel company founded by his father in1981. With nearly 30 years of experience in the industry, Todd remains driven to improve student travel.

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