This week’s fundraising inspiration comes from The Mt Carmel High School Boy’s Lacrosse team who are an excellent example of one of our favorite fundraising tips - you don’t have to organize a fundraiser to fundraise! Let's take a closer look at the strategy they used to make their fundraiser a certified success.
The brains behind this story is Kymberli Clement whose three sons play lacrosse for MCHS. Her family's interest, combined with her sunny and can-do attitude, made her the perfect person to take on the role of lacrosse fundraising coordinator, stating her goal is “to ensure this program succeeds not only for [her sons], but for all MCHS lacrosse players.”
Through GroupRaise Kymberli set up two fundraisers at local restaurant Wings N Things which saw the team raise around $700 to spend on equipment, uniform, coaches, and referees. Without being a marketing expert Kymberli pulled off, what is in our opinion, an expert strategy. What? Optimizing on an already scheduled event. In this case combining a parent meeting and a team fundraiser, genius!
MCHS Lacrosse is a school program that’s fully funded by the players families, corporate sponsors, and through fundraising efforts. In 2015 the team made it to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship and for the first time in MCHS history, they won! This season the MCHS Lacrosse team is hoping to make it to the championships again. Because much of the team is graduating this year, the playoffs in May will be the last hurrah for many players.
These are the four learnings we can take away from Kymberli’s experience.
1. Identify your supporters.
Kymberli said she knew that as a high school program “a lot of kids are dependent on a parent to come with them to dining out events.” If the parent can’t make it perhaps neither can the lacrosse player, however, if just one parent comes to support their child you’ve already doubled your numbers. If two parents, and siblings come, you can easily quadruple your supporters.
How do you get the parent to come? Kymberli recognized there needed to be an additional reason to oblige the parents to attend and she also knew that there is a need to have a pre-season parent meeting. With that realization combining the two events was a no brainer. She explained, “you always have to have a parent meeting for specific exchange of paperwork, so I wanted to take advantage of these need and organize a fundraiser event [too].”
2. Know your group.
Knowing the likes and capabilities of your group is important. For a high school fundraiser the restaurant needed to appeal to the kids and be convenient for the parents. Kymberli stated that “the kids love Wings N Things” so when she announced the fundraiser would be there, the support gathered “was automatic.” From hosting two fundraisers the lacrosse team has established a great relationship with Wings N Things (Carmel Mountain Rd, San Diego), that the manager even threw in additional funds to increase their most recent donation!
3. Promotion strategies.
There are many promotional methods, direct or indirect, neither will work without identifying your supporters (factor #1). With the ultimate goal to promote to the parents of the players and members of the Mt Carmel community, Kymberli said she found these methods the most successful:
- Email invitations to parents
- Posts on social media, Facebook in particular
- Word of mouth around the school community, often the kids would relay information back to their parents and friends
A massive bonus for Kymberli was that through the GroupRaise system supporters are not required to bring a flyer. She explained that this made it “very easy to communicate, you can simply send out the date and time to spread the word.” The MCHS baseball team also participated in the event, an awesome example of groups supporting one another in the community!
4. Additional social pressure.
While this may not work for every group, adding extra social pressure or obligation can go a long way to increasing fundraiser attendance. In the two GroupRaise fundraisers that MCHS Lacrosse recently hosted, one was much more successful than the other. Why? Kymberli explained that “the more successful fundraiser was when we made it a mandatory parent meeting” - another stroke of genius. This almost tripled the donation amount from the first fundraiser, which is an impressive feat.
Hopefully Kymberli’s experience fundraising for MCHS Lacrosse has provided you with the inspiration to succeed in your own restaurant fundraiser. You don’t need to organize a fundraiser to fundraise, just optimize on an already scheduled event!
If you’re ready to turn this idea into reality and host your own fundraiser, check out the local restaurants giving back near you.