It’s only November, but I can already feel the holiday spirit in the air. Christmas Carols will soon start playing on the radio, an abundance of prawns will appear in supermarkets and glittery ‘2020’ novelty glasses on shelves. Within our schools, Term 4 is in full swing and there is excitement brewing for year-end celebrations. While the festive season does see much of Australia wind down, it’s an important time of year to consider your school fundraising.

Australian charities often use this time of year to raise additional funds. Fundraising activities usually tell emotive stories to tug at our heartstrings and promote exactly what this time of year is about – giving, spending it with others and being thankful for the past year.

According to donation data from the Commonwealth Bank, December is a special time of year that puts us in a giving mood. Just behind the end of financial year (May and June), December is the third highest month for donations to charities. This giving mood can be a great opportunity to bring in new donors and re-engage those who have given in the past.

To tap into this generosity, I’ve compiled a list of key lessons your school can take away from these holiday fundraising appeals. These can be used across your communications e.g. email, phone calls, letters, social media, etc.

Thank and celebrate donor support from the past year

If the individual you are contacting has previously supported your school (e.g. financially, volunteering or in-kind gifts), it’s important to thank and remind them of how their funds helped your students. Call or write to past donors to thank them and share highlights from the school year. If they feel appreciated and know the impact their gift has made, they are likely to support to your school in the future.

Example: Through your generous support in 2019, we have purchased a class set of laptops. They are being used in our kitchen garden and outdoor learning space for on the job research and reporting. Ruby from class 4Yellow says ‘I love using the laptops to learn about bugs in the garden!’

Tell a story that tugs at the heartstrings

Share a compelling story that illustrates in vivid terms a problem that is currently faced by your school and students – it’s important to be vulnerable here. Once the reader is engaged, share an opportunity for them to solve the problem by supporting your school. Be sure make the reader feel like the hero of the story by filling it with ‘you’ and ‘your’.

Example: Do you remember the first time you visited the library? A wealth of knowledge just waiting for you to read. Unfortunately, the students at our school have lost interest in our library; books are collecting dust and literacy levels are falling. We have a plan, but it is only possible with your support. You can bring excitement and engagement back to the library.

Frame the donation in a way that’s tangible to the donor

Show exactly how a donation to your school will help by setting donation levels. Charities often use this strategy to make their fundraising more real and even encourage donors to give a little more. The first step is to break your goal into individual components, e.g. a single laptop, virtual reality headset or microscope. Then select 3 or 4 that are at different dollar amounts, e.g. $50, $150, $200, $250. See the image below for an example of how this can be used in a social media post.

Get creative

The end of year can be a generous time for many people, but it can also be very busy. To get the attention of your potential audience, you need to get a little creative. Here’s an idea you might like to try. Ask your students to decorate Christmas cards that you send to local business. Wish them a Merry Christmas and share some information about the school and the fundraising project. Then capture their emotion with a line like: “Sally in Class 1Red decorated this card for you. A generous donation to this project will help her experience the wonders of Antarctica with a new VR headset.”

Would you like to learn more about end of year fundraising?

Our EOFY Fundraising Guide includes:

  • An end of year fundraising email template that can be sent to individual donors, local businesses, community groups or your local MP
  • An end of year social media post idea that can help you increase awareness about your fundraising project and tap into your school community to assist in promotion
  • Wording that can be used in a Christmas card to raise funds