Like the first pitch starts the baseball season, your event kickoff sets the tone for your fundraising campaign and generates excitement for your upcoming Fun Run, Bike-a-thon or Walk-a-thon.
When to Host your Kickoff:
Plan your kickoff about three to four weeks before your designated event date. Allow three to four weeks for your campaign, or at least three weekends, prior to your event. If possible, choose a Friday afternoon toward the end of the school day for your kickoff.
Your kickoff date should always be the target date for ALL business and corporate donations. During the planning phase of your event, leading up to the kickoff, you should have made all your purchases and finalized all donations, prizes, gift cards, event tickets, donations, and coupons from local businesses and corporations.
Kick off Strategies:
As the students file into the assembly, display prizes on a table for all to see as they take their seats. This will create a buzz among the students as to why all these items are there. Talk about the prizes last.
Explain the details of the actual event whether its a Fun Run, Bike-a-thon or a Walk-a-thon; the location of the event, the length of the route, the date and timing of the event.
Many of the details will be included in the participant's pledge collection envelopes for the parents to read, so just touch on a few of them... Emphasize safety issues such as helmets for a bike-ride, overall fundraising goals and individual goals and a few other details as needed.
HINT: Use the Event Management tool's "Email Participants" function to send emails to parents to remind them to check their student's backpacks for the Pledge Collection Envelopes and fundraising event information found inside.
If you plan to have any extracurricular activities during the event, such as bounce houses, climbing walls or drawings for prizes, explain those activities and the requirements for participating in those activities.
EXAMPLE: "Complete 10 laps and get a coupon for the bounce house, meet your fundraising goal and get a coupon for a free burger at the event, etc..."
How to raise money:
Inform the students that they are seeking sponsors for their participation which will require a flat rate donation from friends and family. Donations collected in person must to be documented in the spaces provided on the Pledge Collection envelope.
Tell the students about their pledge codes, and how easy it is for them or their parents to e-mail the event web page and pledge code to their relatives and friends from their home and collect donations on line. Remind them to tell their parents to check their e-mail for their pledge code and the Pride Page website.
HINT: Use the "Email Pledge Codes" tool in the Event Management interface to e-mail pledge codes and Pride Page to parents before the students get home.
HINT: Use the event management tool "Email Participants" to inform parents about your event, "Friday prizes" drawings and other important information.
Motivate Students with Prize Opportunities:
This is the moment they've all been waiting for, the discussion of goals and contests to win prizes. Let the students know that each of the prizes on display will be given away to someone in this assembly.
Prizes can be organized in a number of ways and distributed based on a variety of criteria that you choose.
Award prizes on percentage of goal for groups and individuals. If a classroom or homeroom has 20 students and each student has a goal of $50, the classroom goal will be $1,000. Each classroom will have a different number of students, therefore, a different classroom goal. Judge success based on their overall % of goal by dividing amount raised by the goal amount. Use the following examples for awarding prizes.
1. Friday Prizes - Weekly contests are GREAT for increasing participation and overall donations. Inform the students that your campaign may include three or four Friday Prize opportunities. Each Friday, you may offer students an opportunity to earn prizes for the themselves or their classroom.
HINT: Keep parents aware of Friday Prizes by sending e-mails to parents using Event Management tools to inform them of the different prize opportunities.
Inform students that everyone who participates by turning in an envelope each Friday will be entered into a drawing to win a prize and that the student/s that turn in the most donations each Friday will win a premium prize. Point out each of the prizes as you mention them.
HINT: Some schools allow siblings to pool their donations to compete for a prize that they will then share.
HINT: Explain that envelopes will be returned back to the students by the end of the day each Friday.
2. Grade level Prizes - the grade that meets or exceeds their objectives and goals, each Friday or overall, may be awarded a prize (picnic lunch day, funny dress day, no homework day or late assignment coupons)
3. Classroom Level Prizes - the classroom that exceeds their goal by the largest percentage or turns in the most envelopes as a percentage of the class may win prizes (pizza party, snacks, ice cream coupons, hat day or funny dress day).
4. Individual Grand Prizes - Inform the students that the top five or six prizes (or more) will be awarded to the top five or six students based on the amount they raised. The top five or six will go into a drawing and the first name pulled will get choice of grand prize and so on.
HINT: Competing for the Grand Prize is where donation pooling among siblings will create competition among students.
5. Class Room Grand Prize - Some schools will award a traveling trophy to the classroom that beats their goal by the highest percentage. A creative classroom prize can be awarded to this group.
Finish your Kickoff Meeting:
Repeat yourself and say again that each student that participates will have an opportunity to win a prize. "Somebody from this school WILL win this prize, this prize and this prize". All the prizes you see here will be awarded to students who participate in this fundraiser.
Prove this to the students by awarding a few Door Prizes for the students at the kickoff. This idea always gets them talking.
Write names and information on the envelopes before the kickoff or have the teachers instruct the students do this back in the classroom. Have teachers pass out the collection envelopes, filled with take-home information, in the classroom before the students are dismissed to go home.Let the teachers and staff know that they are welcome to participate and also provide them an envelope and pledge code.
Every Kickoff is Unique:Your kickoff will be unique to your group. Friday Prizes can be Wednesday Prizes - Your campaign timing can be shortened to only a few weeks. You can choose other prize ideas not listed here, let us know what works, we'll share your ideas with others.
As always, we provide several ideas and details that will help you plan and make decisions. You are welcome to pick and choose the ideas that will work best for your group.
Best of luck with your kickoff. Hit a home run here and the rest of your campaign will be a grand slam!