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How to jumpstart your fundraising by participating in a MightyNest for Schools Challenge

04.15.14 How to jumpstart your fundraising by participating in a MightyNest for Schools Challenge

Join the MightyNest Get Fresh Challenge

Looking for ways your school can earn a sizeable amount of money without any parent even spending a dime? You've found it with MightyNest for Schools and our school challenges. Several times a year, we offer this unique way to build excitement for healthy living at your school, raise awareness about our fundraiser and build a supporter base going forward. 

Westwood Elementary School in San Diego won a whopping $5000 in the MightyNest Back to School Challenge (Fall 2013). We asked Amber Stefanick, the leader of the MightyNest for Schools fundraiser for Westwood to inspire other school leaders by sharing how she succeeded in rallying her school to win the challenge last fall.

Her answer is simple: Remind, remind, remind! “Don’t be afraid to be annoying! I’m joking a little, but in all seriousness, you really do need to keep talking about the challenges….a lot! Directly ask people to participate. You’d be amazed at how effective that is.”

Not sure how to get the people at their school fired up? We get that. Being a natural born cheerleader isn’t everyone’s personality and it’s not the only way to succeed. Here are seven ways to motivate your supporters, without getting the pom-poms out:

1. Make people feel included. Connect them to other supporters when possible, through online groups, coffees (or teas!), pta meetings, at the playground. Westwood uses a facebook group (not to be confused with a facebook page, learn the difference here) that got started years ago as a way for a few moms at her school to organize play dates. “When we are participating in the Mightynest Challenges, I post about them in our Facebook Group once a day, or every other day, depending on what stage of the challenge we were in. It’s a quick, informal way to instantly communicate with a large number of the Westwood parents.”

2. Provide the right motivation. For some schools, raising money is the driving force behind this fundraiser. For others, the money might be the icing on the cake, the cake being encouraging a greener, healthier lifestyle for families. Westwood is a public school that needs additional funds for important programs like art, and technology, and music that aren’t covered in their budget. Know your audience: what will motivate the parents at your school?

3. Provide a variety of opportunities. Make sure people know there’s something for everyone when it comes to participation. From simply shopping to raise funds for your school, to taking action and earning points in challenges, and helping to spread the word through sharing via email and facebook. Make it seem easy, fun and interesting… According to Amber: “If they feel like it’s a burden or a drag, they’re not going to get involved!”

4. Offer supporters flexibility. Some parents work full time, many grab headspace at night after the kids have gone to bed. Strike a delicate balance between structure and simplicity… making your ask specific but letting supporters choose when they can get it done. Sending out reminders in the evening instead of the morning might have a better chance of staying at the top of the pile!

5. Share accomplishments and milestones. Supporters want to know they are making a difference. Keep them in the loop; set goals, update them on progress (we’ve set up your school fundraising page to do this for you!) and share achievements. Also make sure you broadcast achievements to those outside your network of supporters to bring attention to their efforts and encourage more people to join in. When Westwood won the Back to School challenge, the victory was celebrated at a school wide assembly!

6. Gratitude and Recognition. There’s a lot of talk of the power of gratitude these days. Have you thanked your supporters today? Giving both personal praise and public thanks helps people feel acknowledged for the efforts they’re making. And, if you’ve got the budget, remember: everyone loves free food and refreshments or a celebratory party now and then!

7. Remember: Remind, remind, remind. It often takes asking people a few times to get them to do something (which comes as no surprise at all to those of us with kids!). Striking a balance of keeping your fundraiser top of mind, without being a nudge can be tricky. Which is why we offer so many different ways - email, banner links from school website or e-newsletter, facebook, pinterest… Mix it up and try different things!

We supply all the tools you need to promote your fundraiser on our resource page, including banners to post on your school website, and customizable links for facebook.

What truly differentiates MightyNest for Schools from other fundraisers is the way we inspire healthy living by families at your school alongside raising funds for important programs. Through newsletters, blog posts, and pledges on your school page, parents learn how to support what kids are learning in school about health and the environment and bring it home. Amber notes: “ I’ve had several people tell me that they’ve been looking for ways to reduce plastic baggie usage or just waste in general. The volunteer who organized our Fall Festival this year opted to not have plastic trinkets used as prizes for the game booths because of our Mightynest pledges.”

If you’re ready to get a MightyNest fundraiser going at your school, or rally your school to win our latest challenge, just go to http://schools.mightynest.com to sign up and find out who’s in the money in the Mighty School Challenge so far. There’s still plenty of time to get your school into the running, so get started today!

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