Ask any coach or instructor what they need the most from their booster organization and they’ll likely tell you funding. It’s a fact – student programs simply cannot operate without sufficient funding. Funding is the fuel that powers student programs.
As booster leaders, our success is measured by the amount of funding we bring in to the student program. But how can we be sure that we’ll achieve our fundraising goals? What is it that drives abundant fundraising?
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.Henry Ford
Henry Ford’s customers thought they needed faster horses when they really needed a better form of transportation. Likewise, we may think we need better fundraisers when what we really need is better parent engagement. Parent engagement is essential to abundant fundraising. No matter what fundraising product we sell, or service we provide, we must engage our parents to ever stand a chance of meeting our fundraising goals.
Four Ways to Improve Parent Engagement
- Create a strong value proposition. “A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer that value will be experienced.”1 You want your student program to be a destination that parents will guide their children toward. When parents perceive that the program is adding value to their children’s lives, they’ll rally behind it with their funding and volunteer labor.
- Cordially welcome new volunteers into your organization. Thriving booster organizations continually integrate new people into the fold. Regardless of your current number of volunteers, there’s always room for one more. Remember, a booster organization is dynamic, with people rotating in and out each year. Never give the impression that someone’s help is not needed.
- Establish genuine relationships with your parents. In today’s digital age, we often overlook the importance of face-to-face interaction. However, this interaction is vital to the success of a booster organization. Genuine, meaningful relationships are the foundation for a culture of teamwork and acceptance. Once you have established meaningful relationships, you may then recruit volunteers into roles that align with their strengths.
- Make it fun for parents to participate. Extracurricular activities should not only be fun for the students, they should also be fun for the parents! I know many parents who have made lasting friendships while serving in their children’s booster organizations. I have even seen this in my own organization. The volunteers in our truck and equipment crew became close friends, tailgating before every football game. During the summer months and off-season, they would meet on Wednesday evenings for dinner at a local restaurant. Now that their children have graduated, they continue to have dinner together each week!
There is really no magic formula to abundant fundraising. For most organizations, the journey toward achieving their fundraising goals is a marathon, not a sprint. Parent engagement is essential to meeting – and exceeding – your fundraising goals.
Question: How do you engage your parents to help achieve fundraising goals? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
1 Wikipedia contributors, “Value proposition,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (accessed November 24, 2013).