Community Engagement Strategies for School Fundraising

Art Teacher Running a Community Engagement Fundraiser

School fundraising can dream bigger and better than just touching students’ families and friends. A truly remarkable fundraiser gets everyone in town excited about donating to your school and builds meaningful community engagement that can benefit everyone for years to come. Here are some things you can do to take a community-based approach to your next school fundraiser.

Table of Contents 


Importance of Community Engagement in Schools

Community engagement widens the scope and potential earnings from your school fundraising. Involving community members also fosters a sense of belonging that will only enhance your school’s standing in the community. When your community is committed to student learning and success, it can improve academic performance and make students feel more confident at school. 

Vanco makes it incredibly easy to accept donations, issue tickets for events and run online fundraising campaigns all in one place. Using a community-based approach and platforms that streamline the process, can help you get your community involved and watch your funds increase overnight. 

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Understanding Community Engagement 

The Community Engagement Concept

Family engagement, as well as engaging the community at large, is not a new concept. Families of students must feel that they and their students are seen, heard and respected by the school to foster loyalty and personal connections. That is part of why it is crucial to have family engagement strategies in place. Family support is one of many factors that can have a significant impact on student success. 

Schools can create mutually respectful relationships with their students and families by carefully considering how language, socioeconomic and cultural differences may affect how students and families show up in education institutions. 

Emphasizing what educators, students and families all have in common is the cornerstone of effective community engagement and building relationships. When families of students are inspired in this way, they are more likely to play an integral role in their children’s learning, which includes participation in fundraising efforts. This extends passion and determination into the community at large. After all, when you engage students and their parents, you aren’t just reaching them. You are also reaching their friends, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and any interpersonal organizations they may be involved in outside of school. 


Benefits of Community Engagement for Schools

Community engagement is about more than just raising money. It can offer a comprehensive and well-rounded educational experience for scholars and give members of the community an opportunity to participate in youth development in their own backyard. To do it well, collaborative efforts and building relationships are essential. 

For instance, take the Herman Brown Park Community Garden and Fruit Orchard in Houston, Texas. This community-driven initiative is fully maintained and operated by high school students. In creating community partnerships with organizers, students attending Furr High School get a hands-on lesson in ecology, food independence and environmental justice. Community gardens like this can also add fresh fruits and vegetables to the food available in the cafeteria or support local food pantries with the produce. Either way, students benefit from added nutrients in their diet or the satisfaction of contributing to their community at large. 

When education institutions take pride in making their communities better places, the communities will show up to share community resources, take part in community projects and ensure the best opportunities are available for their students. These activities can also encourage family involvement and community feedback on how schools empower students. They may also have a positive impact on attendance rates. 


Strategies for Enhancing Community Engagement

Organize Inclusive Events

  • Back to School events: Events that celebrate the return to school settings remind community members and their families of all the great work students will do this academic year after a much-needed academic break. The timing of these events is of the essence but can encompass everything from a bake sale to a car wash to an online campaign. They may also help encourage attendance rates by getting students and their parents involved. 
  • Family movie nights: This tried-and-true fundraising technique is a wonderful opportunity to bring in community members and encourage family engagement. Selecting a movie that is enticing for all ages, advertising effectively and offering snacks and refreshments can make this ticketed event a real moneymaker. 
  • School carnivals: There’s something nostalgic yet innovative about a school carnival. Games, rides and delicious carnival food can all entice community members to attend and show their support for your school. 

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Promote Student-Led Initiatives

  • Student organization fairs: An informational fair does more than get students and their families interested in extracurriculars they may not have otherwise been aware of. Organization fairs allow each unique and valuable group at your school to make a case as to why the school needs more funding. Organizations can share with families and community members what unique and exciting field trips or activities they have planned for the upcoming school year and more. When families and community members know their hard-earned money is going to a worthy cause and combating community challenges, they are far more likely to make donations. Fairs can also be a great opportunity to encourage family involvement and get community feedback on what opportunities students receive. 
  • Sports tournaments: The skill level of a school sports team is often one of the most compelling arguments for the need for additional funding. By highlighting the strengths of your athletics, drama, art or other departments, you create a need as well as an urgency for additional funding that makes families and community leaders feel moved to share community feedback and buy-in due to their personal connections to the sport or activity. They may also help build family-school partnerships, as students’ families may be interested in helping with departments they enjoyed when they were in school. 

Leverage Online Platforms for Fundraising

Online engagement platforms like Vanco make fundraising easy. Whether you’re selling school-themed merchandise, hosting an online auction or conducting peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, Vanco makes growing funds and keeping everything online easy for school leaders. 


Practical Tips for Implementing Effective Strategies

Build a Team for Planning and Execution 

Passionate parents and staff volunteers who are inspired by learning experiences and want to make a difference in their children’s school experience are the glue that holds fundraising efforts together. They represent a great opportunity to encourage family engagement. A large team with a fair of distribution of work is the best possible setup when approaching fundraising that engages community leaders and the community as a whole. 

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Market and Promote Events in the Community

Social media platforms, fliers and email newsletters are all reliable ways to make sure your fundraiser reaches the entire community. Targeting local Facebook groups and posting fundraiser information attached to popular social media trends are great ways to draw attention to your upcoming fundraising event. 

Engage Students and Parents

When students and their families feel the money raised will be used to make their lives better, they will be more likely to fight for the cause. One passionate and dedicated fundraiser has impact but imagine the impact of 20 or 200 dedicated fundraisers on community projects. 

Incentives and perks are a great way to encourage participation. By offering prizes for each level of funds raised, each member of the student body will feel encouraged to meet at least the minimum donation amount. 

Leverage Technology for Fundraising

Vanco’s online fundraising solutions make promoting and managing your fundraising events easy. 

Digital fundraising is more secure than cash donations and people from all over are eligible and welcome to participate. 

Vanco also features event ticketing and online registration software, giving you access to everything you need for a successful fundraiser all in one place. 


Key Takeaways 

Keep events inclusive, market to the community as a whole and use online campaign solutions. Vanco’s services, from ticketing to donation management, make fundraising that inspires the entire community a breeze. 



How can technology enhance school fundraising initiatives? 

Technology makes donating easy. By and large, people prefer to pay for purchases electronically, and online campaigns make it easier than ever to boost your fundraising efforts. 

What role do students play in community engagement for fundraising? 

Students are the direct link between the school and community resources. Students, their families and community members must be passionate about improving education before any outside entities will be willing to assist. 

How can schools ensure the safety and success of fundraising events?

Using secure payment methods to receive funds helps to keep fundraising events safe. And having the appropriate number of volunteers and staff present at each event to manage crowds helps to provide a quality experience for attendees. 

How can schools measure the success of their community engagement strategies? 

Schools can measure their success by tracking new parent engagement, retained parent engagement and ongoing donor tendencies. 

What are some tips for promoting school fundraising events effectively? 

Extend your reach beyond the student body itself by sharing details in relevant Facebook groups and on other social media platforms. 


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