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LeanStream Insights Blog Post - 11 Things Donors Look for in a School Fundraiser

There are various things that donors are looking for in a school fundraiser before contributing to its cause. You need to meet donor expectations if you want them to support you. Read on to find out what donors are looking for before deciding to donate money to a fundraiser.

11 things that donors look for in a school fundraiser

  • Relatable fundraiser stories
    Donors look for good stories about your fundraiser, which can capture their hearts and minds. A well-crafted fundraiser story helps donors relate to your school’s objectives, core values, and the people you serve. It is such stories, which enable donors to relate to and support your fundraiser’s cause.

    Who can tell your story best? Choose a spokesperson who is a good storyteller. Based on the fundraiser’s theme and tone, you might want a spokesperson who delivers your fundraiser story with authority or someone with a more personal touch regarding your school fundraiser, such as students and other fundraiser beneficiaries.

    Always brainstorm with your fundraising team to identify a person who can convey a relatable fundraiser story.
  • Your school fundraiser personality
    Besides fulfilling your school’s mission, donors need to know your school fundraiser’s personality and sense of humor. If you show off your fundraiser’s fun side, you can easily delight potential donors who are amused by the humorous tone, which leads to the creation of positive emotional bonds with your fundraiser that encourage long-term loyalty.
  • Creative fundraising events and campaigns
    A creative fundraising campaign is one of the things, which donors look for in a school fundraiser. With creativity, you can bring your school fundraisers to life, which helps expand your reach and connection to new donors who are excited about creativity.
  • A clear call to action
    All your school fundraiser appeals should have one clearly stated call to action. This call to action should encourage donors to donate. Why a donation is substantial, how it will improve lives, and why donors should contribute now should be part of the story you craft with the fundraiser’s narrative, images, and video. All these elements should be directed to move donors through all the emotional steps to donate.

    As you create your promotional messages and materials, be sure to include a call to action. Create at least two or three references to the call to action. Be sure to include links, QR codes, buttons, and other visual elements to make the desired action abundantly clear.
  • Donor incentives
    Besides regular messaging in your fundraising campaigns, you should include incentives to encourage more donations. Even though some past donors may not be motivated by incentives, new prospective donors may be encouraged to donate by the presence of incentives.

    The key to effective donor incentives is understanding your donors. Some donors don’t appreciate receiving rewards for their fundraising efforts because it makes them feel less genuine. On the other hand, donors participating in crowdfunding campaigns may expect rewards.

    Incentives can work if you keep them donor-centric and grounded in your mission. It can be accomplished by identifying your donors’ value and the price of the incentives.

Types of incentives that donors are looking for in a school fundraiser

For donors who want to feel publicly recognized for their contribution, use recognition incentives such as listing donors on your donation website in a special publication and using personalized thank you notes. For corporate or business donors, consider posting logos with links to the company’s website.

  1. Community incentives. Some donors look for access to particular communities as their incentives. Such community incentives include: certificates or membership cards, exclusive newsletters and communications, and recognition as a supporter of your cause.
  2. Special access incentives. Donors may look for special access incentives in school fundraisers such as in-person tours or behind-the-scenes videos. These help donors to get a deeper understanding and engage more with your fundraiser cause. Use special access incentives if you want to retain donors and make them feel like insiders to your school community.
  3. An explanation on how donations will be utilized. Your school fundraiser’s cause should be transparent to your donors. You should create clear fundraising objectives and goals to help your donors know how their contributions will be used. Donors want to understand how their donations will be used before donating. Some donors contribute specialized gifts to support particular activities, while others contribute generalized gifts for the whole fundraiser cause. Sending regular reports to your donors explaining the impact of their donations to your school’s cause to keep them informed.

  • School fundraiser giving levels

    Donors want proof of how their donations will help support your fundraiser cause with the aid of your fundraiser-giving levels. For example, create donation amounts in ascending order and include the purposes of these amounts beside each donation amount.

  • Secure fundraising pages and donation options

    Consider a digital fundraising platform to offer your donors more ways to participate in your fundraising efforts. You’ll want to make sure the platform allows you to have a webpage or site dedicated to your fundraiser. Creating a online fundraiser instantly gives your donors ways to donate 24/7 and to use credit cards and other digital payment methods.

    When you are looking for the best platform to host your fundraiser, you’ll want to make sure the company you choose is serious about securing the personal information as well as the payment details of your donors.

    LeanStream’s digital fundraising platform offers secure donor management as well as flexible options for your fundraisers. In addition, LeanStream comes with a fully featured e-commerce site for your school or district which allows you to sell merchandise, tickets, passes, as well as the collection of school fees and club dues.

  • Celebrate your school fundraiser achievements before the end

    Donors look for the celebration of the accomplishments in your school fundraiser. Constantly communicate the small goals you accomplish due to the donors’ contributions and thank everyone. With this, donors will see immediate accomplishments from their fundraising efforts instead of waiting for an overwhelming annual goal, which may cause them to give up or forget about your school fundraiser.

  • Integrity

    The ability to stand true to whatever you say is something valued by all donors. School fundraisers that do it exactly the way they commit to are what donors look for to entrust with their contributions. And, donors become more liberal in giving to your school fundraiser cause when they know they can trust you.

  • Good relationship skills

    Donors look for fundraisers where the fundraising team maintains healthy and lively relationships with donors. A good school fundraiser does not only contact donors when they require contributions.

    Donors appreciate it when the school fundraising team sends them greetings, birthday wishes, congratulatory messages to show their concern and care. Communicating with your donors shows that you care for them and are not just after their money.


Donors look for things that help them prove that their donation efforts will significantly impact recipients and help them feel appreciated.