Hitting All the Right Notes: Our Top Tips for Successful Show Choir Fundraising



Anyone who’s ever been involved in show choir knows fundraising is a critical component to your program, keeping the program solvent and helping to pay for travel to show choir competitions and other opportunities that make show choir the extraordinary experience that it is.

Annual fundraisers your community embraces year after year are priceless, but so is creativity and innovation. Social media and new technologies designed to spread the word and facilitate the logistics of sales make it easier than ever to expand your reach, while the number and variety of companies incorporating fundraising programs into their businesses has grown exponentially. We compiled a list of top tips to consider when planning this year’s fundraising schedule.

Balancing Innovation with Traditional Drives

While innovation is essential, it’s equally important not to abandon traditional fundraising drives that have proven successful in the past. These annual events often have a loyal base of supporters who look forward to them each year. Balancing innovation with tradition can create a fundraising calendar that appeals to both long-time supporters and new donors.

One effective strategy is to use innovative ideas to enhance traditional drives. For example, if a show choir has an annual holiday concert, incorporating a new element like a virtual attendance option or an online silent auction can broaden the event’s appeal and reach. This way, the event maintains its traditional charm while attracting new participants and donors.

Fundraising Foods That Sell Themselves

Selling high-quality food products is a fundraising strategy that’s never gone out of style. Food-based fundraisers have a broad appeal because they offer something tangible and enjoyable. High-quality, unique food items can attract attention and create a sense of anticipation, encouraging people to support the fundraiser year after year.

Here are some tips for choosing items that will drive participation and expand your donor base:

  1. Quality Over Quantity: Focus on high-quality products that people will enjoy and remember. Gourmet chocolates, artisanal cheeses, premium nuts, and specialty baked goods are examples of items that can stand out.
  2. Local and Unique: Consider partnering with local businesses to offer unique, locally produced items. This not only supports the local economy but also adds a special touch to the fundraiser, making it more attractive to potential donors.
  3. Seasonal Offerings: Aligning food items with seasonal themes can increase their appeal. For instance, offering holiday-themed treats in December or refreshing beverages in the summer can make the fundraiser more relevant and timely.
  4. Healthy Options: With a growing focus on health and wellness, including healthy food options can attract a wider audience. Items like fruit baskets, granola bars, and organic snacks can cater to health-conscious donors.

Expanding Your Customer Base

To ensure the sustainability and growth of fundraising efforts, it’s essential to expand the reach beyond your usual group of supporters. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  1. Online Fundraising Platforms: Using online fundraising platforms can significantly expand your reach. Platforms like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and dedicated fundraising websites allow you to reach a global audience. Promote these campaigns through social media, email newsletters, and your choir’s website to maximize visibility.
  2. Social Media Campaigns: Leverage the power of social media to spread the word about your fundraiser. Create engaging content, including videos of the choir, behind-the-scenes looks at rehearsals, and testimonials from participants and supporters. Encourage choir members and their families to share these posts to reach a broader audience.
  3. Corporate Sponsorships: Partnering with local businesses can provide a significant boost to your fundraising efforts. Businesses can sponsor events, donate items for auctions, or provide matching funds. In return, they gain positive publicity and the opportunity to support a worthy cause.
  4. Community Events: Hosting community events, such as a food festival or a themed dinner, can attract people who might not otherwise participate in your fundraiser. These events provide an opportunity to showcase the choir’s talent and promote upcoming fundraising activities.

Making Fundraisers Memorable and Anticipated

Creating fundraisers that people look forward to year after year involves more than just offering quality products. It’s about crafting an experience that donors enjoy and remember. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  1. Personal Touches: Adding personal touches can make a big difference. For example, handwritten thank-you notes from choir members or personalized messages in promotional materials can make donors feel appreciated and valued.
  2. Exclusive Previews and Performances: Offering exclusive previews or performances can create excitement and anticipation. For instance, donors who contribute a certain amount could receive a private performance or a behind-the-scenes tour.
  3. Recognition and Rewards: Recognizing and rewarding loyal supporters can encourage continued participation. This could include public recognition at events, in programs, on your website and through social media; giving out special badges or pins; and offering exclusive access to certain events or products.
  4. Feedback and Improvement: Regularly soliciting feedback from donors and participants can help you improve future fundraisers. Understanding what worked well and what could be better allows you to refine your approach and make each year’s fundraiser better than the last.

Case Studies: Successful Fundraising Initiatives

To illustrate the effectiveness of these strategies, let’s look at a few case studies of successful fundraising initiatives.

  1. The Gourmet Chocolate Sale

A show choir in a small town partnered with a local chocolatier to offer gourmet chocolate boxes for Valentine’s Day. The choir members promoted the sale through social media, local businesses, and community events. The chocolates were beautifully packaged and included a thank-you note from the choir. The fundraiser was a huge success, attracting not only parents and community members but also people from neighboring towns who heard about the high-quality chocolates. The following year, the choir expanded the offering to include a variety of chocolate products, and sales increased by 30 percent.

  1. The Virtual Cooking Class

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an innovative show choir director organized a virtual cooking class featuring a well-known local chef. Participants paid a fee to join the class and received a list of ingredients in advance. The event was promoted through social media and local news outlets. The virtual format allowed people from outside the local area to participate, significantly expanding the reach of the fundraiser. The event was not only a financial success but also a memorable experience that participants looked forward to repeating.

  1. The Healthy Snack Box Subscription

A booster club officer introduced a subscription service offering monthly boxes of healthy snacks. The boxes included a variety of locally sourced, organic snacks complete with personalized notes from the choir. Subscriptions were promoted through the choir’s website, social media, and local businesses. The subscription model provided a steady stream of income throughout the year, and the focus on healthy options appealed to a wide audience. The initiative also included a referral program, encouraging subscribers to invite friends and family to join, further expanding the fundraiser’s reach.

Fundraising for show choirs requires a delicate balance between innovation and tradition. By introducing creative new approaches and enhancing traditional drives, directors and booster club officers can keep participation high and ensure the financial health of the choir. With careful planning and a focus on expanding reach, show choirs can build a sustainable and successful fundraising strategy that supports their growth and success for years to come.

About the Author
Ed Bauer has been in publishing for over twenty years. In his early career years, he worked on the staff at Mount Union College and for the last twelve years as publisher and managing partner at Flaherty Media has been privileged to tour many private higher education campuses and talk with numerous staff members who manage these multiple building facilities. He can be reached at ed@pupnmag.com.