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  • Writer's pictureFrances Roen

Back-to-School: A Golden Opportunity for Non-Profit Fundraising

Updated: May 29

As the calendar flips to August, the long summer days start to give way to the crisp, structured routine of the back-to-school season. This time, filled with school supply shopping and back-to-school nights, holds more than just the promise of a new academic year. For non-profit organizations, it presents a golden opportunity to re-engage their community after a busy summer.

Here are FIVE ways your organization can build community during this exciting season:

Partner with Local Retailers

Many stores are bustling during this period with back-to-school shopping or end-of-summer sales and events. By forming partnerships, you can create win-win situations for both your non-profit and their business. Consider options such as:

  • A percentage of sales on specific days goes to your cause.

  • Special products or bundles where a portion of the proceeds are donated.

  • Hosting joint promotions that raise awareness and funds simultaneously.

And keep in mind that you don’t just have to keep these partnerships to a certain group of retailers. Coffee shops, breweries, and other local businesses, especially those who cater to summer crowds and weather, can also be great partners!

Tap into the Power of Social Media

While we often think that younger audiences are deeply connected via social media platforms, Pew Research shows that 7 in 10 Americans use social media to stay connected. Whatever social media platform(s) your non-profit uses, August is a great time to share real-life stories highlighting the importance of your mission in the context of education. Share stories about:

  • Staff who are headed back to school or who are continuing their professional education through training or workshops.

  • A summer intern who is headed back to college.

  • A program that builds skills, trades, or increases access to education.

  • A volunteer who learned something new through their experience with your organization.

Think outside the box about what "education" means at your organization and in your community. It doesn't have to be about going "back-to-school".

Engage with Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs)

PTAs are often looking for ways to support not only their school but the broader community. Collaborate to host joint fundraisers, information sessions, or other events that can benefit both the school and your organization.

Check In with Your Supporters

If it has been a busy (or slow!) summer, August is a great time to reconnect with your supporters. Pick up the phone, pen a note, or send a personal email to reconnect with donors, volunteers, and other supporters. Check-in about their summer and fall plans, invite them to an upcoming event, or set a coffee date if they are planning to leave for the winter.


Emphasize Long-Term Commitment

As students commit to a new academic year, challenge your community to commit to getting involved with your organization or others. Highlight partnerships, opportunities to donate, and school-year volunteer opportunities at your non-profit and other non-profits in your area.


The back-to-school season isn't just about pencils and textbooks. It’s about new beginnings, community engagement, and the shared aim of a brighter future. The end of summer is a great time to connect more deeply with your community--driving change and creating impact together.


Fundraising Sol can work with you to leverage your community to raise funds during the back-to-school season. To set up a 30 minute consultation, schedule here.


 

Frances Roen is a Georgia girl at heart, and has been graciously adopted by beautiful, snowy Minnesota. She is a forty-something daughter, friend, mom, wife, and entrepreneur, and is always on the look-out for a perfectly fried piece of chicken.


Frances is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) with nearly 20 years of experience fundraising and has raised over $200M for nonprofits. She has held fundraising positions at The Bakken Museum, Augustana Care Corporation, and YouthLink and consulted with dozens of nonprofits clients across the globe. In these roles she has been responsible for all aspects of fundraising including comprehensive campaigns, major and planned gifts, annual funds, events, communications, corporate partnerships and volunteers.

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