Fundraising Leaders Kick-Off Guide

Fundraising Kick-Off Guide

We get asked a lot about what it takes to have a successful Coffee Fundraiser.  Well, before I was in the fundraising business, I was a high school debate coach and I drank a lot of coffee.  We had a great administration, and they gave us a budget and let us travel and compete.  Any competition we wanted to attend beyond our budget we had to pay for through fees to our students or fundraising.  I learned a lot over the years and soon other organizations wondered how we were so effective both at tournaments and raising the money to get there.  This Fundraising Leader or Fundraising Sponsor video and blog series will break down many of the lessons I learned in my many years fundraising.  You can skip around by selecting the titles or subjects you think you need the most help in.  Of course, these the writing may be specific to coffee fundraising, but tips should be effective whether you are doing a coffee fundraiser with Coffee Funded or some other fundraising program.

Why Fundraising Kick-Offs are Essential

We have a couple of new organizations kicking off their fundraisers soon and so I wanted to make a Fundraising Leader Kick-Off Guide to help people know what's important when you kick off your new fundraising campaign.  I view this like a swimming or track race or piano recital.  If you get off to a great start, then things will continue to go great.  Think about how coaches practice getting off the blocks for swimmers or getting out of the blocks for runners.  They practice the start repetitively.  It’s not that the 10ths of a second gained there are essential to winning, it is because you are likely to finish like you started.  Start strong, end strong!

Now this may not be a make-or-break moment for you fundraising sale, but it can set some important goals and standards for your club and an organization fundraiser.  Showing strong Fundraising organization, leadership and commitment at the start will set you up for the best chance at success. You can watch the video below or keep reading.

Be Honest- Its Work

As a fundraising leader, be upfront with your organization, this is a fundraiser!  This is going to take some work!  It is not part of your primary mission.  It is not why a player joined a baseball team or why a trumpeter joined the high school band or Choir or Debate team.  This is extra work we need to do to support our club or organization.   It does not matter if it is candy sale or a coffee fundraiser, this is going to be work and we're going to do this work!  We are going to do it at a highly energetic and effective way. If you are going to go through the motions of doing a fundraiser it might as well be an effective one.

Coffee Fundraisers need to know their why.

Your Mission - Your Why

Remind your sellers about the mission. Why are we fundraising? Did your marching band qualify for marching band state? Did your debate team qualify teams for the national tournament? Does your swim team need new uniforms? The fundraising leader needs to make sure the kickoff reminds your sellers why they are doing this.  Then encourage them to tell their buyers or supporters about your group goals and mission. Your mission, your why, is why people are going to support you.  Fundraising has a hidden advantage or being a great way to promote your organization's activities. We will discuss this more in the episode about student script and invitations to support.  But first your group needs to connect the fundraiser to their bigger goals. Why are we doing this?

Set Clear Goals

Great leaders, coaches and fundraising leaders know there is tension with goal setting. You need to set high aspirational goals so that you can raise the money you need but if you set them out of the realm of possibility people will not believe in them.  You don’t tell a 13-year-old that they are going to run a 4-minute mile today in practice when they have never run faster than 6 minutes.  “We are trying to cut 11 seconds of your personal best mile time”, is more attainable and more inspirational.  You cannot set fundraising goals outside of the realm of possibility because this steals your groups fundraising motivation. You need to set high yet clearly attainable fundraising goals. Tension comes from the fact that the fundraiser must make a significant contribution to your year’s financial needs, so it needs to be high. Fundraising leaders must balance this tension by making sure your fundraising goals are both attainable and significant.  This clear and attainable goal can also be communicated to your supporters, so they know that they are part of reaching the fundraising goals.  It is better if your group breaks through its fundraising goals than if it feels like a failure when it is all done.

Table - Shows Profit Potential from Coffee Funded - Coffee Fundraisers

The fundraising leader should take your group's goal and break that down for each member or your fundraising group.  What does that require of them for the team to be successful? How many products does each person have to sell? Or how much money does each person need to raise? What does it take for each person to be successful? What are the steps that each person is required to make?  Many fundraising programs call this their fair share.  Your group probably has many requirements and responsibilities, communicate fundraising as one of those, an expectation.  This makes it easier for families who do not want to participate but don’t mind donating directly to the group instead.  Many fundraisers offer a buyout when they run a fundraiser, and this clearly articulated fair share helps determine the buyout amount.  One downside about buyouts is that you do not have members out in the community telling people about your organization’s activities and accomplishments.

Explain the Product

Explain the product you your groups so that they understand what they are selling and why.  What are its advantages? Why did you choose it? What are its special qualities? Here is a breakdown for our coffee fundraisers at Coffee Funded. Our coffee is freshly roasted and delicious.  It comes in six popular flavors including Southern Pecan and Crème Brule.  Our coffee is custom labeled for each group with a logo, team picture, mascot, or event information.  It comes ground in standard 12 oz bags and cost about what great coffee cost at any grocery store.  Coffee is a commodity that most people buy anyway. All of our coffee is sourced from Coffee My Friend.  It is a healthy alternative to other fundraisers People can use it or keep it as a souvenir because of its custom label. They can reorder it online even after the sale is over. Give your group the information they need to be great salespeople.  We will show how to write a script and practice in another post.

Individual Responsibility

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Set Day One Goals

What should everyone do in the first 24 hours should be made clear by the fundraising leader. This is when motivation is highest. This is when your fundraising group will talk to their strongest supporters. Those who succeed in the first 24 hours will be motivated to continue and will also motivate others by their success. A big chunk of your money can be made in the first 24 hours. Who will be the first person to talk to every teacher in the math department? Who will sell to the social studies hall? Who will call every person they know at church? People will not reach out to make more difficult sales until all the easy ones are done. The faster that happens, the more likely your group will reach its true fundraising potential. Day-One Goals can be for a certain number of sales or specific actions.  Fundraising leaders need to help with strategy because not everyone will know what to do.  If the fundraising kick-off goes well then, the next part of your fundraiser will also go well.

Social and Digital

If the fundraising program comes with social or digital tools, make sure the fundraising leader has a way to distribute them to the group during your kick-off.  Our coffee fundraising program at Coffee Funded has a digital social package.  We post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our blog.  These posts can be forwarded, retweeted, and shared by participants to their followers.  Each post will have a buy button as part of the post so supporters can participate in the coffee fundraiser from their social media platforms.  We will also send out an email template that each participant can modify and send to their supporters.  These tools are great for reaching out of town relatives who may want to support your coffee fundraiser but can’t do it locally.  Encouraging others to share these tools can get your coffee fundraiser to go viral.  Your school or school district can also push these out.  These links will stay active for a year so they can be reshared to continue your online fundraiser even after you in person fundraiser is over.  Most fundraising programs have a social and digital portion so fundraising leaders need to use them effectively to maximize their reach.


Fundraising leaders should use these tips for your fundraising kick-off and set your organization up for success.  Share this video or post with others in your organization to succeed together.  Look for our other Fundraising Leader or Sponsor support videos to maximize your fundraising efforts.

We are Coffee Funded, and we run coffee fundraisers that private label a freshly roasted coffee for your club and organization and put your groups picture, logo, mascot, or event information on your coffee, so it represents your organization to your supporters and community.  If you want to start a coffee fundraiser or get more information, contact us at