Fundraisers achieve varying levels of success

There are many great fundraisers and drives for important causes at Burlingame High School, but more often than not there is a large disconnect between the fundraiser and the student body.

The “problem” consists of many different factors such as poor promotion of these fundraisers, an abundance of fundraisers and donation to these fundraisers being too difficult to attract the average student. Some students might not even know of the many fundraisers and drives our school offers. Others may be overwhelmed by the multiple fundraisers that are always being hosted at the school. Even fewer people will actually donate to these fundraisers. None of this is not the fault of the student body.

The largest task and goal of a fundraiser should be the promotion of the event and spreading awareness of the fundraiser. Although some fundraisers do this very well, an overwhelming majority of them do not. A couple of posters on the walls and an event on the School Loop calendar is simply not enough. Furthermore, many of these notices fail to offer information about when and where to donate and what the fundraiser supports. There are many students that may glance at these notices on a daily basis, however, these attempts fail to grab their attention and ultimately the fundraiser or drive is perceived as unimportant.

A strong promotion of a fundraiser does more than spread awareness of an event; it also increases the perceived importance of the event from the student body. When a student sees info and hears about an upcoming fundraiser several times within one day, it makes them curious, and the event is given more importance than if they had only just learned about it once or twice.

When a fundraiser spends a lot of effort on promoting their issue, it secures trust and gains the attention of the student body. A significant example of this was last year’s ODFL (One Dollar For Life) fundraiser to raise money for a birthing center in Nepal. Students were seen selling donuts, holding stands, and spreading awareness for the fundraiser through various outlets. These efforts made the fundraiser stand out, and as a result, the fundraiser was incredibly successful and raised thousands of dollars. Furthermore, it proved that BHS students were not uncharitable and were capable of raising large funds.

Despite the number of drives and fundraisers BHS supports, very few students actually donate, and as evidenced by some of our most successful fundraisers and drives, the student body is not to blame. BHS has an active environment with multiple fundraisers and drives, but with many of these fundraisers following the same formula for promoting their events/drives, they fail to attract the average student. A creative element that adds to a fundraiser or drive and makes it unique can be vital to receiving support.

Sophomore Maxim Yu commented on this, saying, “There are a lot of drives from so many different clubs, and since there is an advertisement from [them] every day or every other day, it's really easy to tune it all out.” A good example of a creative way to grab the attention of the average student can currently be seen at Los Altos High School. Right now at the school, for their ODFL LEGO and DUPLO drive, they are building a tower of donated LEGOS and DUPLOS and are creating a timelapse video documenting the entire process. This type of creativity and originality is rarely seen at BHS and is necessary in order for a fundraiser to distance itself from the ‘norm.’

At BHS, a drive or fundraiser’s most common form of promotion are posts on the school website, which is fine so long as they are accompanied by other promotional efforts. These posts are not effective at convincing students to donate, especially if they don’t have information on where and how to donate. These posts should primarily be used as reminders, since it is true that many people read these posts, so long as these posts are not a fundraiser’s only form of promotion.

Maxim Yu said that he mostly discovered fundraisers and drives, “Through the school website, but I’m not really bothered to look at it.”

Not all fundraisers and drives at BHS are poorly organized, and now and then there are great ones that receive a lot of support from students, but fundraisers and drives as a whole need to improve, especially since there are so many great causes and respective groups here at BHS.

Posted on April 21, 2017 .