Cheerleaders spend a lot of time fundraising. This helps cover the cost of competition fees, travel, uniforms, warmups, poms, and other cheer gear, but it also gives cheerleaders the chance to interact with their school and community. Here are five things to know about fundraising:

  1. Don't just do it once a year. Summer is a popular time for fundraising, but if you only do it in the summer when other cheer squads are doing their fundraisers, you won't get as much support. Plan some fundraisers when other teams aren't fundraising so that your supporters' attention will be totally on you! Take advantage of different holidays and times of year. You can sell holiday gifts, provide child care on Valentine's Day, set up a booth at community festivals, and anything else you can think of to squeeze in fundraisers different times of the year. Be creative and have fun with it!

  2. Follow up after your event. Your team will definitely be running another fundraiser in the future, so to encourage repeat support, make sure you follow up with your supporters! Thank them for helping your squad and update them on how the fundraiser went. Depending on the event, you can send supporters letters or post cards, speak to them in person, send an email, or post on social media. Let them know how much money you raised and what you bought or are going to buy with it. If your fundraiser is set up like a Facebook event or other web page, post images throughout the season of your team using the uniforms and other gear you bought with the money raised. This will let people know you appreciate them and that their support really made a difference, plus it will keep your squad at the forefront of their minds until next time!

  3. Keep it simple. The best way to ensure a successful event is to make sure it is carefully planned. As a cheer squad, you can't possibly have the time and personnel to successfully pull off an intricate fundraiser. A fundraiser that is simple and efficient is all you need. Extra details may sound fun, but they'll only get in the way. Be open to new ideas, but don't be afraid to stick to tried-and-true fundraising methods. If a car wash or bake sale has worked well for you in the past, there's no reason to change the plan now!

  4. Find ways to double your fundraising efforts. You can have a fundraiser within a fundraiser by holding a car wash and selling t-shirts or treats at it, for example. Another simple and proven way to double your fundraising efforts is to use scratch-off donation cards. Fundraising company Fun"D"2Raise sells cards for $5 that bring in $250 each. All you do is have a supporter scratch off a section of the card to reveal how much money he or she will donate. The donation amounts range from $.75 to $3, so it won't be unreasonable for your supporters, but a completed card gives your team $250! This is easy to combine with car washes and other fundraisers, or even to take door to door or run through the stands with at your next game.FunD2Raise

  5. Team up. You can expand your outreach by partnering with another team at your school to hold a fundraiser. You could do a potluck where different teams are in charge of bringing different items, or you can sell t-shirts or other items at a game. Another idea is to partner with a local business or nonprofit in your community. Especially during the winter months, there are plenty of opportunities for you to use your fundraising experience for a good cause.

What do you think cheerleaders need to know about fundraising?