Event of the Week: Santa Ynez High School Girls Volleyball Pre-sells for Success


Car Wash for a Cause, With a Twist

Summertime can sometimes mean a lull for fundraising. School is out. Potential donors are on holiday. Most folks are taking it easy and not thinking too much about anything beyond how to beat the heat. But, at the end of the season, important programs and projects still need all the support they can get, so you shouldn’t shy away from planning a fun summer event.

On July 22, 2012, Janelle Johnston and the Santa Ynez High School Girls Volleyball Program did just that. Girls Volleyball is a favorite fall sport at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, where the Pirates hail from, and like many high athletic teams, it needs to look to the community for extra support from time to time.

Ticket Sales Ensure Success

A carwash is a favorite fundraiser for many organizations. The overhead is pretty low. A parking lot, access to soap and water and volunteers are all that’s really needed. The summer fundraising season sees many of these. Most rely on signs and the tireless enthusiasm of their volunteers to attract a crowd.

The Pirates realized a little extra preplanning would ensure their success. They decided to sell tickets to the carwash before the event. The girls got the idea to sell tickets for a carwash came from the basketball team, which held a similar, very successful fundraiser about a month and a half before.

“Their tickets looked so great and pre-selling worked so well for them,” Janelle explained.  We were inspired to do the same.  We made twice as much as we usually do at car washes, so we are very happy with the results!”

The tickets added an extra dimension to what could have been a regular run-of-the-mill car washing event. The collateral was simple but professional and bore the school’s pirate mascot, as well as the date and time of the event.

There’s no magic formula when it comes to trying a new fundraising tactic. The novelty is sometimes enough. With tickets sold ahead of time, drivers don’t need to make a spur of the moment decision to have their car washed. They can redeem the ticket at any time on event day or not at all. Tickets allow potential donors to contribute, without feeling obligated to follow through.

Direct Sales and Word of Mouth: Invaluable

“The girls were just asked to sell to friends and family and some also sold tickets in front of a local grocery store.  The only other advertising we used was an email announcement by a friend with many contacts in our community,” Janelle said.

For events like carwashes, direct sales and word of mouth advertising are invaluable. It’s important for participants to see who they are contributing to. Sometimes it helps if they can put a face to the cause. A personal connection can make all the difference.

And in the case of this particular event, it certainly did.

“Our plan is to do the same thing next summer but with a little more time for the girls to sell.  We anticipate being able to raise all the money our program needs with the one car wash next year!”

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