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Kick Off 

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Why is a Kick Off necessary?
This event is most likely different from any other fundraiser you’ve ever done.  Statistics show that those who attend Kick Off will raise three times more money than those who don’t, because they understand the event more clearly.  This event will clarify to your constituents (1) your mission (2) your event and (3) your need.  The Kick Off is intended to infuse passion for your parents/constituents as to why they are involved. 

What food do we serve?
Provide a full meal (potluck or catered) or a dessert to ensure best attendance.  Ensure quick food service (table service by students or double buffet lines). In order to “make money”, we suggest getting as many items donated as possible, i.e., local grocery may donate ground beef for your spaghetti dinner.  Have a few people reach out to local merchants for donated food items, supplies, etc.  

How do I set up/decorate?
Much care and attention should be given to make this evening very special. The details below are strictly logistics and hospitality items.
  • Sufficient tables, seats, plates, napkins, cutlery, etc. for guests
  • Set up room with registration table and materials per discussion with advisor
  • Use students to be hosts and serve
  • Secure drawing prizes (5-7)
  • Organize the staging area for speakers. Make sure there are sufficient audio PA systems, PowerPoint projector, screen and podium.
  • Oversee all food and beverage arrangements
  • Oversee all decorations and table center pieces
 Registration Information for Schools:
You will want to set up a registration area for families to check in when they arrive to Kick Off.  At registration you will want to print the Kick Off packet from your proof set and have a way to track who they were distributed to.  If you used incentives to encourage attendance you will want to hand these out at the end of the program to ensure parents have heard the presentation.
  •  Materials to Hand Out (Champion will provide these in your proof set. You will want to print one per family):
  • Sign Up Instructions
  • General Info Flyer
  • Fundraising Incentives
  • Sponsor Letter
  • Commitment Agreement
  • Fundraising Agreement
  • Tracking Sheet
  • Tickets or 3x5 cards for door prize registration
  • Good audio/visual capabilities (projector, screen and PA system)
 Childcare Arrangements
  • Kids eat with family then relocate away from meeting room to eliminate distractions during program
  • Have high school students or adults supervise children in gym, athletic fields, or classrooms for movies 

     Sample Kickoff Agenda.jpg

Should we have money raised before Kick Off?
Yes! A minimum of 10% of your goal should be raised prior to Kick Off.  This could include Host Team, Board of Directors, Staff and any highly involved volunteers.  For a highly successful event all of these should have raised their personal fundraising goal by Kick Off night.  At a minimum, each person identified in the list above should contact 10 people they know by phone, prior to the Kick Off, and ask for a pledge commitment.  The goal at the Kick Off is to be able to say something like: "I was a little nervous at first but have found people extremely willing to give.  I've called ten people, all ten have said yes, no one has said no.  I currently have $950 raised, and I've spent a total of 26 minutes from the comfort of my couch.   This process is easy.  You can do it!  Please join me and my family in the campaign."

Why do I need a calling committee?
Your Calling Committee is absolutely critical.  They are the ones ensuring direct communication to every family in the school or potential participant in your organization/ministry. They make up the “engine” that will literally drive the success of your campaign.
Around Week 10 of the timeline, you should conduct a training meeting to give them a list of their responsibilities, a timeline and any other useful information and dates you have. It would also be helpful to give them a sample phone script to use as they make phone calls to each family in their classroom. Following the homeroom volunteer training, contact all your homeroom volunteers each week to oversee and encourage them. Inspect what you expect. Make sure they are doing their jobs. Even though their jobs are limited in function, they are crucial to your success!

What is the Purpose & Strategy of Phone Call Campaign
To be good stewards of your event and to maximize the funds raised from it, phone calls should be made by a point person to every family.  Call between 7:00 pm and 8:30 pm to avoid leaving messages.  Experience shows that the ONLY way to truly move people to action is through talking to them directly –– emails, letters and voicemail messages will not work.
The point person should be a parent of a student in that organization (mom or dad).  Every group with 100% participation in the text/email campaign should receive a reward (ice cream party, pizza party, movie party, etc.)
Two Call Process
  1. The first call is to get key fundraisers to commit to having their website up and text/emails out by a specific date (end of the week). Caller needs to have already set up their website and have sent out text/emails.  Caller should be able to help with the basic aspects of registration and sending out text/ emails.
  2. The second call is a follow-up call the following week to every participant to make sure their text/emails have been sent. Because every family is busy, this follow-up call provides the accountability necessary to motivate people to follow through on their commitments. 

 How can I coach my calling committee in making strong phone calls?
  1. Always smile when talking! It communicates through the phone.
  2. Have a neat area in front of you, except your script, to eliminate distractions.
  3. Be enthusiastic! You are raising money for a great cause!  Choose to have FUN with the calls; inspire families to join yours for 100% participation.  Express appreciation.
Make sure your volunteers have the following information when making their calls.
  1. Date of event, location, schedule, other event details
  2. All incentives on the incentive sheet for students/teachers/families
  3. When is the deadline for all text/ emails to be sent
  4. When will parents be notified of what money is rec’d and from whom?
  5. How many texts/emails are required to be sent out to qualify for participation… usually 30 or more.
  6. If there is an adult event going along side the student event then the parent who is participating in the adult event will send out an ADDITIONAL 20 texts/emails as part of his/her entry fee
 
Sample Phone Script
Hello, Sandy?... This is ___________ .  My son ____ and your son ____ are in the same group.  Do you have a moment?...
The reason I’m calling is we’re trying to get every family in the class to participate in ­­­­­­­­­______________. I’ve been asked by____________ to call all the parents to make sure we get our individual family webpages set up and text/ emails out.  We sent our text/ emails out several weeks ago; I can’t tell you how easy it is and how little time it takes.
Right now your family is one of just several that hasn’t gotten their text/ emails out.  We’re trying to get all text/ emails out by this Friday and ask folks to make a followup call by the end of next week.  If we get 100% family participation in the email campaign, the kids will get a movie and ice cream party! 
Would your family be able to get your text/ emails out and by this Friday?....  Great!  I’ll call you early next week to touch base and make sure you don’t have any questions… 

How do we effectively tell our story to our participants?
Telling your story well is extremely important to conducting a successful fundraising campaign.  In most fundraising events, the focus is on simply being a participant who either writes a check to participate or actually fundraises.  However, strong fundraising is an outflow of a heart that is passionate about the cause.  When a person believes deeply in the cause and understands that he or she can make a true difference in that cause through fund raising, that person will always raise far more money.  So how do you connect your participant to your cause in a way that creates passion?  Tell your story well and often.
Heart Connection.  Tell your story in a way that connects your participants’ hearts.  Explain how your organization helps people and touches lives.
Hero Focus.  People want to be part of things that have significance.  In telling your story, message it in a manner that your participant becomes the hero.  Explain briefly how your organization helps people and emphasize how your participants become a direct force in helping other people through your event.  As you share your story, make your participant the hero of your story.
Elevator Pitch. Carefully craft the wording of your story and cause into several short word-bytes that clearly explains who you are and how you help people.  Craft your short message in a 10-second pitch (as if you’re standing in an elevator and answering the question, “What do you do?”) and a 30-second pitch.  Incorporate this wording in your written materials on event flyers, your website, Facebook page, etc.
Repetition.  Repeat your story message often and in different places – event materials, social media, emails, Kickoff night, weekly video clips.

How do we effectively connect our participants’ hearts to our cause?
Strong participant fundraising is directly proportional to how deeply their hearts are connected to your cause.  It’s important to tell your story well and often (see related FAQ), and it’s most important to engage your participants not at the head-level (what you do), but at the heart-level (how they can make a difference in helping other people).
Use Personal Testimonials.  Personal testimonials of people who have been helped by your organization are the undisputed best way to connect hearts.  These testimonials can be shared in emails, websites, social media, video clips and live.
Cardboard Testimonies.  Cardboard testimonies are the MOST effective method of telling your story and connecting hearts to your cause through testimonials.  The ideal place to use a cardboard testimonial is at your Kickoff Dinner in front of your audience of committed participants and potential recruits.  The cardboard testimonial involves having 15-20 people (who have each been touched through your organization) share their before/after story statement on a piece of cardboard.  In the length of one heart-focused song (4 minutes), all 15-20 of your testimonies can be showcased as each person walks to the stage center and silently presents their cardboard testimony.  Be sure to film your cardboard testimonies for use on your website and Facebook page.
Testimonial Video Clips.  Email and post a video testimonial each week during the final four weeks leading to your event day.  This is your active fundraising phase where participants are most engaged.  Take four of your most influential organizational members (board members, key donors, key staff) and have each one prepare a 3-minute video on why they love your organization, how you’ve impacted them and how fundraising can make a difference.
Make Participants Cry.  During your Kickoff program, focus the first part of the program on how your organization helps people.  Use cardboard testimonials and, at the end of the program, a short live testimonial.  Explain clearly how your participants can make a difference in people’s lives through the money they are raising.  Your goal is to make the audience cry three times – not because they’ve been manipulated, but because it demonstrates that their hearts have been deeply touched and that they’ve been connected to your mission at the heart-level.
Explain Impact Return on Investment:  To the degree you are able, explain a measurable “impact” return your organization will have for every dollar given (or every $100, or for every hour spent in fundraising).  For example, a well-known Christian film ministry that shows the Christian story throughout the world in different languages is able to clearly articulate that, for every dollar given, 10 people will see the movie and hear its message, and 1 of those 10 will convert to Christianity.  This powerful message connects hearts to the mission by explaining the return on investment (ROI) of every dollar raised.

What is a cardboard testimony?
Cardboard testimonies are the MOST effective method of telling your story and connecting hearts to your cause through testimonials.  The ideal place to use a cardboard testimonial is at your Kickoff Dinner in front of your audience of committed participants and potential recruits.  The cardboard testimonial involves having 15-20 people (who have each been touched through your organization) share their before/after story statement on a piece of cardboard.  In the length of one heart-focused song (4 minutes), all 15-20 of your testimonies can be showcased as each person walks to the stage center and silently presents their cardboard testimony.  Be sure to film your cardboard testimonies for use on your website and Facebook page.
Here is a sample of what one of our schools did: Sample Cardboard Testimony
Here are some tips for Cardboard Testimonies:
  1. It will take about 15 people to be a part of the video- start asking
  2. You will need to help them shorten their story (they are more likely to say yes if you help them with the words- I can also help you with this)
  3. You will need print free cardboard- any appliance store (especially Lowes or Home Depot) will have this for free
  4. Pick a song that is moving and tells a story
  5. Practice! This takes at least two walk throughs before it’s ready to be shown. 

What is the benefit to having door prizes?
Door prizes create excitement and energy around the Kick Off.  Suggestion would be to have 2-3 drawings during dinner and program.  These could be $20-$25 gift cards that you get donated.  We highly recommend a higher value item (house cleaning for a month, tuition credit, $200 Walmart card, Ipad, theme park tickets) for the last drawing of the night.  We recommend you do this from your commitment cards that are turned in at the end of the program.

How do I drive attendance for Kick Off?
One of our biggest challenges for all events is helping our clients understand how to adequately have a successfully attended Kick Off. Many clients make the mistake of just assuming that announcing the date or mailing an invitation will insure high attendance. We all wish that it were that easy!! Since the success of the Kick Off has a HUGE impact on the number of participants and the amounts they raise, please consider the following steps:
  • Step 1: Send “Save the Date” flyer to anyone who might be interested in attending. 
  • Step 2: E-Mail the Kick Off invitation to potential participants. This will be done automatically for you if you are using our iConnect Program and have chosen to use Auto Blast.
  • Step 3: Send an e-vite to potential participants and create an event on social media.
  • Step 4: If you are school consider sending home a bright flyer in school folders to remind parents or pass out the flyers in the carpool line. This can be as simple as the Kick Off invitation you already sent out!
  • Step 5: On social media announce a big give-away or great incentive that will draw participants to attend your Kick Off (tuition credit, gift certificate, gas card, vacation package, etc)
  • Step 6: Assemble your Calling Committee to make a personal phone call to all potential participants to ask for at least one family representative.
  • Step 7: Create a contest among team leaders or teachers for 100% team or class attendance.
  • Step 8: If you are a school offer a student incentive for parent attendance. (no uniform the next day at school, late pass the next day, no HW the next day, etc.) 

    Check out this video from a previous client for a wonderful example of a video invitation for your Kick Off event.

Who attends Kick Off?
One of our biggest challenges for all events is helping our clients understand how to adequately have a successfully attended Kick Off. Many clients make the mistake of just assuming that announcing the date or mailing an invitation will insure high attendance. We all wish that it were that easy!
Kick Off is a family event and for the sake of attendance we encourage that you create a family atmosphere.  We recommend you invite anyone you know that has a heart and passion for your school, organization or ministry including alumni, past volunteers and extended family of current constituents.  In a school setting encourage attendance from at least one parent if the entire family is unable to attend.

Do we need a RSVP?
Typically clients do not do a RSVP.  However, if you are having a catered meal that and need a specific count, there are many resources available to you to obtain this information.  We recommend you evaluate what works best for your constituents.

How do I select a venue?
If you are a school we recommend you do it at your facility, if you can accommodate it.  For a ministry it often works well to have someone host it in their home.  For organizations, we recommend finding a common space that will accommodate the size of group your expect to have for Kick Off.         
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