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5 Principles For A Profitable Fundraiser

Coordinating an elementary school fundraising campaign is a lot of work, but for most, it’s a labor of love.  From coordinating all the duties of the team members, to holding meetings to directing advertising procedures–the details are many!   Countless hours of work are put into this type of activity, and meeting or even exceeding one’s financial goal is the name of the game.  There are some strategies one can use to make sure the projected goal is more easily achieved.

5 Principles For A Profitable Fundraiser
5 Principles For A Profitable Fundraiser

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!

Regardless of what products you intend to sell, whether it might be cutlery or candy bars, or what service you plan to offer, such as a school carnival, there’s one thing that is of prime importance:  get the word out!  Use a myriad of avenues, through which, the community can become informed.   A few suggestions include:

1— Mass emails sent out to parents and PTO Members is a great way to jumpstart the campaign process.  This should be done 6-8 weeks prior to the actual start of the fundraiser.  Other email reminders can be sent out 3-4 weeks before the start date and then, again, several days before the big day.

2— Display a colorful, artistic message on a good-sized white board in the school’s office.  Place in a prominent spot; and it will serve as a constant reminder to all who see it.  Having a ‘countdown of days’ until the big day arrives would be a fun piece of daily info to include on the display.

3— Use other means to serve as posts and reminders:  lunch menus that are sent home, newsletters, websites, the schools intranet and outdoor signs.  If you live in a small town you might even be able to convince the local newspaper publisher to offer a small, free space where you can advertise your event.

Less is More!

If at all possible, try to hold only one fundraiser per school year.   Research indicates parents and others are more likely to buy more if they realize they have only one chance to do so.  Focus on one major fundraiser—reap more results with fewer campaigns!

Promote Items as Potential Gifts!

This is where choosing the items for the fundraiser gets selective.  A customer is not very likely to think of pizza kits, cookie dough or wrapping paper as gifts for someone else.  But when you offer your customers items such as candles in tins, or dinner-and-a-movie gift cards or even quaintly-packaged coffee samples, you’ve narrowed down the items that would be absolutely perfect for gift-giving, for virtually anyone.  Chances are, many customers will buy for themselves and for someone else, as well.

Don’t hesitate to mention birthdays, Mother’s & Father’s Day gifts, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc.

Indicate the Need!

If children (with accompanying adults) go door to door, have them wear a larger-sized, sticky-backed nametag that promotes what the fundraiser is all about, such as: “PLEASE HELP US BUY PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT” or “PLEASE HELP US BUY A COMPUTER”.   Most customers will have a hard time saying, “no” when the need is known and a child makes the request.

Timing is Everything!

Do some checking to see when other schools might be holding fundraisers.  In a perfect world, it would be nice to be the first group to ‘sell your wares’ since having a fundraiser 2 weeks after a different school has had theirs would, probably, have a negative impact on your sales.

Best wishes for fun and productive fundraising events!

Writing has become a wonderful compliment to my career as an educator.  Decades of teaching have really served my research and content on the topic of fundrasing. – Karen, Iowa.

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