In this economy, especially in California where I live, school fundraisers are necessary to support school programs and make up for budget cuts. Great school fundraisers prevent many school programs from being scaled back or eliminated all together. There does come a point when parents and students alike reach what I like to call “fundraiser burn-out”. This problem not only effects the parents who are responsible for the majority of the work involved, but the neighbors and relatives who get asked to purchase what seems to be a never ending supply of magazines, cookie dough, candy and the like. It is no wonder why people reach fundraiser burn-out by this time of year.
So, how can we avoid the dreaded fundraiser burn-out?
- Don’t do too many fundraisers. Many schools do not even keep track of the fundraisers that are going on. There could be a school wide fundraiser companies that give in-kind donations and multiple class fundraisers going on at the same time. Principals should monitor the fundraising that is going on at all times and limit it to one school wide fundraiser per semester.
- Set goals and reward those who do well. As with most successful programs, fundraisers work best with defined goals. These should be written down and posted around the school. Also, reward the kids who sell the most items. Kids want to be recognized for their hard work, so don’t skimp on the prizes.
- Research what other schools are doing for their school fundraiser. You don’t want to be selling the same thing as a school in your neighborhood. Also, ensure you have a unique fundraiser. There are many creative school fundraising ideas out there, so find a good one and do it right.
- Find fresh volunteers. We all know there is always a specific set of people who volunteer for everything. However, resist the urge to call on them for every school fundraiser. Make sure to ask for new volunteers often so you do not wear out your faithful supporters.
- Think of some new creative school fundraising ideas. Try to think of things that don’t feel like a fundraiser to the parents. Art based school fundraisers are a good example of school fundraising ideas that do not cause fundraiser burn-out because the parents aren’t asked to “bug” their friends and family.
- Find other ways to add to your bottom line. Talk to your school photographer to see if they will donate a percentage of their sales back to support the school. Many school photographers will offer other unique fundraising ideas that will not compete with school fundraisers you are doing.
Never let fundraising distract you from your school’s purpose, to educate the kids! I recently heard of a school that was selling points that could be added to kid’s grades, that is completely contradictory to everything a school stands for. Make sure you are honest and ethical in everything you do because the kids will know if you aren’t. This is rarely an issue with schools as most educators’ primary focus is the well being of the kids. Keeping these things in mind will ensure a successful school fundraiser every time!