Every year it’s the same old story; costs rise, budgets are cut and parents and students are left to fill in the gap. Cue a stream of the same-old fundraisers – wrapping paper, candy bars and magazines. Boring. Parents aren’t the only ones who cringe at the thought of asking everyone they know to buy another roll of over-priced wrapping paper. Teachers dread taking time a way of learning and asking parents to partake in fundraisers. With rising prices and looming budget cuts, it is a necessity. But does it have to be the same old same? No!
Here are eight ideas to liven up your fundraising efforts. Sprinkle a few (or all) of these ideas on your calendar to avoid the mundane money makers and put the fun back into fundraising.
1) Dine Out – Appeal to mom’s desire for a night off from cooking by partnering with a restaurant for a fundraising dinner. By teaming up with a family-friendly, local joint on a “slow night” all parties win. The restaurant fills empty tables, your organization gets a portion of the evenings proceeds and mom doesn’t have to cook!
2) Go Green – These days new tech replaces old tech at lightning speed. Do the planet and your budget a favor by teaming up with an organization that recycles old cell phones, ink cartridges and small electronics. A recycling program has the added benefit of teaching students about the importance of recycling and helping parents clean out their junk drawers while earning cash for your school.
3) Create a Wish List – For many parents it is customary to bestow gifts upon teachers. Often those much appreciated gifts are… well… it’s the thought that counts! Instead of these well-meaning mystery gifts, ask parents to contribute to your cause. Fundraising for playground equipment or in need of supplies? Create a registry of sorts with SignUpGenius and turn the gift-giving season into a fundraiser.
4) Collect ‘Em – It’s no secret schools face budget cuts, which is why companies offer programs like Box Tops for Education. Because it’s a free program (for the school and parents), there is no reason not to participate in the opportunity. Many schools have found that incentivizing Box Top collections significantly increases participation.
5) All The World’s A Stage – The sweetest sound to a parent is their little one’s totally off-key performance. Fundraise for arts programs by performing sweet songs or displaying colorful masterpieces in a student showcase. Invited guests will delight in their kiddo’s talent and painlessly part with an admission fee to be used to encourage their budding artist’s talent.
6) Parent’s Night Out – Want a fundraiser to really appeal to parents? Give ‘em what they want -- a little time. If you have the resources (i.e. willing teachers), organize a Parent’s Night Out. For a fee parents can drop off their students during an after-school hours evening of fun. Make it a fun night with a pizza party, perhaps a few games and lots of laughter. The key is to make it appeal to kids and parents so that everyone wants to come back for more.
7) Family Bonding – Encourage family ties with a special event designed for a little one-on-one time with a daddy/daughter or mommy/son dance. (The mere mention of such an event reminded you of one you attended as a child, didn’t it?) It’s so old school that it is new again. Pull out all of the stops offering a concession stand, photo booth and memento also available… for a small fee. Coordinate volunteers and organize your event online so everyone can be involved in some way. See how.
8) Opt Out - Even the best fundraiser will meet some opposition. Don’t fight unwilling parental participants; offer an option everyone can live with. Allow those who wish to opt out of fundraising campaigns, to contribute to the cause in lieu of fundraising. You can use SignUpGenius Payments to create a Capital Campaign Sign Up. You will save time, energy and a lot of frustration by offering parents an option. Bonus: without the overhead cost you may even find those contributions are more than your sales.
May your fundraising endeavors be as fun as there are successful!
Jennifer Burg is a flip-flop wearing, Gator-loving, picture-taking, deal-hunting Florida gal. As an overachieving mom of two awesome daughters, making to-do lists helps her remain calm and (somewhat) organized. When she's not planning events and party sign-ups, you can find her blogging at www.TheSuburbanMom.com.