Fundraising is a hot topic right now as finding added income for school programs gets more and more important with budget cuts! (Be sure to read San Diego Family’s article “10 Fun Ways to Raise Funds” in the September 2013 issue for more ideas and resources.)
1. Needs vs. Wants
Focus on doing fundraisers for items parents really need and want, rather than items that don’t hold much value to them. Many parents don’t want to buy cookie dough or wrapping paper, but that’s what schools often offer.
2. Go Local
Partner with local businesses that have a vested interest in the parent community. As we all know, moms represent the majority of household spending. Local establishments know this and are always willing to forge authentic connections to attract and retain mom’s business. Leverage the mom customer to the business! Consider a weekly pizza night at a local restaurant where a percentage of the proceeds go to your school.
One really wonderful idea we have seen that works is creating a shopping night for your school or neighborhood. You sign up local businesses for a given night and they donate back a certain percent of their proceeds to your school.
Make everything you do social and fun! There’s “real world” social and social media social. Both are great. Parents love an excuse to get together and do interesting things. For those that love an in-person event, consider a Taco Tuesday or parent mixer night at a favorite taqueria where cover charges go to your school, or the classic staple event, a school auction. All of these real-world social events can lead to social media conversation to spread the word about what you’re doing.
4. Pace yourselves
Don’t go to the well too often. This is true of your parent community as well as the businesses you work with. You need a few well-planned school fundraisers each season, but don’t do one every week. Parents and local businesses don’t want to feel that they need to open their wallets at every turn!
Use technology. There are some really wonderful ways to use social media and technology that move us way beyond the old bake sale! Schoola.com is a great example. You can buy wonderful discounted offers and up to 35 percent of your purchase goes back to schools. The event features social tools so parents can spread the word to the school community and beyond. Sites like Fundly and IndieGoGo are also great fundraising donation sites that have social tools built into their system.
Stacey Boyd is a former school administrator and mom founder of Savvy Source, a national resource on finding good schools.
Published: August 2013