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How Can I Make Money for My School?

Choose the Right School Fundraiser!

School fundraising might not be a popular topic to talk about. But the fact of the matter is that darn near every school in America needs to raise money. The question isn't whether or not to hold a school fundraiser, the problem is how do you choose the best school fundraiser.

We just got back from a large state's PTA conference and are more convinced now than ever before that our Read-a-thon System is the best school fundraiser anywhere. At least for elementary and pre school age students. The same might even be true for middle schools.

Let's talk about some of the reasons why.

You're Reading Anyway!

I would hope that students in your school are either reading or are being read to. If they are not you can probably stop reading this article because we might not be your option. But out of the hundreds and hundreds of PTA's and teachers we spoke to at the conference every single one said their students were in fact reading in class.

So, since your students are reading in class, why not consider a reading event where your readers can get friends and family to support their participation with a donation? You can incorporate it into your regular curriculum or you can create a two-week event where the focus of the entire school is on reading.

The worst that will happen if you try holding a readathon is that your students will focus on reading. The best case is that this will be the best fundraiser you've ever held. We will show you the potential here in a minute.

We invite you to check out our read-a-thon calculator to see how much money your school can raise. Click here


 

The Perfect School Fundraiser

When you think about it, there are a variety of ways that schools can raise money. Most involve things that are entirely outside the scope of a typical school day or can be huge projects in and of themselves.

It would be a huge stretch of the imagination to incorporate a product fundraiser into a school curriculum. While you could make an argument that a fun run makes sense because it's theme is fitness. But a quick search of the internet shows lots of complaints even about those types of fundraisers.

But what would happen if you could raise the money you needed simply by spending time reading in the class room or at home?

The first complaint from some people is that the school day is already completely full so there's absolutely no extra time to throw in a read-a-thon. But that ignores the fact that most kids spend some time during the day reading. So why not allocate that time as a read-a-thon reading session and monetize what you're already doing?

 


Would You Sponsor a Reader?

We asked everyone at the PTA show this simple question: If your child, grandchild or niece or nephew came to you and said "I'm so excited. I'm going to participate in a reading event and I need to get some people to sponsor me. I was really hoping you would do that. Would you be a sponsor?"

What would you say? Could you say no? We don't think so. So if you would sponsor them don't you also think lots of family members and friends would sponsor a child participating in a read-a-thon?

It would have been interestring to ask the same people a slightly different question.

I wonder what percentage would have said they would purchase a tub of cookie dough or some small gift items from a gift brochure. It would be pure speculation but I feel confident you would not get a unanimous yes.

Why Do Product Fundraisers Fail?

If we are saying our Read-a-thon system is the best school fundraiser anywhere you might wonder what we are comparing it to. So let's look at some of the biggest differences between our Read-a-thon system and a cookie dough fundraiser or a seasonal gift brochure.

Let's say you start your product fundraiser with a company that has a local rep and they do a great job for you. They come to your school and run a fun kick off assembly. You give your students their brochures right after you get them pumped up and then you send them off into the world to sell and conquer.

But for the next two weeks you really don't have any visibility into who is selling or how much they are selling. At best you might get teachers to remind the students to sell but the direction and motivational chat would be general in nature.

With our system you have real time visibility into how each reader is performing. We then give you the best tools to communicate daily with each reader and their families. And those communications are based on the progress each particular reader has made.

You will not be sitting hoping and praying for the best. You can manage effectively.

Reach Way More Sponsors

Let's once again compare our Readathon with a cookie dough fundraiser. When your student comes home with their cookie dough brochure you are fairly limited with who you can show the brochure to. Very involved parents will show the brochure to friends and neighbors. You might even take it to your office and ask coworkers to place orders.

But the fact of the matter is that you are limited to selling to people who live or work near you.

Our system opens up the pool of potential sponsors to anyone anywhere in the world. We provide all of the tools to contact and inform people you know throughout the world using suggestive email tools, social media campaigns and even custom printed brochures.

 


But There's More

So if you're not convinced yet that this is the best school fundraiser ever let's go over a couple more reasons we know it's the best:

1. Your readers don't collect the money. We do. So there's no cash or checks to worry about.

2. We do all the record keeping. Just think about that. No, really, think about how much grief and hard work that eliminates.

3. There's no product to sell or deliver.

So I hope you're convinced and are ready to start the best school fundraiser anywhere.

Still Not Convinced this is the Best School Fundraiser?

Okay, you are not convinced.

Let's talk about product fundraisers for a second. Let me start by suggesting even the companies that offer product fundraisers realize that those types of school fundraising ideas are less and less successful. That's true because pricing has gotten out of hand and no one wants to dramatically overpay for anything. The other reason is participation levels. Schools that used to have participation levels of 50% or more now struggle to get 30% of the kids involved. Then finally these fundraisers fail because there are simply not enough potential customers. If you're lucky and your parents are allowed to leave a fundraising brochure in the lunch room at work you might get multiple buyers. But even then people frown on that because they don't want every parent bringing their brochures and bugging people.

Hopefully you see why selling products may not be the best elementary school fundraiser. So let's look at some other options.

1. Fun Run: If your school isn't going to hold a read-a-thon then you might consider one of the fun run events. Our thoughts are reading makes more sense since you are already reading. But if you don't mind holding a fairly large scale event and accepting pledges then fun runs are certainly worth taking a look at..

2. Book Fair: Lots of schools and school libraries hold book fairs every year. The school sets up a portable book store somewhere in the school. The students get money from their parents to spend on books and other small toys at the store. The school makes a small profit on every item that is purchased. The best known provider of book fairs is Scholastic.

3. Box Tops: This is a great program offered by General Mills. It's a smart move by the company to promote their brands in a cost effective way while giving the school the opportunity to raise some money. Basically the school gets families to buy General Mills producproducts and clip the Box Top logo on the packaging. The school gets a bit of money for each box top it collects. It's not a huge money maker but it's one of those fundraisers thatmakes no sense to ignore.

4. School Carnival: Years ago many schools or parent groups help carnivals.The school would plan all year for the event and would try to get as many activities as possible to make it the place to be for the students and their families. There were so many ways to monetize the event. The reason you see far fewer carnivals now is that they require an enormous amount of volunteers and volunteer hours and kids have so many more entertainment options now. But if you have the manpower a carnival could raise lots of money.

5. Bake Sale: Bake sales have been around forever and they are one of the best ways to raise money for your school. You do it in a couple steps. First send home a note to parents letting them know that you are planning a bake sale. Let them know you need them to do two things. First you want them to bake something good and bring it to the school before the actual sale. The other thing you want them to do is give their kids some money to spend on baked goods the day of your sale. Notice that there's no cost for the baked goods that you will sell to make money. You can't make higher profit margin than 100%.