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School Fundraising 101

Think your child's school needs some help raising money? Here's how to get started.
school fundraising 101
By: Rebecca Desfosse

School fundraising helps raise money for your child's school. Rather than just asking for donations, fundraising is typically an event or a service you provide. School fundraisers may be used to help buy or upgrade the school library, maintain general upkeep, build a new playground, or even to provide scholarships to graduating students. Thanks to budget cuts, there's not a lot of money in school funding left over for non-essentials. That's where you as the parents at the school can help out. Here's what you need to know to get started fundraising for your child's school:

1. Name Your Goal

School Fundraising 101

Need bookshelves in the library? More gym equipment? A brand-spanking new playground? Clarify your intention from the get go. How much money do you need? Will the school pitch in or will you be raising the money solo? Now is the time to set budgets and estimates for your goals. For example, if you are building a new playground, get quotes and estimates on everything you'll need. This way, you can gain a clear picture of the amount you'll need to raise. You'll also be able to establish things like the number of event tickets or products you'll need to sell and the selling price. You might even need to run more than one fundraiser for a specific goal. Naming your goal isn't just for the financial aspect, however. Clarifying specifically what you're raising money for can help increase engagement. If you can show the general public that they can do something that will truly help the school and the community, you will get more people involved. Kids will get excited and tell their parents. Parents will offer to volunteer, donate or help out with the fundraiser. Even people in the community who aren't personally involved with the school will be enticed to get involved.

2. Pick a Fundraiser

There are hundreds, if not thousands of possible fundraising ideas – and countless more that people haven't even come up with yet. The best fundraisers include a fun experience that not only raise money, but also raise awareness. Here are some ideas:

  • Bake sale
  • Selling a product (wrapping paper, candles, chocolates, etc.)
  • School dance
  • Gift auction
  • Carnival/fair
  • Car wash
  • Fun run
  • Collecting box tops
  • Book sale

3. Market, Market, Market

Once you have chosen your fundraiser and set a date, your main goal is to market the heck out of it. Refer back to number one and make sure to convey the message of your ultimate goal in all of your marketing campaigns. Show the general public why they should care and that they can make a real difference in their community. But more importantly, get it in front of as many faces as possible. No one is going to contribute to a fundraiser for a cause they know nothing about. Send out direct mailings to possible interested parties. Print advertisements in the local newspapers. Send flyers home with the kids. Use social media to your best advantage. Encourage others to spread the message around as well.

4. Execute It

School Fundraising 101

Your last step, of course, is to actually execute the fundraiser. But, first, let's back up a little bit. In order to execute the fundraiser seamlessly, you're going to need a team of volunteers to help you in every step of the process. Figure out the areas you need help in and how many people you'll need on your team. Start reaching out to those who can help, such as students, teachers, the PTA and more. Next, organize a list of tasks required and assign these tasks to those team members best suited for the job. Put all information into one place, such as an application like Google Docs, where team members can update with their progress. On the date of the fundraiser, make sure all of your members know their assigned tasks and are all on the same page. Keep it fun and cheerful. Mistakes and problems are bound to crop up, but the best fundraisers make a terrific impression despite those occurrences.

School fundraising can make a huge difference in your child's school. If you see a need for fundraising, don't hesitate to bring it up to your school's PTA or jump right in and start planning.


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