School fundraising is a necessity. Not just in order to make up for budget cuts in the school systems but also to enhance and enrich the school experience for the students, teachers and the families. While it would be nice if taxpayers paid for things such as graduation parties, teaching supplies, snacks, music and art programs, and the like, it just isn’t possible to fund all the extra things that schools would like to provide. That’s why parent organizations, clubs and teams need to raise the money themselves.
Fundraising activities should be as few as possible what is an in-kind donation and as effective as possible. Your organization’s mission is not fundraising, however, you must fundraise in order to support your mission. This is something that needs to be communicated by your organization in order get the volunteers and the help you need to carry out your mission.
Less is more when it comes to fundraising. Most parents are continually being asked to contribute their time and money to the many activities they and their children are involved in. So pick your fundraisers wisely.
The first step in establishing a school fundraising calendar is to decide on a budget for each activity that your parent organization or club will be sponsoring in the coming year. Then, look at how much money you already have available and how much you need to raise. After that, then you can decide on your fundraising activities.
The following is a model calendar with fundraising suggestions. Of course, your organization cannot do them all. A good rule of thumb to follow is to hold no more than one to two event fundraisers and no more than two or three product sales per semester. These activities require more time and volunteer participation to conduct and should be combined with the more passive year-round fundraisers.
September: Ice cream socials during Back to School Night, Entertainment book sales, spirit wear sales, child identification programs. Take advantage of back to school nights to let parents know what is planned for the coming year and how they can help. State your budget and goals. Have volunteer sign-up sheets and get email addresses and phone numbers of parents. You probably will not have another opportunity to have the majority of your parents together at school.
October: Fall book fairs, product sales such as gift wrap, gourmet foods and other items that can be used for gift-giving. Halloween and Harvest themed events such as carnivals and bulb and plant sales.
November: Early November is a good time for an annual event such as a gala with a theme and fundraisers such as craft fairs, wreath sales, and ornament sales.
December: This is a busy time of year when it may be difficult to find volunteers. There are also many charities asking for money during the holiday season. Community service projects, fundraising for the benefit of other organizations, are worthwhile activities. Winter festivals, gift wrapping at malls, and holiday shoppes, where children can buy inexpensive presents, are fundraising possibilities.
January: Usually there is not much fundraising done during January because of winter vacation and the start of a new semester. Use this time to plan and organize and recruit volunteers for the rest of the year. You can start with themed product sales such as Valentine’s Day candies and gifts.