For many schools, the money that is raised through school fundraisers allows the school system to obtain extra necessities and supplies that they might have had to go without during each school year. Running a school fundraiser can be a difficult and time-consuming job, and it will take several involved people to make the fundraiser a success.
- PTO-Parent/teacher organizations and associations often take over the responsibility of running a school fundraiser. Typically, these organizations already have a working budget that continues to be adjusted from one year to the next. The officers of a PTO are usually given specific duties with regards to school fundraisers, including planning, implementing, and budgeting. A PTO generally decides ahead of time what the focus of the fundraiser or fundraisers will be, such as purchasing new playground equipment, stocking more library shelves, or upgrading a new computer lab. For those wanting to help with school fundraising, a parent/teacher organization is a good place to start. Memberships in these associations are typically open throughout the year, and new members are needed and welcome.
- Set a Goal-Before any successful fundraiser can begin, an attainable goal must be set. Goals and projects should be chosen based on the needs of a particular department or the school system as a whole. For example, a high school band may choose to run a fundraiser to raise money for new band instruments. The arts club may need new art supplies, and the cheerleaders may wish to finance their trip to a state cheerleading competition. Once a goal has been set, those involved in running the fundraiser will be more focused on attaining that goal. Keep in mind that the goal needs to be realistic, however. An unreachable goal will do little more than discourage those who have worked so hard in trying to make the fundraiser a success.
- Organize-Once a goal has been set and a project has been chosen, it's time to get organized. The best way to begin a fundraiser is to divide those willing to work into groups or committees. In many cases, the groups may be comprised of teachers, parents, and students. It's always a good idea to balance out each committee, making sure that at least one responsible adult is in charge. Each group should be given a specific task, along with any information that might be pertinent to their responsibilities and any deadlines that must be met. There should also be one or two people who are in charge of the entire fundraiser. This person should periodically check in with the rest of the groups to discuss any problems and/or progress.
- Security-Security has become a major issue surrounding the running of fundraisers. No longer are children encouraged to go door to door on their own selling fundraising items. In fact, it has now become an unspoken rule that children must be accompanied by an adult when they attempt to sell items to others. This is a good practice and should be adopted by every fundraising committee.
- Money-Fundraising can involve a lot of money, and this money must be handled carefully. Receipts and records of items sold and paid for must be accurately kept. Money should be deposited quickly in a special account, and there should be at least two people in charge of checking the books and balancing the receipts. Any problems regarding money should be brought before the planning committee and handled immediately.
- Ideas-Finally, once a project or goal has been identified, fundraising ideas must be chosen. In the past, it was common for students to sell cookies and candy at their schools. With the ever-increasing focus on school nutrition, however, many state systems have banned items such as cookie, candy, and soft drinks from school menus and vending machines, and fundraisers which feature these items have been forbidden as well. Candles, school spirit items, mugs, and magazines are still popular fundraising items, however, and there are many places to order fundraising packets on the Internet. Check to see how long the item has been sold by the company to get an idea if it is a good seller. Advertise the item ahead of time, and be sure to have a good supply when you begin to sell. Above all, promote your item through posters, class announcements, and featured displays around the area.