|Every once in a while, exceptional educational opportunities for students arise unexpectedly—deals on trips, special events, extracurricular experiences or even new technology. Unfortunately, not all of these opportunities can be pursued, because they weren’t previously budgeted. But, before you write off these opportunities as “not happening,” consider making them possible through fundraising!Ditch the overused candy and baked goods sales, and get back to fundraising basics by keeping things simple and cost-effective:|
- Get students involved. Host a talent show or a battle of the bands, and charge a nominal entry fee for non-participating students and their families. Be sure to advertise the event as a fundraiser to increase interest and attendance.
- Show team spirit. Purchase promotional items in bulk to sell at sporting events, parent-teacher conference nights and various community events. Recruit parent volunteers or the PTA to coordinate sales, and keep products timeless by focusing on school spirit. A Knit Beanie, a sweatshirt or a Sweatshirt Blanket are all popular options.
- Partner with corporations or local businesses. Many well-known brands have established funds available to assist local schools. Be sure to check out Target’s Field Trip Grant Program or their Take Charge of Education program. Don’t forget the highly successful Box Tops for Education program through General Mills. Other organizations exist to facilitate fundraising programs through recycling or discount card sales. FundingFactory.com turns spent printer cartridges and old cell phones into cash for your school, as does RRewards.com, while EasyFundraisingIdeas.com can facilitate partnerships with local businesses to create rewards or discount cards for students to use within the community.
- Hold raffles or fundraising competitions for students and community members, and find a local organization willing to match donations. Raffle items could include impressive Fresco Wine Coolers or Tune Time Tool Cases, while prizes for most successful participants could include personalized Wilson Leather Footballs or Electronic Brain Trainer Games.
- Reach out to alumni. Ask that past football players support current football players, or former choir members donate to the current choir, in order to make these special opportunities possible. Alumni can recall and relate better than anyone to the experience and memories that special events and opportunities can provide.
Once you’ve settled on a tactic, communicate to students, parents and the community the plans to fundraise and why extra dollars are needed. Place emphasis on both the tangible and intangible benefits to those students participating in these special opportunities. If the opportunity truly is exceptional, support is likely to come naturally.
Also be prepared with a contingency plan—what if only partial funds are raised? Where will additional dollars come from or where will unused dollars go?
Don’t let students miss out on fun events or opportunities just because the budget falls short! Get creative and rally the community to get back to the basics and jumpstart fundraising efforts.