School fundraising has become a necessity for many schools to stay afloat. In order to maintain literacy programs, extracurricular activities, and classroom supplies, both public and private schools run fundraising programs in which their students participate. Traditionally, these fundraisers involve students selling candy, popcorn, or other items either through catalogues, door to door sales, auctions or raffles. According to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers (AFRDS), each year, non-profit groups net approximately $1.7 billion by selling products. Some parents are beginning to grow weary of helping their children sell unwanted or unused products and ultimately buying these products themselves as a method of supporting their children’s schools. Although school administrators recognize that school fundraising is not ideal, they also understand that it is a necessity to keep the schools running smoothly and effectively.
I am going to have to get a 2nd job just to be able to support my family & friends kids with all the school fundraisers.
— Tammi Byers (@tammibyers) October 17, 2013
I'm definitely feeling tapped out when it comes to school fundraisers! Are you? http://t.co/sigw0HrsH3
— urbanmamas (@urbanmamas) October 11, 2013
Fundraisers that simply involve selling candy or candles may generate money, but they don’t necessarily add much value for communities or the students involved beyond the money they raise. Furthermore, if you’re buying something you don’t really want, you’d be much better off making a direct donation, where 100% of the money you gave goes to the school and you don’t end up collecting unwanted teddy bears. If you’re tired of your kids selling things that your neighbors don’t really need, try suggesting some of these ideas for your school’s next fundraiser:
Plant Trees: Ask a nursery for seedling donations and then ask additional donors to sponsor a tree. This is a great opportunity for kids to learn a practical skill, and has the added benefit of beautifying your community.
Walk-a-thon: Plan a route and a date, and ask for pledges from donors for each mile walked. Walk-a-thons foster great conversation with your fellow walkers and are a great way to get active.
Cleanup Fundraiser: Choose a community to cleanup, and ask donors to give an amount for specific goals. For instance, they could donate a dollar amount per pounds of trash picked up, number of parks cleaned, or distance of road side cleaned.
Sell Rock Salt or Toilet Paper: It may still be door to door sales, but these are things that people will need to buy anyway, so you don’t have the guilt of pushing unwanted trinkets. Rock salt can be especially valuable to your community in winter, as it keeps your sidewalks dry and safe. With that in mind, you could also include a shoveling and salting of buyers’ driveways and sidewalks with their purchase.
Dodge Ball Tournament: Set up a tournament bracket and have a registration fee for teams to sign up and participate.
-Allie Wilde, Engagement and Marketing Intern, Matt Beachey, Engagement and Communications Specialist