Proven steps to successful fundraising

Fundraising2Unfortunately, school fundraising seems to be a necessity these days and there are as many ways of raising funds as there are schools that raise them.

And according to a woman who gives professional guidance in the subject, regardless of what form your fundraising takes, there are various steps and protocols to cover.

Diane O’Sullivan (B.Ed, Dip Soc. Sci., Dip T’ing), advises that if you are holding any function at the school, you will first need to consult with the Board of Trustees – firstly as a courtesy and secondly as the Board is responsible for the state of the buildings and grounds.

“Most importantly, make sure your plans, costs and personnel who are to carry out the activity are clearly minuted. This is essential whether you are a PTA, parent group, friends of the school, a gala committee or even a sub-committee of the Board. By doing so, all functions are covered, there is no argument about what was decided, who was to do it and all the committee (the treasurer in particular) is protected. Try also to have a time frame in mind and work out which jobs need to be done in which order and by what time. In modern jargon – have some progress points,” she said.

Mrs O’Sullivan says the activities that need to be looked at are those which spread their influence beyond the school, so that money is being gained from people other than the parents.

“One particularly interesting form of this is the online fundraising developed by Funda

( ) in which a facebook page is started by students (or parents if the students are under 13) on which the fundraiser is described and requests for donations from friends and family – even overseas ones – can be solicited. Strong, important safety features are put into place.

“On the same lines, activities which involve the children are usually very successful. In this category, the spell-a-thon, maths-a-thon, tables-a-thon, anything-you-like-a-thon and general knowledge quizzes come immediately to mind. Using the online payment method that Funda has devised is a very good one to make sure that all the money promised arrives at the school.

“It is always good to have something specific in mind that you are trying to raise funds for, and when the ‘counting is done’ the profit made must be communicated to the parents – newsletter, local paper, email, text or whatever your school does best. Following this, the item purchased or service provided, also must be extensively promoted to parents – otherwise their support will soon dim. They want to see what their money is going towards,” Mrs O’Sullivan said.

“Remember too, that the word is FUNdraising, so make sure that there is some fun in it and that it is a way to gel the school community with everyone working toward the same goal. Before you start on a fundraising venture, consult as widely as possible on what parents want and might be willing to help with.

“Finally, remember that your committee is in charge of what you will raise and how you will go about it. Decisions as to that must come from you – too much effort will see you ‘burnt out’ and the school will suffer by not having anyone to fundraise.”

Often the challenge is to think of something a little different. One example is Coupons4kids, an annual discount voucher directory packed with offers from family and children-friendly businesses.

“We work with leading national and local brands and focus on promoting good kids’ businesses to the communities,” said owner/director, Shana Zen.

“Through our booklets, the community and the businesses support and benefit each other. All offers have been carefully selected and there is something for every family with kids.”

She says each booklet is packed with hundreds of dollars of saving on children’s products, services and entertainment. Parents pay $20 for the booklets which cover their costs with just a few uses.

“The booklet are popular with parents because they are practical to use and affordable. They present no risk, cost or obligation to the schools as they are delivered free of charge on sale-or-return basis,” said Zen.

“We give schools enough booklets for every family and the necessary support literature. The booklets are sent home with the children and purchasing parents pay the school directly. We pick up any unsold booklets and the cheque for books sold, minus the money raised. Schools sell the booklets for $20 and keep $6 or more towards their funds,” she said.

Examples of brands in the 2013 booklets include: Video Ezy, Chipmunks, Jumping Beans, Clip n Climb, Music Works, Pharmacy Direct, Mini Golf and Monterey Cinema.

Southland and Christchurch based Packaging Plus has a risk-free scheme with a practical product.

The company deals in big, catering size rolls of baking paper, Gladwrap and roll foil. For the last 18 months or so, it has offered schools a way of using the products to raise funds.

Packaging Plus supplies the schools with fundraising forms which the fundraisers take to local households and collect orders for the products. These are then collated online or by email or fax. Once the customers have paid, Packaging Plus despatches the orders direct from the factory, meaning there is no chance of schools or fundraisers being left with unsold stock.

“It’s a great fundraiser because it means quite a bit of profit for the school,” said company spokesperson Katie Burgess. “It’s low cost for them but they sell it at a retail price.”

By Brent Leslie

School News

School News is not affiliated with any government agency, body or political party. We are an independently owned, family-operated magazine.
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