Fundraising ideas to engage busy parents

As school budgets feel the pinch, the same conditions are putting the squeeze on the resources families have at their disposal – both financial and otherwise.

Schools may be feeling the sting of a dearth of support from the school community, as a only straggle of one or two parents answer the call for volunteers. Yet the answer is to select fundraisers that offer easy ordering, a product that people want to buy, and/or no risk arrangements where you pay for what you sell and return the rest.

More families than ever have two parents working and any fundraising aspirations have to take this into account, but according to one high school staff member, the key is to make it easy on the parents.

The good news? Companies are coming to the party with ideas that take the headaches out of fundraising and allow parents to be involved without spending hours baking cakes.

Parents really do want to help, she says, and the key is to let them know what you need in plenty of time: “Issue a steady stream of communications through whichever channels you have –  the newsletter, Facebook page, assemblies and so on. We need to remind families that help is needed.”

Parents want to contribute, but they need the fundraising to be straightforward, not too time-consuming, and profitable enough to warrant their time.

Choosing a provider that makes the process simple is paramount, as is aligning the labour requirements to your specific school community – and don’t forget to involve the kids!

Your student body is fantastic resource of motivated, energetic fundraising operatives and depending on the age of your students, they may be able to leave the parents entirely out of the labour equation.

The realism must extend to the age of your students: “Primary schools can run fundraisers that use children’s creativity, such as volunteer card-making workshops at lunchtime leading up to Christmas and Easter, while high school students can probably be trusted to sell chocolates outside the local supermarket after school – depending on your school’s location.”

Mobilising the student body is the domain of school staff, and not something the school can do without you.

All school leaders will have examples of times their students showed amazing determination and creativity in reaching a fundraising goal.

With the guidance of a tenacious staff coordinator, the culture of service and self-responsibility can engender both a sense of accomplishment, and an uplifting atmosphere of school pride.

Suzy Barry

Suzy Barry contributes her professional background in education, as well as more than a decade of editing and journalism experience, to her role as editor of School News Australia. Research interests range from linguistics, to behaviour management and the sociology of education, underpinned by her enthusiasm for innovation and education paradigms that are both inclusive and effective.
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