School fundraising is not a new idea, in fact it has been around for a while with a successful history. Many school fundraisers date back to the early 1970s, starting with door-to-door sales. Many school fundraisers utilized door-to-door sales until 1997, when a New Jersey, eleven-year-old boy was killed while out fundraising unsupervised. As a result, a majority of school fundraisers do not recommend or advise kids to go door-to-door selling items for their fundraiser.
Due to their long history, chances are you were enticed to participate in middle school, junior and high school fundraisers with the promise of over-the-top and lavish prizes to those who sold the most, thereby, raising the most money for the school. You set out with high hopes, begging your parents to purchase the most expensive, or the most products so that you could win all the prizes that were used to entice you to participate.
Unfortunately, not every student had parents or extended family members, that were able to purchase vast amounts of the proffered product to contribute to the fundraiser. Whereas, others had parents and other family members who did not hesitate to whip out their wallet and purchase vast amounts of the offered product, propelling their students towards the proffered prizes.
I remember sitting in the closing assembly at the end of the fundraiser, and seeing the disappointment on countless students faces, who did not achieve the ultimate end prize that they had hoped for at the beginning of the fundraiser. Other students around me, bounced with anticipation and excitement knowing that they had earned some of the desirous, brag-worthy prizes.
Now that you are a parent, you are the one who has been recruited through your child to make their school fundraiser a success. Your child now has the dreams of winning the levies, over-the-top prizes promised to those who sells the most, or raise the most money for the fundraiser. Every parent wants to see their child’s successes, which is why many parents are willing to purchase from the fundraiser, along with asking co-workers, friends, neighbors and extended family to also purchase from the fundraiser.
Aside from helping students achieve their goals, i.e., the promised prizes for their help in fundraising, there are other reasons why you should support school fundraisers in your community. Participation in school fundraisers, through financial donations and purchase of items that are being sold, allows for schools to purchase necessary equipment and supplies, update equipment and other purchases that
would not be possible without successful fundraising efforts.
On average, each year schools and other non-profit organizations raise over $1.7 billion each year through their fundraising efforts of selling popular items, services and online support. Because the funds raised benefit a worthy cause, it is estimated that eight out of ten Americans support school fundraisers, here are a few reasons why I believe you should support school fundraisers too.
Children deserve a good education, regardless of where they live and what school they attend. Because some schools are located in wealthier locations, they tend to have a bigger budget per student that allows for them to provide more opportunities for their students. That being said, it is a worthwhile cause to donate to school fundraisers, as you are investing in children’s education, whether they are your own children or not.
When a fundraiser is organized to support a cause that people can get behind, they are more inclined to support it with their hard-earned money. Education is something that everyone can get behind, because people know how important a good education is. Because so many people are willing to get behind education, school fundraisers are successful.
Support Your Child’s School
Often times, those who participate and support school fundraisers the most are the parents of the students. This also includes grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members. School fundraising tends to appeal to family members more than friends, neighbors, and complete strangers because they know the student who will directly benefit from the fundraiser. Knowing their child, or grandchild will directly benefit from the fundraiser through new equipment, supplies and technology; parents, and grandparents are more inclined to support the fundraiser than they might otherwise be.
When you have a student who attends the school, you have a better idea of what the school needs to provide your student with a quality education. Because you have this first-hand knowledge, you can see where and why the school needs to have a fundraiser and where funds will go to benefit the students. As such, parents are more inclined to support fundraisers that support their child’s school than they would be to support other fundraisers that won’t benefit their children or their education.
Returning the Favor
School fundraisers are a great way for friends, neighbors and even parents’ co-workers to return the favor and pay it forward. Because the office is a great place to bring different people with different aged children together. It is not uncommon for co-workers to trade off supporting each other’s children’s school fundraiser.Asking coworkers to donate or purchase from a school fundraiser also allows those who are empty nesters and those who haven’t had children yet the ability to feel included and return the favor for all those who helped their kids in the past or will help their children in the future.
Asking co-workers is also a great place to find potential buyers, because a lot of people are more inclined to purchase items from people they know than they are from complete strangers. When they purchase items from a co-worker’s child, they know that they are supporting a local school, whereas when they purchase from a random person there is no way to validate where their funds actually go.
Like the Product Being Sold
The easiest reason that motivates people to support school fundraisers is by simply selling a product that they like and will utilize. This is what makes food fundraisers so successful, is that they often promote foods that a vast majority of people like and consume regularly. Whether it be a premade food items such as chocolate bars or cookie dough, to discount and coupon cards to popular pizza and smoothie shops.
This is what makes food fundraisers so successful, is that a great product will do all the work itself—it will sell itself. This is why a lot of school fundraisers are the same, year after year because those organizing them know what will raise the most amount of money with the least amount of effort on their part. Often times the items being sold are offered at a reasonable price, enticing those who are interested in the product to make the purchase knowing that it will go towards helping a worthwhile cause in their community.
Participating and supporting a school fundraiser is another way in which parents and grandparents can be involved in their child or grandchild’s education. As with most other things, you might not have much say when it comes to choices made for the school, but you can vote with your dollars when you decide to support various school fundraisers.
Parents that are unable to volunteer their time inside the classroom during the school year due to other obligations, can be involved through supporting various school fundraisers throughout the year. Whether it be through donating and purchasing items for the fundraiser, taking their child around to friends and neighbors to sell items, or helping a child to contact grandparents and other family members to seek their support.
Your Support Does Make a Difference
Even though there are countless different school fundraisers going on, often simultaneously, your donations and support do make a difference. Many school fundraisers are designed to purchase new supplies or equipment for the school, which can only be achieved through a successful school fundraiser. When the fundraiser is completed, the funds are then used as advertised, thereby, improving the quality of education for the students, or providing resources and opportunities that otherwise were unattainable.
If you ever wonder if your support does matter, or does make a difference to a school fundraiser, it does! When I was in high school, our athletic department came together and organized a fundraiser to improve the football field, stadium and surrounding grounds. They petitioned the local community and businesses to donate as the improvements would not only benefit the football team, but the track and field team, the marching band, students and patrons of the sporting events hosted there.
Upon successful completion of the fundraiser, the athletic department had raised the necessary funds to revamp the concourse leading to the football stadium, install artificial turf on the football field, redo the track surrounding the football field and other improvements. This was a fundraiser that I was skeptical of actually being successful, because it was not your typical fundraiser of selling food products or coupon book, instead they were selling personalized bricks with the donors’ name or company name. These bricks would then be used to create the new walkway leading into the revamped football stadium. Through all the generous donations of parents, friends, neighbors and the community they were able to reach their goals and create a beautiful new concourse and football stadium that students and the community will enjoy for years to come.
From first-hand experience, I can assure you that school fundraisers are important and every contribution, no matter how big or small, does make a difference. Whether the fundraiser be for plans to improve the school grounds, or to purchase new books and computers for the library; each fundraiser has a purpose and all students can benefit.
Next time you are asked to donate to a middle school, junior or high school fundraisers either through a monetary contribution or by purchasing food or a coupon/discount book from a student, consider the difference that you are going to be making. I challenge you, to make a donation next time you learn about a school fundraiser. Remember all those who supported your school fundraisers when you were going to school and all those who are supporting your kids, or future kids with their school fundraisers. Be a part of something good, something bigger than you and donate to school fundraisers in your community.
Author: Ashley Christensen
High School Fundraisers