Learn how to leverage the unique qualities of elementary school fundraisers.
Even in the same community, school fundraisers can have dramatically different needs and purposes.
For example, an elementary school might need supplies and snacks more than a high school, which might be more focused on raising money for test prep opportunities.
Most students get their first exposure to product or brochure fundraising in the elementary school environment. At Big Fundraising Ideas, we love to support our elementary school sponsors in navigating the unique challenges and ample opportunities to raise money in these environments.
If you’re a parent, educator, or volunteer looking for elementary school fundraising ideas in the coming year, consider how to use these unique characteristics to your advantage.
1. Elementary School Fundraisers Have More Parent Involvement
School fundraising can benefit tremendously from the high degree of parent involvement in elementary school. Indeed, from kindergarten through fifth grade, parent involvement tends to be at its maximum throughout a child’s life—mostly because our kids are not “too cool” for us yet. Fundraisers are the perfect opportunity for parents to feel they contribute positively to their child’s school.
According to the National Education Association, schools have much to gain from parent partnerships. When schools build partnerships with families that are responsive to parent concerns, honor their contributions, and share decision-making responsibilities, they can sustain connections to improve student achievement.
Connect with volunteer leaders and school administration, and discuss how to use fundraising to close funding gaps and enhance parent engagement in a way that directly benefits their child. Offer small tasks and large projects to give all parents a chance to offer their time, talent, and resources.
2. Good Elementary School Fundraising Ideas are Attainable
Fundraisers are defined by the “need to fill a need.” Much of a fundraiser’s success depends on communicating that need in a way that gets people to respond positively. Elementary school fundraisers are well-suited for success in this area because their needs often feel more attainable to potential customers and community members.
One of the prominent educational narratives in recent years is a teacher, particularly in elementary school, frequently spends out of her pocket for basic classroom supplies. School fundraisers are often geared toward reducing this burden on teachers and helping make sure classrooms are stocked with the basics.
This need sells well to community members: it’s tough to imagine students not having pens, paper, or markers to carry out a simple but essential learning activity. Consider that secondary schools often tackle much more ambitious projects, like funding a sports team or theatre program. By nature of their need, elementary schools avoid “Why try?” because their needs tend to be simpler and easier to envision, especially when tied to tangibles.
Make the attainability of success a highlight of your elementary school fundraiser.
3. Elementary School Fundraisers Have High Energy
While getting your younger children to bed can be a task, your fundraiser will benefit from their endless energy supply. For students in elementary schools, fundraisers are a chance to win great prizes and put their best foot forward for fun toys or entertaining experiences.
Capture the energy of childhood for your school’s fundraiser by painting a picture of how exciting and rewarding fundraising can be. Incentivize students by communicating how selling items can translate to great prizes, like fun electronics or access to a reptile adventure!
If you want elementary school fundraising ideas that work, you need to find ways to get your students out in the field. And their energy will be your best asset by engaging (and endearing) customers to your school’s cause.
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Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.