3 Simple Elementary School Fundraising Ideas that Work

How to raise more money with fewer fundraisers

With ever-shrinking district budgets, money continues to become scarcer. Many educators don’t have enough funds to pay for essentials, let alone extraneous things like new playground equipment, educational field trips and a new marquee.

In addition to the tax dollars that are supposed to fund our schools, should parents really have to raise money for this stuff, and are students being used as pawns to sell in exchange for prizes?

Many are bothered by this, absolutely. But we really don’t have much of a choice. If we want what our tax dollars can’t provide, the money has to come from other sources. So where’s the compromise?

One solution is to implement more effective elementary school fundraising ideas so we can raise more money while having to do fewer sales. No one wants to spend more time than they have to on endless campaigns.

This sounds way too obvious. Of course, everyone would like to be able to have fewer fundraisers. But schools don’t seem to be taking the necessary steps. Too many groups are unfortunately doing little more than handing out their sales materials and asking their students and parents to help.

It’s as if the items in the brochure will magically sell themselves and the money will just roll in. School sales are like walking zombies. There’s little passion or energy being put in. Students and their parents are only selling because their being asked to. They don’t really understand the why.

We provide many tools that if utilized can help bring in more money. But emails simply go unread. Why? People don’t have the time. It’s a matter of priority. We get it. Fundraising doesn’t usually make the ‘top 10’ priority list.

But unfortunately, you reap what you so. So what ends up happening? The first sale doesn’t go that well so let’s have another one, and so on.

There are two goals that are at the top of every elementary school sponsor’s list when it comes to planning a sales campaign.

  1. Reach their fundraising goals.
  2. Make the entire process as simple and easy as possible.

These are clearly the goals that everyone strives for, but some effort and planning still needs to be put in before the sale. It’s too good to be true to simply roll out the ball and expect your team to play well.

Proper planning and execution of the following 3 elementary school fundraising ideas will help make your sale more successful. And at the end of the day, you won’t have to work as hard because you’ll be able to accomplish your objectives with fewer campaigns.

1. Plan a Proper Kickoff Meeting

The fundraiser kickoff meeting is probably the most important part of your sale. It will help set the tone for your ultimate success. If executed properly, your students will come away excited and eager to share their packets with their parents and start selling. But just as important, they’ll have a basic understanding of what they need to do and why they’re doing it. Winning prizes is important, but it’s just one part of your presentation.

Setting the right tone with an exciting atmosphere is a good place to start. Begin by having all of your students, teachers, and staff together for one large assembly. Have upbeat, radio-edited music already playing in the background before your students even walk in. Why is this important? To help foster a higher level of energy and unity.

It’s also important to plan your message ahead of time. The most important part of your presentation is communicating your purpose. What do you want everyone to know about your cause and how will it be a benefit?

Next, your students will need to know how the sale’s going to work. Among other things, here are 3 questions that you’ll have to answer:

  1. How many items do your students need to sell?
  2. Who do they need to speak with about the sale?
  3. When is the money going to be collected?

For more information about how to leverage your sale, see elementary school fundraising ideas that work

2. Determine Your Student Fundraiser Goal

You can’t just tell your students to ‘do their best’. What does this mean? Of course, everyone hopes for that. More specific information needs to be communicated. Students needs to know what’s expected of them. How many items do they need to sell to help the school reach its fundraising goal?

To do this, you’ll need to do some calculations ahead of time. You’ll need to know how much money you need to raise overall and then how much each student needs to sell individually. Here’s the basic math:

Total $ raised = the # of students x $ raised by each student

Simple enough, but how do we get there?

For simplicity sake we’re assuming that everyone reaches their goal; however in the real world, some will sell and others won’t. The best case scenario, of course, is to get as many students involved as possible, and then have lots of additional sellers exceed their ‘fair share’ goal. The ‘overachievers’ will make up for the non-sellers.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you have 500 students and you need to raise $12,000. A good rough estimate is to use $15 for the average retail price of your brochure items. Therefore, if you make 40% profit, you’ll average $6.00 profit off each item sold ($15 x 40% = $6.00):

  • $12,000 ÷ 500 students = $24 profit per student
  • $24 ÷ 6 = 4 items (Each student’s fair share goal)

We’ve made this step relatively simple with our ‘Calculate Your Profit’ tool located on each of our brochure fundraiser pages. You can enter your group size and a reasonable sales goal for each student, and your profit is automatically calculated. You can adjust the goal numbers as needed on the calculator until you arrive at your desired profit amount.

3. Track Student Sales Progress

Most schools don’t do this. However, those that do, almost always end up raising more money. Monitoring your progress is important because it’s a great way to remind your students to keep selling.

Once your kickoff is complete, your work has just started. Tracking your sale also provides a gauge that allows you to make any needed adjustments as your sale is progressing. You already told your students how much they needed to sell at the kickoff meeting; however how can you know they are actually selling anything?

First, don’t just do ‘remember to sell’ announcements over the intercom. It’s important to actively check in with them on a consistent basis. This not only helps you gage the sales progress but also holds your students accountable to continue to work towards their goal. One way that’s been proven effective for many of our elementary schools is to employ periodic prize drawings.

Drawings provide a practical, hands-on approach to monitoring real-time sales while making the entire process more fun and engaging for your students.

See our additional incentive ideas that you can incorporate into your drawings.

Unfortunately there’s no easy way to a really successful elementary school fundraiser. If you want to ultimately make things easier, focus on making each sale more productive. In the end you’ll be saving time with fewer sales while raising more money.

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