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How School Fundraising Companies Are Missing the Mark

By Clay Boggess on Feb 6, 2021
How School Fundraising Companies Are Missing the Mark

Is your school fundraising partner on target?

With budget cuts happening in school districts across America, many schools are left without art and music programs or essential equipment such as computers. To fill the gaps, principals often rely on parent associations to organize school fundraising efforts. A 2018 report by Nonprofits Source indicated that “67% of principals turn fundraising decisions over to their PTO or PTA.”

Traditionally, when we think of fundraisers run by parents, we think of the bake sale. Sure, they’re a low-effort way to raise a few hundred dollars, but they may not earn enough to fill the budget gaps. There are plenty of options out there to raise money. And along with them, plenty of resources to determine which sort of fundraiser is right for your school.

Fundraising companies. The #1 choice.

However today, we’re going to take a look at partnering with fundraising companies and taking advantage of product sales. They can give a significant boost to your efforts, offering a decent payoff in a short period of time. In an article published by PTO Today, school groups working with fundraising companies typically raise $1.5 billion a year in product sales. That’s $13k per school in the country. It’s no wonder they're the #1 choice for schools.

A quick Google search will reveal an overwhelming number of fundraising companies that schools can partner with. They all seem to offer the same products (you know the ones: popcorn, candy bars, cookie dough, candles, wrapping paper…). And, they all seem to have the same incentives to help motivate students to sell. Where the similarities end is with their level of transparency, quality of prize incentives and amount of support. These are the areas where they’re not on target for you.

So how are fundraising companies missing the mark?


Make sure the fundraising company you choose is clear about pricing. They should be up front when you ask whether you need to invest in products ahead of the fundraiser or can you order items once you collect payments from your customers.

Also ask about incentive prizes. While most offered by fundraising companies are free, it’s always good to ask. There should be zero surprises or hidden costs associated with your invoice.

Prize incentives

Speaking of prize incentives, companies that only offer one-dimensional incentive programs are definitely missing the mark. Groups from preschools to colleges have different needs, and what motivates them to go out and sell will differ, too. If your fundraising company doesn’t offer a fundraiser prize program that ranges from traditional incentives to events, they’re missing the mark.


A lot of companies often miss the mark in the level of support they provide. They should be able to offer you a risk-free fundraiser. Problems always arise and your partner should have enough experience with solving them. More than that, they should be responsive to your needs. A company not able to provide you with attentive service and help you navigate issues are not worth the investment.

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