The problems with fundraising prizes and how to fix them.
Elementary students love traditional prize programs. At least, they do when they see how exciting the bigger prizes look. Once they receive their student packet, they're eager to open it to check out the prize brochure.
So why are some schools better off not using them to motivate their students to sell?
To help answer that question, here are three reasons why many schools are concerned about using a traditional fundraiser prize program.
1. Most Students Win the Cheap Prizes
Groups that have used a traditional prize program for their fundraiser have probably heard the disappointment expressed by parents and students about the quality of the prizes. The reality is that most students won't sell enough to win bigger and better prizes. The vast majority will only reach the first couple of prize levels, which are all cheap and inexpensive prizes.
2. Traditional Prize Programs Cause Seller Apathy
Disappointed about winning a cheap and junky prize for their efforts, many students aren't as willing to sell the next time. Companies offer the excuse that people should be more forgiving. After all, "it's a fundraiser", and the money will help their school. This same argument also justifies complaints about higher-priced and low-quality merchandise in sales brochures. Why should people pay more when they can pay less for something similar at the store? Most prizes found in traditional prize programs can be purchased at the local dollar store.
3. Cheap Prizes Break
Many schools are tired of dealing with complaints from parents and students who receive cheap prizes. They either don't work or break shortly after that. The last thing sponsors want to deal with is replacing prizes. Unfortunately, most prizes in traditional prize programs don't meet the initial hype. The novelty wears off so quickly that even if a prize breaks, it's quickly thrown in the trash anyway. The good thing is sponsors never hear about that.
So do traditional fundraiser prize programs work? To answer that question, you should probably talk to schools that have used them. Schools that select them want a higher profit percentage and are willing to compromise on the quality of their prize program. What many schools don't realize is that there are better prize programs available that have been proven to motivate students to raise more money. These prize programs help to keep everyone happy once all is said and done.
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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.