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Make Fundraiser Prizes Student or Parent-Based?

By Clay Boggess on Feb 12, 2016
Make Fundraiser Prizes Student or Parent-Based?

Learn the effects of motivating students and parents to sell

If you had to pick between offering fundraiser prizes to your students or your parents, which would you choose? Some may reason that the primary focus should be on the students. In order to get them to push the fundraiser on their parents, they need to be excited about the prize incentives.

Rather, others may feel that concentrating on the parents makes more sense. They reason that since the parents do most of the selling anyway, why not incentivize them to sell even more? In fact, this potentially creates the ideal situation where multiple parents end up competing for the top selling prize.

Results have shown that you should offer incentives to both students and parents. Yet the question is raised to get you to think a little bit more about the importance of each one separately. Let’s consider 2 scenarios that actually happened.

The Effects of Parent-Based Fundraiser Prizes

One school decided to move away from the typical student-based prize programs and offer only 3 family-based incentives instead. They were tired of the cheap junky prizes being offered by the fundraising company. They planned a top seller prize that seemed very desirable, a weekend getaway for the family at a resort. They figured that this would be a great attention getter, especially for the parents. They were confident that this would make a big difference.

So what was the result? It wasn’t what some might have expected. They actually reported that their sales in fact went way down. In fact, they ended up making about $4,000 less than they did the previous year.

Focusing More on the Student Incentive Program

Another school decided to focus on improving their student prize program instead. Their sales had been stagnant for several years. In fact, they could get close to $30,000 but never quite reach it. We picked up their first sale about 10 years ago and we ran the same traditional prize program with similar results. We then proposed that they try one of our big event prize programs the following year.

There was a tradeoff involved with choosing a big event incentive plan. They had to be willing to accept a lower fundraising profit. Frustrated with their stagnant sales, they decided to proceed. They moved forward with our Big Event Super Party and their sales ended up exceeding $75,000.

Their sales more than doubled. Why? The students drove the sale like never before. They were thrilled about having the opportunity to go to an exciting event and have fun with all of their friends. It didn’t hurt that they got out of class in order to go. By the way, their sale now regularly exceeds $90,000 every year.

So why did the school that focused on parent-based incentives not do as well? We feel that they failed to realize that the students are indeed the real engine that drives sales. Parents sell primarily because their students persuade them to. So what’s the moral of the story? If you end up having to choose between giving fundraiser prizes to your students or your parents, choose your students. And if they like what you’re offering, you can count on them to get after their parents to sell out of their brochure.

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