Sticky space

Should High School Fundraising Be Voluntary?

By Clay Boggess on Aug 23, 2012
Should High School Fundraising Be Voluntary?

How to get your students to make your fundraiser a priority.

Should high school fundraising be voluntary? Because most high school groups need money, some sponsors require it to be a part of the group. They make it clear from the beginning that group membership requires that all students support its financial goals.

After all, selling is just one of several commitments students make if they want to participate in the group's activities. And without money, the group doesn't function.

On the other hand, many organizations feel that, even though they need money to function, they can't require their group members to sell. Which approach is best?

Covering Mandatory Group Expenses

Many youth sports leagues require parents to pay for uniforms and equipment upfront. Their registration packet may contain selling information. If the parents choose to sell, they can keep the money and pay themselves back for the upfront cost.

Let Students Decide on the Fundraiser

On the other hand, some sponsors leave it up to their students to decide whether or not to participate. They feel that, ultimately, the students must choose to sell independently. These sponsors feel that they'll be willing to participate if they are committed to the group and its goals. They attempt to persuade their students to sell by explaining how the money will benefit them directly, or they may offer incentives for selling. The ability of the group to fundraise is primarily based on group unification and seller motivation.

Parents Writing Donation Checks Instead

However, some parents can afford to write a check without having their students sell. Should sponsors allow this? Should it matter that these students don't participate at all, and does it say something about their commitment level? An argument can probably be made either way.

So, should high school fundraising be a choice or a requirement? Some may answer that question by asking which approach ultimately helps the group reach its financial objectives. Regardless, successful groups are determined by how strong the sponsor is. Will they follow through with what they say they will do? Do the students trust them? Ultimately, it depends on what the sponsor feels comfortable with and what they feel will work best for their group.

See our brochure fundraisers.

Are you looking for more fundraising tips and advice? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, where we share our expertise in school fundraising best practices and other helpful information.

Author Bio Clay Boggess, Author

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.

Join the discussion