Not Every Student Deserves a Fundraising Prize

Why letting everyone attend your fundraiser prize event is not a good idea

Schools that are familiar with our big event prize programs understand that our Big Event Reptile Adventures is not only entertaining, it’s also educational. As a result, it's easy to understand why school sponsors feel that every student would benefit. In a perfect world, everyone will sell the required minimum from their brochure to gain admission to the show.

However, that’s probably not going to happen. Everyone knows up front that to go to one of our big events they have to sell a minimum amount of items. Is it fair then to only allow sellers who qualify to attend the show? Enforcing this requirement helps to generate sales.

You may want to think about the following before allowing those who didn't reach the 5-item sales goal to attend:

Don’t Be Tempted to Compromise

The school fundraising sponsor ultimately decides, but if you're considering allowing everyone to attend regardless of if they sold or not, you may want to rethink this idea. You may have to deal with the following issues:

  • Parents who did work to reach the goal may not be happy when they learn that those who didn’t sell get to go as along with their students who did put the work in to sell.
  • This will adversely affect your sales the following year. Parents who sold enough may not work as hard again the next time. We’ve seen this time and time again.
  • Sellers will realize they don’t have to sell to attend the reptile show the next time. So why sell?

Consider these Workarounds Instead

  1. One option is to consider charging an admission fee to those who didn't reach their sales goal. This will make you a little additional money while giving those students another opportunity to go. It also helps justify the work put in by those who did reach the goal because they won’t have to pay. However, you still face the possibility of compromising next year’s fundraiser since sellers will realize they only have to pay the admission fee to attend the event next time. Also, some parents who did help their students reach the goal may think this is unfair. If you end up going this route we recommend not revealing it until the selling is completed. The reason is that you're providing a way for people to not have to sell. You'll make a lot more money from those who sell and reach the goal than those who simply pay a small admission fee.
  2. Another idea is to allow those who didn’t reach the goal to sit behind those who did. Again, in this scenario you are dealing with possible negative effects with future sales. You may not be able to enforce the goal as easily next time.

Why You Should Enforce the Fundraising Goal

Your fundraising objective should to continue to increase your sales year after year. This is done by drawing in additional sellers who didn’t previously meet the admission goal. They will hear from their peers about how much fun they had at the reptile show and won't want to miss out on it again. ‘Word of mouth’ is a powerful motivator.

If you remain consistent with what was initially promoted to your students and parents by sticking to the goal requirement, you won't have to answer any questions later. This will help reinforce your program’s credibility while encouraging additional participation next time.

Remember, it’s a fundraiser first and your primary purpose is to raise as much money as possible.

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