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How to Keep School Fundraisers Safe & Sound

By Clay Boggess on Jun 6, 2020
How to Keep School Fundraisers Safe & Sound

How to keep fundraising safe and prosperous.

It almost seems like a complete contradiction. Successful school fundraisers require students to go out and make sales. They're supposed to be excited. This enthusiasm is the engine that drives your sale.

Students have to talk to people. The more, the better, right? In the students' minds, they plan to talk to everyone in their neighborhood. They're not thinking about anything but making sales.

Ok, so you got the response you were hoping for. Your students are excited about making sales. To top it off, after leaving the kickoff, every student wants to be the top seller. This will require engaging a lot of people. It's great that everyone's on the same page.

And you told them how they could be winners too. Their dreams will come true as long as they bring back the orders.

Elementary school students, in particular, are enthusiastic about making sales, especially since they've learned about the fundraiser incentives at the kickoff assembly.

But you also told them to be safe. You told them who they shouldn't approach. This means toning it down. Put on the brakes. Talk to fewer people, make fewer sales, and win boring prizes. Wait a minute. What's a kid to think? You can't have it both ways. Or can you?

The Association of Fundraising Distributors & Suppliers says schools must stress safety. So how do we make this practical?

What seems a paradox is a logical balance. Can exuberance and safety coexist? Profitable fundraising can't happen without the two working hand in hand.

The goal is to generate passion in your students and get them to work hard. But sales have to happen within the proper parameters. This forces any student who wants to succeed to be creative.

You want energy and enthusiasm. But you don't want to quench students' desire to sell, either. So everyone must be practicing safe fundraising.

Safety should trump sales. Here are some important things to discuss with your team before your sale starts.

How Should We Handle Door-to-Door Selling?

It doesn't matter if you're a kindergartner or an adult. Door-to-door selling is unpredictable and potentially unsafe. It thus should be strongly discouraged, even when supervised. Selling is a numbers game. But the numbers don't support approaching strangers anyway.

This makes another strong case against door-to-door selling. Students make significantly more sales when they approach people that they know instead. Friends, family, and neighbors are much more likely to buy because:

  • They have a personal interest in the student and their cause.
  • They're directly invested in the student's well-being.
  • They may feel guilty if they don't buy.
  • The child's parents bought from their child, so they feel obligated to return the favor.

At best, strangers may understand the cause but will be indifferent to the student. Regardless, it's not worth the risk. Before the sale starts, students should understand why they shouldn't approach strangers.

Companies should provide information about how to handle door-to-door selling. The parent information letter that goes home in the student's packet serves this purpose. This should also be discussed during the kickoff and reinforced during the sale. Door-to-door selling should only be considered if an adult accompanies children.

High school students are encouraged to use prospect lists. This allows them to decide in advance who they should approach.

Fruitful School Fundraisers Take Teamwork

Team selling should be ingrained in every student's mind. 2 people are always better than 1, and so on. When family members are involved, students have a better chance of succeeding.

Parents can also take the brochure to work and ask their colleagues to buy it. Moreover, Mom and Dad aren't the only ones who can do this. Older siblings and close relatives may be willing to help as well. Everyone has a different group of people they know. So the more people students can recruit, the better.

Here are 5 ways to keep school fundraising safe and fun.

What About Online Fundraising?

Another way to make safe sales is to use a webstore. Students should only fundraise online under the supervision of an adult. They can work with their parents to register and invite friends and family to visit the website. The advantage of online selling is not being limited to a specific geographical area.

Students also receive extra prize credit while the school makes a profit. The use of social media can help get the word out. Orders can be shipped directly to the buyer or the school.

Safe fundraising is essential. To be successful, how sales are made is as important as making them. You'll help ensure their safety and success if you encourage students to work smart and hard. Here are 30 tips for a winning sales fundraiser.

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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.

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