Why fundraising success is goal dependent
In a recent Charlotte Observer post, there’s an article about a mom who was upset over a fundraiser goal that was set by an elementary school PTO group in Union County. In order to be eligible to attend a magic show assembly, students needed to sell at least 10 items out of their sales brochure.
The mom became outraged when her son came home in tears because he didn’t want to be left out if he couldn’t sell the 10 items. The son knew that it would be a difficult task as he was from a family of 8 siblings who struggled to put food on the table.
However, already aware of situations like this, the PTO provided another option to get to the magic show. Any students who didn’t meet the admission goal by selling from the catalog had the option to pay $15 instead.
So considering the circumstances, is it right for sponsors to impose school fundraising goals on its students and parents? And as the author of the Charlotte Observer post stated, “should parents pay so their kids can play?” We understand that there are probably mixed feelings about these issues, but in this case we’re going to argue in favor of the PTO. Here’s why:
Fundraising Goals Mean Stronger Sales
So why do groups fundraise in the first place? It’s to raise needed money to help the school. Period. Nothing more and nothing less. Anything in life that’s worth obtaining requires work and sacrifice. It doesn’t matter what it is. Therefore, if the incentive to sell isn’t there, the results won’t be either and the school simply does without. Schools have tried to eliminate prizes out of fairness and equality to everyone but this method just hasn’t worked.
Fundraising incentives create excitement and help groups meet their sales goals. There needs to be some reward for students who meet certain objectives and a consequence for those who don’t. When students eventually get out in the real world, they’ll be faced with the same circumstances. Achievement is always going to get rewarded. It’s what helps improve our society.
As a result of the incentive requirements, this school ended up raising almost $23,000. The money was used to pay for various school and classroom necessities. How much money do you think would have been raised if everyone was allowed to go to the magic show regardless of whether any sales were made or not?
Additional Fundraising Solutions
As mentioned before, the school attempted to accommodate those students who may have had difficulties meeting their fundraising goal. Here are 2 additional allowances that they could have also considered doing:
- Students who weren’t able to meet the sales goal could have sat behind the students who did at the assembly.
- A prorated goal could have been implemented for families with multiple student households. For instance, require households with 3 or more siblings to sell only 5 items instead.
Although these compromises appear to be viable solutions, they can also pose potential problems as well. To learn more, see Should Non-Sellers Be Admitted to your Reptile Show?
Parents always have the option to not to ‘play the game’. Fundraisers are voluntary. The problem with our society is that we’ve confused equal access with equal outcome. In our opinion, this school did what they thought was best in the interest of all the students. But they also understood the need for setting school fundraising goals so they could ultimately meet their financial objectives.
What other ideas do you have that might help solve this dilemma?