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3 School Fundraising Metrics to Watch

By Clay Boggess on Oct 25, 2017
3 School Fundraising Metrics to Watch

Learn 3 sales metrics you should be using

School fundraising’s small-scale focus doesn’t mean you can’t employ the same analysis as industry-leading fundraisers. Year over year, collecting and evaluating data can help you make big gains in money raised for your school.

To help explain how these key metrics work, we’ll walk you though a fictional example.

Imagine it’s November at Happy Valley Elementary School. Students have just participated in a two week fall brochure fundraiser, and volunteers are working hard to get money counted and orders processed. The fundraising committee has sheets of numbers and data, but as the majority of parents are new, they don’t know what’s important to look at to evaluate the fundraiser and determine what changes to make going into their fundraiser next year.

Year Over Year Changes

Fundraising records at Happy Valley aren’t in the greatest shape, but the committee at least knows what they’ve raised year over year, and about how many students participated. These numbers become more meaningful when analyzed as a trend in context.

Happy Valley could benefit by putting these numbers into context through plotting the year-over-year growth (or decline) in a simple line chart. They’ll be able to tell if profits are generally moving up or down over time without having to rely on a gut check to know for sure. They’ll also be able to tell the rate of this change by how steep the trendline is.

Furthermore, the committee can plot different annual metrics alongside one another on the same chart to analyze trends in different areas. This will help them see how certain tweaks in the fundraising have affected the overall performance.

Sales Volume

School fundraising at Happy Valley has been stagnant for a couple years. They’re coming in shy of their goal, despite feeling like they’ve picked reasonably priced quality items with a kitchenware brochure. Volume might be the key for Happy Valley to reach new levels of fundraising success.

Money earned from school fundraising is a calculated by multiplying the net profit by the number of units sold. Happy Valley doesn’t think the price point is an issue, but it’s possible that choosing a slightly less expensive item could actually raise their profits by encouraging more purchases. If the volume increases enough, it can compensate for the small decrease in price.

Happy Valley’s premium kitchenware offerings are certainly appealing, but since they’ve been stuck at their current fundraising level, they should take care to see if the number of items sold has been relatively stagnant, too. If it has, they can consider options like:

  • Choosing products that are cheaper to encourage more purchases.
  • Set incentives based on the number of items sold.
  • Extend the duration of the fundraiser.

These tactics may help move volume—and profits—upward.


School fundraising programs are inherently reliant on a “student sales force” to be successful. Happy Valley has also noticed that between 50 and 60 percent of students are participating annually. They’ve been running a traditional prize program where students get gadgets with points earned from selling items, and they do some pizza parties for the classes that sell the most.

Happy Valley has the potential to unlock the power of participation. Consider that currently 350 of their 800 students are actively fundraising. The average student earns about $120 in profits. Their current earnings are around $42,000. But, imagine if Happy Valley increased their participation by just 10 percent. They’d earn $4,200 more annually, which can go a long way in meeting critical needs in the classroom.

Getting more students involved in selling is often overlooked, because fundraising leadership is simply unsure how to encourage participation without adding to overhead costs. One powerful solution is to consider an event-based prize program that allows many more students to celebrate their success with lower item requirements that encourage participation. Programs like these can result in 300% increases in sales through the exponential power of increasing participants.

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