Why picking the right school fundraiser incentive is essential.
Picking the right fundraising prize program can make or break your campaign. Consider ages and groups when selecting your incentives. This article explains what a fundraising prize program is, how to choose a prize program and other frequently asked questions.
What Are Fundraising Prize Programs?
Fundraising prize programs are incentive programs used to encourage students to participate in selling fundraiser products such as cookie dough, home goods, snacks, and more. Students earn prizes based on how many sales they make or their total profit for the school's cause. Fundraising prizes make the campaign more profitable for the school and far more enjoyable for the students involved.
Picking The Right Fundraising Prize Program
Selecting the right fundraising incentive ideas for your group is crucial. Factors can include the students' interests; for example, a basketball team will likely be interested in winning sportswear, whereas elementary school students may prefer a magic show.
Age is a significant factor when determining which prize program is best for your school's fundraiser. Elementary, middle, and high school students will have different interests and therefore be incentivized with different programs.
Fundraising Prize Programs Based on Age Groups
Below, we suggest a few prize programs for each age group.
Elementary School Prize Programs
Kindergarten through fifth-grade students is considered elementary. This group tends to like traditional or big event prize programs. (Remember, big event prize programs are only for larger groups.)
These programs include:
- Toy catalogs: Brochure prizes include electric rolled-up pianos, karaoke machines, LED drones, and inflatable human wheels.
- Money: Students can win money cash prizes. (If your school district doesn't allow money incentives, consider using gift cards instead.)
- Big Event Shows or Parties: Assembly and big event show options include reptile shows, inflatable games, magic shows, and more.
Middle School Prize Programs
Middle school is typically grades 5-8; however, this may differ from school to school. This age group enjoys big event programs and school/sportswear giveaways.
Examples of these programs include:
- Gear: Students can win custom school spirit embroidered clothing and sportswear.
- Parties: Throw a reward party such as Super Splash, including water slides, a water-tag arena, and more.
- Cash: Students enjoy cash prizes based on the number of items sold.
High School Prize Programs
Grades 9-12 are considered high school. They are the oldest group of students. Prizes must match their interests. For example, this group will likely be more interested in a cash prize than a school assembly.
High school prize programs that will likely intrigue students include:
- Cash: Cash prize programs are an excellent incentive for high school students. Gift cards are the second best.
- School Spirit Program: Offer custom-embroidered gear such as hats, polo shirts, and jackets. Embroidery may include your school name or logo. Don't forget to include options in your school's colors!
- Events: Host a school dance, trip, party, or another big event as a prize for successful fundraising.
Who Pays For a Fundraising Prize Program?
All traditional prize programs are provided free of charge. The number of items sold to qualify for a prize varies based on the incentive program. For example, students who sell five items or more qualify to win a free prize from the 'Locker Full of Prizes' traditional prize program. Students can earn a cash prize from the 'Cash Prize Extravaganza' program after selling 12 items.
Big event programs split costs between the fundraising company and the school. BFI offers free big events if the school raises $25,000 or more in its fundraising campaign. Groups don't receive a higher profit if they forgo the prize program, although some companies may offer a discount off their invoice if a group provides their incentives.
Why Choose Fundraising Incentive Programs?
Fundraising prize programs boost sales. Your campaign will likely do better with incentives in place. Fundraising success depends significantly on student registration to make sales online and selling out of their brochure. They are the drivers of your campaign and your most significant link to potential customers.
Not all students will feel incentivized to sell to meet your goal. Students may need help understanding why teachers need new supplies or how new gym gear can improve their quality of education. However, most students will be encouraged to sell if a prize is on the line, such as a party, cash, clothing, toys, or other incentives. Maximize student participation, and you will maximize your return.
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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.