Questions to Ask Before Your Fundraise

  1. Purpose: Why do we need money? How much do we need? When do we need it?
  2. Capacity:  How much volunteer support can we expect? Does the fundraiser match our volunteers’ ability? How will this activity impact other requests of time from volunteers?
  3. Schedule:  Does it conflict with any school or community events, annual fundraisers, or popular activities?  How will this activity impact other fundraisers?
  4. Outcome: What is the anticipated financial cost per dollar raised for this fundraising activity? Will it be worth the investment of time and energy that will be asked from students, parents, teachers, and staff?

Fundraiser Types

Whole School Fundraisers

  • Walkathon
  • Zumbathon
  • Jogathon
  • Danceathon
  • Jumpropeathon
  • Skateathon

Whole-school fundraisers allow every student to participate regardless of financial commitment.  May require a large number of volunteers for event day.

Sales Fundraisers

  • Basket Raffle
  • Popcorn
  • FarmRaiser
  • Plants, seeds, flowers
  • T-Shirts (student design contest)
  • School supplies ( school name, colors, or motto)
  • Holiday Wreaths
  • Restaurant of the Month Program
  • Book Store Fundraiser

Sales fundraisers work because customers believe they are getting something of quality at a reasonable price while also supporting a worthy cause.  Select fundraising strategies that align with goals and that attract potential donors’ attention to the need or cause.

Large Fundraisers

  • Auctions (live, silent, online)
  • Carnivals/Festivals
  • Gala or Catered Celebration

There is usually an element of financial risk with a large fundraising event. If your PTO’s annual gala is cancelled due to an ice storm or your coordinator is not highly skilled, you could actually lose money in the end. Big events also consume your most organized volunteers, perhaps monopolizing them for the better part of your school year. Be sure you can afford to dedicate the necessary resources before committing to an event.

Business Fundraising

  • Grantwriting
  • Sponsorships

Both depend entirely on your volunteers’ specialized skills and relationships.

Bonus (Passive) Fundraising

  • Amazon Smile
  • Box Tops for Education
  • eScrip
  • Office Depot Rewards
  • Office Max Rewards
  • Sequential Biofuels
  • Target Red Card

One or two volunteers can easily oversee such programs, and you can extend participation to supporters outside your immediate school community. One thing to consider: Passive fundraisers such as box top collections and shopper loyalty programs are a good solution when you need to raise money but the need is not urgent.