I can't respond directly about the website you mentioned, but I can share some thoughts on direct donations. There is an upside and a downside. While direct donations are straightforward and definitely appeal to some parents, they really don't address the issue of community building that typically takes place during other fundraising efforts. I'm specifically referring to those that are event-driven (like an auction). Community building is so critical to any parent organization because it not only gives families a great sense of belonging but it helps your group develop more committed parents who are more willing to help the group by volunteering in a variety of ways.
Re:Begging for money
3 years 10 months ago #160551
A PTO Mom
I have to say that we do a lot of 'soft' fundraising. Restaurant Share nights, popcorn sales, sock hops, spaghetti nights and sprinkle in concession sales with most of our family events. These go over very well and while they many not make us a fortune they usually make enough to cover the cost of whatever family event they are a part of. Spaghetti Supper usually goes with Reading Night and covers the cost of art projects, entertainment and supplies we may need for Reading Night.
We then limit our major fundraisers to two a year. One in fall is a catalog sale, usually food product and then in spring we do some type of discount card or another catalog sale. We also have a huge fun fair in the spring which does raise us quite a bit of money but our community does not look at it like a fundraiser, they view the fun fair as a community event.
I have parents on both ends of the psectrum. Some complain that we are asking for money for something (popcorn, sock hops etc) all the time and others that complain that we do not hold enough of these soft sales. I've actually had more than one mom tell me we should be selling popcorn every week instead of once a month and another complain LOUDLY that a sock hop a quarter is not enough we should be holding them monthly.
Then I've had a mom ask me if we could maybe go a week without nickle and diming her to death.
No matter what you choose to do you are going to have complainers.
I have heard that things like Walk-a-Thons are HUGE money makers, It allows parents and the community to make direct cash donations to the school and yet feels like you are not simply holding your hand out asking for their money. They are 'sponsoring' a walker and somehow that makes a huge difference. The good part is the money goes directly into the coffers and no one has yet another knick-knack that they don't need or really want. We are going to try our first Walk-a-Thon next year for Halloween. The kids will walk along a predesignated route in their costumes and we will have sponsors and look the community at large for bigger cash donations.
Good luck and remember that you are doing good work, don't listen too much to the complainers.