Question: Fundraiser Participation

I have a question about fundraisers, we have approx. 550 students in k-5. When we do a fundraiser, we have very little participation. We did a trash bag fundraiser, 27 kids sold. Our school is in a very low income area, we are at 95% free/reduced lunch. Our families don't have the money to purchase fundraiser items. We are, however in desperate need of playground equipment. I have no idea how to raise the funds to buy it. This will be my 2nd year as president, the PTO has been ran in years past by 2 moms who really didn't want help. I however, welcome help and want to get more parents involved. I need any help! Thanks!

Asked by rebatw



Community Advice

mum24kids writes:
I'm also at a Title I school, although my free/reduced lunch numbers aren't anywhere near as high as yours. My suggestion is that you go to local businesses and ask them for donations, especially if you haven't asked the local business community to help you out much in the past. I suspect there are also grants out there for this type of thing, so you could put a parent in charge of doing some research on that. Also, if you have a McDonald's nearby, try doing a spirit night with them. Might not be the healthiest meal, but those are hugely popular in our community, and most parents find a way to make it there to buy their kids a Happy Meal for dinner. We usually raise $400-$500 every time we do one of their spirit nights.

Community Advice

yas458 writes:
I think that the best way to spark up participation is to use the emotional appeal. Be straight forward, tell them the situation and play with their emotions, make them feel sad/guilty and make them submit into participating more. I've always found this strategy very effective!

Community Advice

michelleworkman writes:
The McTeach Night at our local McDonalds was a hit! We made a little over $3,000.00. We made the highest amount of money in our Tri-State area!! We are also a small school and most of the time we have the same parents helping out at every event. Also, check out local businesses and try some different fundraisers. Check with local car dealerships about car washes. Most of the time they supply everything. You do the work and keep all the profits. Check with local grocery stores; some of them offer incentive programs in which customers link their school with their spending and the school receives a reward check at the end of the term.

Community Advice

clayboggess writes:
The first thing that schools that happen to be in a low income are to think when it comes to fundraising is to only consider selling the lowest priced products. For example, lollipops or candy bars. While these items are affordable, you have to sell a lot more of them to raise the money that you need. The other issue is collecting money after distributing the product to your students.

Something that you may want to consider is a low-priced variety catalog fundraiser. They’re definitely out there. For instance, you can sell an all $8 or $10 brochure with lots of different consumer-based items. The advantages are that you collect the money before placing your order. Also, you don’t have to sell as much because you are profiting more on each item sold. As long as you offer products that people are interested in, but that are affordable, you should make more sales.

In terms of address your participation issue, student incentives are the issue. Many schools don’t have it in their budget to purchase eye-catching prizes that will get your students attention. But that’s ok. Consider offering incentives that don’t cost any money.

For example, you can offer special privileges that are unique to your school by having regular prize drawings throughout your sale. Every time a student sells 5 items, they get to turn a prize coupon in for a chance to win a special privilege, like have lunch with the principal, or... Make sure to draw out several names so that more students will feel that they have a chance to win. It’s also important to promote this throughout your sale. These types of incentives work especially well for elementary school fundraisers.

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