Question: Our fundraiser is FAILING!

We are a brand new PTO that's trying to get off the ground. Our first real fundraiser is selling discount cards to a local pizza chain. Another elementary school sold similar cards to a different pizza chain a few weeks before we sold ours and they had a great success. We had high hopes given their success and that it's football season and people buy pizzas. However, we've only managed to sell 34 of our 700 goal (only 1 card per child). This was started on the heels of the school wide fundraiser of cookie dough so I think people are just tired of fundraising in general right now but we really need a way to SAVE this fundraiser. Since we're a new PTO with NO money, this is crucial to get us off the ground. How can we save it? Is it too late to get the kids/parents on board? I'll take any help/ideas that I can get. Thanks!

Asked by Lindsaymross



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi Lindsaymross,

First of all, sorry you're feeling this stress.

You can try giving this fundraiser a final push over the next few weeks. Perhaps you try to give way a prize for the person who sells the most discount cards? Is there any money in the budget at all for a small prize? Try promoting this heavily across a number of channels -- Facebook, Twitter, the school's website. When you promote it, be specific about what your group is raising the money for. Often, when parents know exactly what they are funding, they are more willing to participate.

If you end up not having done well with this fundraiser, it is ok. Learn what you can from it and move forward. There are many things your group can do for free to help build a sense of community, like hosting a pot luck dinner to bring families together. If you are looking for some quick funding for specific items, perhaps seek donations from some local area businesses.

It's not the end of the world, even though it probably feels like it now!


Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Wanted to circle back on this and pass along a link to a video with our founder, Tim Sullivan, sharing his thoughts on what to do when you think a fundraising is failing.

Stay in touch, Lindsaymross!

Rose C.
Community Manager

Community Advice

admobile writes:
Parents are burned out with selling, collecting money and distributing products. AdMobile created a unique idea where parents trade off doing all that for receiving a few text ads per day. It doesn't cost the fundraiser or parents any money. The money is made when ads are sold to businesses who like the idea of sending their coupons, promotions, etc. to the parents' mobile phones via text. Fundraisers don't even really sell the ad. They just refer the advertiser to AdMobile who manages the advertisers, collects the ad revenue and pays the fundraisers. All the fundraiser has to do is have their supporters subscribe via text and show an app about the advertising to advertisers.

Community Advice

clayboggess writes:
First of all, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. You’re in a difficult position. In my opinion, based on what you’ve shared, there are 3 things that hurt your sale.

1. You offered an identical fundraiser as a previous group.
2. You sold a niche product.
3. Selling on the heels of the school wide fundraiser.

With fundraising, timing is everything. On the surface, it’s never a bad idea to attempt to copy another school’s success. The problem was following up with the same, or similar, fundraiser jut a few weeks afterwards. Yes, people buy pizza during football season, as well as throughout the year. Without knowing the size of your area, many people aren’t necessarily keen on purchasing the same product a second time.

Selling a single product can also have it’s issues. How popular was your local pizza chain? Perhaps selling a discount card that offered a little more diversity might have worked better. We always recommend 80% eating establishments and 20% other (i.e. hair salons, bowling, oil changes etc.). Discount cards typically have from 6-20 businesses.

And selling right after your school-wide sale can be very difficult. Students as well as parents are often tired of selling and aren’t as eager to start the process over again. Many groups have found that waiting until the spring, when there are much fewer fundraisers out there often works better.
Other things like incentives, goal-setting and sales tracking are also important things to implement. For successful strategies, consider these discount card school fundraiser tips. (The last part of the article discusses how to sell off unsold discount cards)

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