Collection Programs: Easy To Run

Collection Programs

The advantage to collecting box tops and labels is that parents don’t have to spend an extra dime to help your school. But all programs are not created equal. Several offerings require too much work for not nearly enough of a reward. General Mills’ Box Tops for Education has become the top of the class in both earnings potential and program services.


Auctions: Big Payoff for Equal Effort


You can raise big money while parents enjoy a fun night—a nice combination. But a major auction is a major undertaking. A strong team and good organization are essential. Also, it’s OK to test the waters. Add a silent auction to an existing event as an alternative.


High-Volume Items/Catalogs: Consistently Successful

High-Volume Sales

This category includes particularly successful single-item sales, such as wrapping paper, magazines, and candy. These items tend to be things that are relatively inexpensive and that people use up fairly quickly (and therefore need to replace). High-volume items and catalog sales remain the most consistently successful and widely used fundraising solution. But parents can get burned out on too many of these sales. Running one or two of these well is much, much better than doing four or five in any fashion. Avoid the temptation to toss out an old faithful for something less tested.


Candles, Flowers, etc.: Complement to Traditional Sales

Single-Item Sales

This category includes items, such as candles and flower bulbs, that don’t fall into the high-volume category. A single-item sale can be a good complement to a more traditional catalog or high-volume item sale. The right product can yield a nice profit. But basics still matter. You need a product the masses can get behind, not just something that a few think is cool. Cookie dough has been perhaps the fastest-growing single-item sales product over the past five years.


Readathons, etc.: Raise Money, Build Excitement

Readathons Etc.

An event like a walkathon, readathon, or spellathon gets the whole school excited and can become nice a tradition. But this type of activity often takes class time, and it requires a lot of collaboration with staff. While events like this are commonly used as a replacement for a big sales fundraiser, they often require more work for fewer dollars.


Scrip: Profit Requires Long-Term Effort and Tracking

Scrip Fundraisers

Scrip involves buying store-specific certificates that can be used like money. At the right school, scrip can be a major moneymaker. But it takes long-term effort and tracking. You’ll need a good system to make it worthwhile. It’s fine to start with just your core leaders—even a few families using grocery scrip can add up.


Loyalty Cards/Credit Cards: Good Fit for Some Groups

Loyalty Cards

Store-brand credit cards and loyalty cards can be powerful because they provide automated earnings. These loyalty programs can be a nice extra for your fundraising, but be careful not to badger parents endlessly. Grocery store cards are the big kahuna. If your local chain has an automated offering, jump.