The Group: Broadway Middle School PTO, Seaside, Ore.

The Setting: A fundraising breakfast in the school cafeteria during a weekend children’s basketball tournament; the Saturday event was held in the school’s two gymnasiums.

The Idea: With about 25 teams competing, the PTO expected to feed at least 500 people. Volunteers showed up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare eggs, hash browns, sausage and bacon, cinnamon rolls, muffins, coffee, and espresso.

What Went Wrong: Only 19 people bought breakfast. “It was mainly the tournament schedules,” says treasurer Linda Anderson. “Either [the games] started too early, or they didn’t plan on it ahead of time and went to breakfast before coming.”

What Happened Next: As a last-ditch effort to boost sales, parents moved the coffee cart to the building entrance and had students walk around with trays of muffins and cinnamon rolls for sale. “We had some kids that had sandwich board signs on and we sent them out to stand by the road to say that everybody’s welcome,” Anderson recalls. “We did about everything we could think of.”

The Outcome: The PTO froze much of the food, which Anderson says was served at teacher breakfasts and morning meetings for months afterward: “Every time there was any opportunity to make a breakfast, we did.”

Post-Game Analysis: “It could have worked,” says Anderson, “but I think it needed a lot more publicity way before the tournament.”

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