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School Fundraiser Planning Checklist

School Fundraiser Planning Checklist

The keys to holding a successful school fundraiser are communication and participation. Maximize both by following this plan!


☐ Choose a fundraiser that your community will support.

To get enough participation for a successful school fundraiser, you’ll need buy-in from your selling team—and that will lead to participation from buyers. When you’re deciding on your fundraiser, consider your community’s income levels, disposable time available, and other factors.

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☐ Communicate the purpose of your fundraiser.

Tell your sellers (and have them share with supporters later) what you’re fundraising for and why it will benefit them as well as your school. Be specific—people will respond more strongly to a purpose like “paying for all school enrichment programs” than to a more generic one like “for the general PTO fund.”

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☐ Set defined goals.

Be up front about how much you want to raise and the level of participation you’d like to reach. You can include an overall goal as well as individual ones. For instance, if your overall goal for a product fundraiser is $15,000 and you have 400 families at your school, you can break that down into a participation goal of 50% (200 families) and an individual seller goal of at least five items each, or $75 per order.

☐ Check your school and community calendars for competing programs.

Make sure that no similar fundraising events are happening at your school or in the broader community at the same time, especially if you’ll be trying to reach the same group  of supporters. This will ensure that you won’t be competing for your customers’ time and contributions.

☐ Motivate your sellers.

Tell your fundraising crew why their participation is important, and communicate regularly to keep them engaged throughout the fundraising period. Get creative with messaging tactics such as social media videos, the backpack express, or hard-to-miss yard signs in front of the school. Periodically remind your sellers of goals, prizes, and deadlines.

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☐ Add an incentive.

If students are excited to participate, they’ll get their parents involved. Incentives can range from individual prizes to classroom- or grade-level treats to a schoolwide activity for meeting an overall goal. And they don’t need to cost a lot of money to be effective (though it helps to have a principal who’s willing to get a little messy).

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☐ Encourage your sellers to connect with their entire network.

Give your participants ideas of who they can talk to beyond their immediate family and neighbors, such as friends from other schools, grandparents or other relatives, coworkers, etc. Remind them to take advantage of online ordering and payment options to connect with potential supporters who live farther away.

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☐ Use all methods of communication to increase your buyer base. 

Include easy ways to purchase or otherwise support your fundraiser and your group, like QR codes and short URLs, and talk up the convenience of home delivery, if that’s an option.

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☐ Make sure your fundraising chairperson, board, and volunteers are all on the same page.

If everyone on the committee knows the scoop, they can respond to questions quickly and efficiently. Keep an eye on social media threads and email accounts for those questions (and remind them they can vent offline, to each other, about giving the same answer multiple times 😜).

☐ Announce how much was raised and whether you reached your goal.

Hand in hand with the announcement should be a thank-you (along with a visual of what you achieved, if possible) to everyone who donated, purchased, or worked to make the event a success!

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