Now that school is in session, parents are bracing for the inevitable onslaught of cookie dough, candle and wrapping paper catalogs to help raise money for their child’s school.
Facing the same old tired school fundraisers may turn off some, but in tough economic times, schools rely more than ever on support from parent clubs and contributors.
Fundraising experts say schools need to step up creativity to keep donors motivated. Here is a resource guide school staffs and parent clubs can use all school year:
"One way to keep fresh ideas coming is to involve parents from the beginning so they have ownership from the inception of an idea," says Shannon Reardon, director of marketing at Miami Country Day School.
Parents, because they are out in the field talking to other moms and dads, are the logical choice to bring in feedback about what works and what doesn’t, she said.
Making students an integral part of a fundraiser, such as having them create art or provide musical entertainment, usually makes for a more successful event than selling a store-bought item.
"It connects and involves students and parents, which makes them more vested in the process," Reardon said.
INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY
Local businesses have a vested interest in your school – you are their potential customers. Why not strengthen that bond? American Heritage School in Plantation recruits local merchants to sell wares at its holiday boutique each year. "This event is not just about fundraising, but about uniting community, parents and schools," said Kat Silverglate, president of the Upper School’s Parent-Teacher Organization.
RECRUIT NEW BUSINESSES
If a new business opens in your neighborhood, recruit them to be a school partner. Ask them to host a school night – you get people from your school to their business, and they give you 10 percent of the profits. Enlist faculty as servers or hostesses to make it more fun.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREEBIES
Be sure parents are aware of rewards programs in the community that can benefit your school.