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School Fundraisers A Model Calendar For Fundraising Throughout The Year

May 26, 2008
School fundraising is a necessity. Not just in order to make up for budget cuts in the school systems but also to enhance and enrich the school experience for the students, teachers and the families. While it would be nice if taxpayers paid for things such as graduation parties, teaching supplies, snacks, music and art programs, and the like, it just isn't possible to fund all the extra things that schools would like to provide. That's why parent organizations, clubs and teams need to raise the money themselves.

Fundraising activities should be as few as possible and as effective as possible. Your organization's mission is not fundraising, however, you must fundraise in order to support your mission. This is something that needs to be communicated by your organization in order get the volunteers and the help you need to carry out your mission.

Less is more when it comes to fundraising. Most parents are continually being asked to contribute their time and money to the many activities they and their children are involved in. So pick your fundraisers wisely.

The first step in establishing a school fundraising calendar is to decide on a budget for each activity that your parent organization or club will be sponsoring in the coming year. Then, look at how much money you already have available and how much you need to raise. After that, then you can decide on your fundraising activities.

The following is a model calendar with fundraising suggestions. Of course, your organization cannot do them all. A good rule of thumb to follow is to hold no more than one to two event fundraisers and no more than two or three product sales per semester. These activities require more time and volunteer participation to conduct and should be combined with the more passive year-round fundraisers.

September: Ice cream socials during Back to School Night, Entertainment book sales, spirit wear sales, child identification programs. Take advantage of back to school nights to let parents know what is planned for the coming year and how they can help. State your budget and goals. Have volunteer sign-up sheets and get email addresses and phone numbers of parents. You probably will not have another opportunity to have the majority of your parents together at school.

October: Fall book fairs, product sales such as gift wrap, gourmet foods and other items that can be used for gift-giving. Halloween and Harvest themed events such as carnivals and bulb and plant sales.

November: Early November is a good time for an annual event such as a gala with a theme and fundraisers such as craft fairs, wreath sales, and ornament sales.

December: This is a busy time of year when it may be difficult to find volunteers. There are also many charities asking for money during the holiday season. Community service projects, fundraising for the benefit of other organizations, are worthwhile activities. Winter festivals, gift wrapping at malls, and holiday shoppes, where children can buy inexpensive presents, are fundraising possibilities.

January: Usually there is not much fundraising done during January because of winter vacation and the start of a new semester. Use this time to plan and organize and recruit volunteers for the rest of the year. You can start with themed product sales such as Valentine's Day candies and gifts.

February: Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day themed events such as dances and product sales.

March: Spring book fairs, restaurant nights, Barnes and Noble shopping days.

April: Rummage sales, recycling projects, spring carnivals, concerts and outdoor events such as golf tournaments and walk-a-thons.

May: Annual end of year fundraising events such as galas, dinners, dances, and banquets. Raffles and auctions are good to hold at this time of year because you can collect prize donations in the prior months. Mother's Day plant sales.

Year-Round Fundraising Opportunities - These fundraisers should be in place year-round and will earn your organization money with minimal effort. Most schools take advantage of collecting labels and box tops year-round. Market Day food fundraisers can also be a profitable year-round activity. Ask parents and supporters to participate in loyalty programs such as shopping at a local grocery store that gives a percentage of sales to your school.

Some credit cards, such as Target stores, give money to schools. Sign up with online fundraising malls and Scrip programs that give back a percentage of sales to registered schools and organizations. Recycling of cellphones and printer ink cartridges can help bring in money year-round.

Offer a mix of different fundraising opportunities throughout the year. Not every family will be able to, or want to, participate in every fundraiser. But most families will find an activity or event they would like to support. Always give parents and supporters the option to contribute with a cash donation. Many parents prefer to do this because they know one hundred percent of their money is going to your organization.

At the end of your fundraising year make sure that you evaluate your fundraisers. Stick with the ones that were successful and find new methods to replace those that were not successful. And, finally, let your volunteers know how they helped your organization and thank them for their support.
About the Author
Article by Amy Passmore of DIY Fundraising. Are you looking for ideas on how to raise money for your school, charity or nonprofit organization? Visit http://www.diyfundraising.com for more great tips and resources from an experienced fundraiser.
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