Back to School Fundraising Ideas

It’s back-to-school time…which also often means school fundraising time! Many schools choose to host their school fundraising events at the beginning of the year. Why? Well, for one…students, parents and teachers are all enthusiastic about the new year. There are many forms parents must read and sign…and therefore this becomes a great time to introduce you upcoming fundraising events throughout the school year.  This is also often the time when the school PTA starts recruiting members and volunteers to assist with PTA fundraising campaigns.

iStock_000015090921LargeSo what kind of school fundraiser will you host this year? below we share a few school fundraising ideas that have become a hit at many other schools across the nation.

Annual Fund Drive: Some schools offer an easy fundraising solution to parents. Instead of hosting multiple small fundraisers throughout the year, (which may seem difficult for parents to contribute to all of them) some schools offer an annual fund drive at the beginning of the year encouraging parents to “pay their dues” up front. for example, they request $50 for each student. If you pay the one time donation, you are covered for the entire year and don’t have to worry about participating in other fundraisers! This provides an easy option for parents who want to give-back to the school but may find it difficult to keep up with various fundraiser and sports fundraising events.

School walk-a-thon - a great fundraising event for back-to-school is a school walk-a-thon. What a great way to build community and meet fellow parents and students. Not to mention it helps set the stage for a healthier alternative to fundraising. Many schools are trying so hard to change their health programs…by offering healthier lunch alternatives, yoga and physical fitness classes, etc. Why promote candy sales when you can promote health and fitness while raising money for your cause?

  • With a walk-a-thon (or any other pledge fundraising events) students can really embrace the spirit of fundraising! They are able to create a personal fundraising page where they can upload a personal photo, goal statement, and collect online donations from family and friends. Schools can track progress and highlight / reward top performing students and classes…creating some healthy competition!

Holiday fundraiser – Yes, the holidays are still a few months away, but Fall is great time to get people prepared. Since so many people plan on making purchases during the holidays, it might be a good idea to sell something that people will end up buying anyways! (again…instead of selling cookie dough)  There are some great fundraising sales programs that offer things like holiday wrapping paper, ornaments or candles.  Offer sales during the Fall so people can purchase in advance and receive their supplies early December.

Charity Auction – School charity auctions not only have tremendous fundraising potential, but they are also a great community builder involving people from your school in a meaningful way.  Not only do parents get involved, but local businesses participate by donating prizes. You can also include fun prizes such as “art lessons” or “tutor for a day” – things that are relevant to learning.  By hosting your charity auction online, you make it really easy for the entire school to participate. Simply post all your auction items and descriptions and send people the link to your charity auction website. They can place bids, select “buy now” pricing, pay online and track all their purchases/bids.

Summary: Once you find a school fundraiser that works, make it a an annual affair. After all, why invent the wheel when you’ve found something that works for your school and community? Happy Fundraising!


Paradise Empowers Golf Fore Kids

Paradise Empowers Golf Fore Kids commences on August 26, 2014. This dynamic charity golf tournament provides funds for tutoring to help children improve their grades, life skills workshops to fortify and enable them to make better life choices, classes to stimulate their minds, bodies and souls such as piano lessons, and educational and cultural field trips to children who otherwise may not have been afforded such opportunities.

golfforekidsOur one-on-one and group-sponsored activities successfully encourage kids to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.”

The schedule for the Paradise Empowers charity golf tournament is packed with activities, starting with a continental breakfast and registration, followed by a putting contest. The golf tournament format will be a shotgun start with a four person scramble. The post tournament lunch and awards presentation celebrates the winners of the 1st and 2nd place teams, putting contest, longest drive contest, closest to the pin contest, hole in one contest on all par 3’s and more.

In step with their goal of maintaining costs at a minimum so that more funds are available to support the needs of children in their communities, they have added a fundraising raffle. They have reached out to their community for a variety of donated items for the raffle, which also builds important partnerships for their future annual charity golf tournaments. And raffles add fun for donors and participants, keeping them coming back year after year.

“Paradise Empowers is a privately funded 501c3 nonprofit organization which enhances the quality of young lives while building hope for the future. Providing both financial backing and individual volunteers, we enable kids to take part in academic, cultural, and social programs—inside and outside the classroom— that fulfill a variety of requirements and desires.”

With a golf tournament website you can register golfers online, collect donations, and manage your charity golf tournament from start to finish! A golf tournament website will help your organization raise more money for your charity golf event, golf marathon, or golf fundraising campaign while saving time and resources during the golf tournament planning.

Charity Golf Tournament Supports National MS Society

On August 14th the MS Golf Outing commences to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Each heroic fundraising campaign held worldwide in support of this organization raises funds towards researching multiple sclerosis (MS) which is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.


“This event has been a huge success year after year.”

“The format is a four-person scramble, and awards will be given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams for the Low Gross Team Scores.  Golfers can participate in skill prize contests such as Million Dollar Shoot-Out, Putting Contest, Longest Drive, Longest Putt, Closest to the Pin, Hole in One Contests and more. Individuals and teams are welcome!” Although it may seem inconsequential, choosing your golf tournament format can make or break your charity golf event.  Consider who your audience is as some formats are fun and more laid back while others are more formal and serious.

The MS Golf Outing has partnered with Steel City Auctions to provide some excellent autographed sports memorabilia to be auctioned at the dinner following the tournament. A golf auction gives everyone in your community an opportunity to donate to your cause through bidding on golf auction items online, at your event, or both.

“The National MS Society mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to  address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. Researchers supported by the National MS Society found that comparing levels of two molecules in the brain with MRI scanning could predict MS progression. With further study, this may be a useful tool for tracking the benefits of treatments in clinical trials aimed at protecting the nervous system from damage.”

With a golf tournament website you can register golfers online, collect donations, and manage your charity golf tournament from start to finish! A golf tournament website will help your organization raise more money for your charity golf event, golf marathon, or golf fundraising campaign while saving time and resources during the golf tournament planning.

Online Donations – 5 Factors Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

online-donationsToday most nonprofit organizations have integrated some type of online payment processing to collect donations on their website.  Yet, collecting online donations isn’t just as simple as putting a “donate now” button on your home page. With so many different options available, how does your nonprofit know which one to choose?

Below we highlight five factors your organization will want to consider if you wish to collect online donations.

1. Functionality. What exactly do you want your donation website to do? Are you looking to simply process online donations for a fundraising campaign? Or are you looking for enhanced capabilities?  Perhaps you want the ability for people to set up recurring payments so they can automatically make payments every month or quarter. Or what if someone wants to make a donation in honor of another person? Perhaps you are interested in highlighting top donors or selling sponsorship spaces to businesses?  Or perhaps you are looking for the ability to set up multiple personal fundraising pages where individual participants can collect online donations (this is often the case for pledge fundraising campaigns such as walk-a-thons). Write down your goals. Include all the capabilities you’d like your donation software to manage. This will help you narrow down your choices right from the start.

2. Ease of Implementation. While some organizations choose to develop their own online donations form, this can end up being very time consuming and costly for your organization. In order to easily collect donations and mange your donor details, you’ll probably want to implement some kind of donation software. There are many reputable companies that do this day in and day out – why reinvent the wheel when you can benefit from their expertize?

3. Company Reputation & Security.  Be sure to work with someone credible (after all, they’ll be responsible for managing all the funds for your campaign). How long has the company been in business? What clients do they have? What is their customer service like? Are they PCI compliant and knowledgeable about internet security issues? Keep in mind that whichever vendor you do choose, you’ll be working with throughout the duration of your fundraising campaign (and possibly into the future) so work with someone you like. Someone that is helpful, responsive…and perhaps a company that doesn’t charge extra for support.

4. Pricing & Fees. Of course pricing is a factor of any decision for a nonprofit. Your organization will need to investigate how much the company you choose to work with will charge for the donations you raise. Keep in mind that you aren’t always be comparing apples to apples.  So if a company offers a “free donation website” – what exactly does that mean? Does it result in higher than normal transaction fees?  Most companies will charge some type of transaction fee (meaning the company is taking a percentage of the donations you raise). But, this can range from 3%-9% (which is a huge difference)! Example: If your goal is to raise $20,000 – A company that takes 3% will receive $600 of that, where a company that takes 9% will receive $1,800. There are some companies that don’t take any transaction fees at all and only charge a flat-fee for a donation website. In this scenario, your organization would be responsible for managing the intake of your own money via the payment processor you choose.

5. Ease of Use for Your Donors. A very important factor to look at is just how easy it will be for a donor to make a donation. First, you’ll want to consider what the donation website will look like. Does your donation website have the same look and feel of your organization’s website, providing a seamless user-experience. You also want to consider how many clicks a donor must make to complete the transaction (and keep in mind that many online donors abandon mission if there are too many steps). Is there a simple “Donate Now” button that takes donors to a form that they can easily fill out & hit submit? A big consideration is also whether or not the donation processing form “lives” on your website. (i.e. one disadvantage of processing payment via PayPal is that donors are taken away from your site. Some people are leery of this)



Environmental Fundraising – Boulder Bird Day

Environment for the Americas is holding a series of free, bird-focused programs for youth (ages 6-9) this summer. On Friday, June 27, Boulder Bird Day commences with a nature hike entitled “Birds Abound Around You” during which the children will enjoy learning about how to observe birds and discuss bird behaviors.


This special environmental fundraising event holds a second activity for the kids “Bird Identification: Getting Started” on July 12 focused on learning the basics of bird identification based on their silhouettes or beaks, along with learning how to properly use binoculars. And the third activity “Birds Around your Home: How Can You Help Birds?” will get the kids involved in making bird feeders, cleaning them and making bird-friendly glass designs for their windows.

Registration was made easy for each family via the Boulder Bird Day fundraising website. Sumptuous photos of nature were added to this site along with a full description of each Jr. Birder Program. Advertising for this unique event happened by email and the Internet presence of their beautifully designed website.

Environment for the Americas is an environmental non-profit located in Boulder. “We connect people to nature through birds and bird conservation.  As the home of the largest hemispheric celebration of birds, International Migratory Bird Day, we work from Canada to Argentina with participants of all ages.”

Environmental fundraising events can be fully managed through event management software complete with event registration and management features.  Walk-a-thons and bike-a-thons are also popular fundraising events for the environment in getting people out to see the ecologically important lands and waters they wish to protect.