Engage Parents in School Fundraising Initiatives

In a recent blog post, we noted that along with “back-to-school” comes “back-to-fundraising”. A very important part of school fundraising is gaining the support of the parents. (especially for the younger students). How can schools do this?

Proud parents

Below we share some helpful tips to help engage parents with school fundraisers:

  • Limit the Number of Fundraisers. One very important thing to keep in mind is that kids have “other” engagements that require fundraising. If they are involved in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts they are likely out there selling cookies or popcorn. Sports teams also host fundraisers to raise money for competitions and equipment. Try to minimize your general school fundraising events to one or two per year. You don’t want to burn the kids out, but you also don’t want to burn out the parents or the community and family/friends networks that are contributing to these causes!
  • Communicate the Cause & Value. Be sure to explain the cause of the fundraiser. What exactly are the funds being used for? And not only that…but what is the “VALUE” students receive by participating? Parents will be more willing to volunteer their time and open their checkbook if they have a clear understanding of how the funds will be used and how their children will learn from the experience. This will also help teach students to make a case (i.e. sales pitch) and perhaps teach them something about setting and accomplishing goals.
  • Make it Easy. Set up a user-friendly fundraising website where you post all the details of your fundraising campaign and allow for people to make online donations. Make it easy for parents to promote the fundraiser by sharing the link with family and friends. Many relatives live out of state and would like to contribute, so creating a simple one-click method will help bring in more donations. This also encourages crowdfunding via social networking. Students, siblings and parents can post announcements on their Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram (etc) and attract the attention of hundreds of people without having to make a direct appeal.
  • Host a Kick-Off party: Parents are more willing to offer their assistance when they understand what is required of them. Don’t send home a bunch of forms and expect them to read everything and then get excited about your fundraiser. Host an after-school event with ice cream, music and games. Here you can inform everyone about your exact expectations and how to be successful. It’s also a great way for parents to network with one another and perhaps provides an opportunity for PTA members to seek out new volunteers.
  • Motivate with Incentives and Prizes! Parents love to see their children passionate about something. If the kids are excited, the parents will be too. Offer prizes for students who reach a certain goal. Host a pizza party for the class that raises the most funds (encouraging bonding in the classroom and healthy competition throughout the school). Offer a raffle for the parents that includes prizes they would like (i.e. spa or restaurant gift cards). Perhaps a special “parent-child” award for the families that worked hardest together (a special field trip). Using pledge software for schools allows students to create a personal fundraising page where they can collect donations and track their individual progress against others.

In Summary

These same tactics hold true for other youth fundraising events – whether organized by the church, a sporting team or another group, getting the parents involved in their children’s fundraising campaigns will contribute to a much higher chance of success!