Raise Money For School

The attempt to raise money for school projects not funded by the regular budget has always been an ongoing battle for the staffs and students plus parents of most public schools across the country for decades. From actual desks and chairs to books to new lab equipment all the way to junior class sightseeing trips to major cities and band uniforms and new sousaphones for New Year's Day parades, the needs never stop. In many schools the requests for fundraiser approvals are on the desk of principals every month and for some principals it is personal because the fundraiser means a pie in the face or a sloppy kiss on a pig's lips. Americans have always responded to well run fundraisers and seem to look for opportunities to support academic and sporting as well as charity events that appear to merit assistance. In the same vein, Americans are not real keen on fundraisers that have a begging tone to them and seem to desire for their supported causes to act like they deserve the money.

There is a great deal of weight that many fundraising chairpersons carry as they attempt to answer the call of the principal, band director or perhaps even a coach for the needed funds. As more and more schools fight for every dollar of support from the state and from local property taxes, it appears that the skyrocketing budgets of running a pared down school system will not allow any ebbing of the demand for fundraising efforts in the near future. So efforts to raise money for school extras will be more important than ever as the century rolls along. And in the years to come, those extras may become the assumptions of the past. Textbooks, busses, lab equipment, and lunches for those who can't afford them may actually one day soon be hoped for rather than assumed. And more and more athletics are becoming pay to play, which perhaps well they should, but even school PE may one day be in jeopardy if it comes to a choice between math books and gym class. So the corporations that make their profit by helping to raise money for school extras through fundraising are certainly licking their chops at a future which looks bright for them.

If the reader of this article is tasked with the responsibility to raise money for school extras, there are some things to remember. First, people do want to give, even in harder economic times, if they believe in the cause. Don't be asking for money for new band uniforms when the old ones still look pretty good to the average Joe. But if the uniforms are in bad shape, then tell the story of individual band members who have worked hard during their high school career and improved their playing abilities and have given back to the community through service projects. Whatever is being asked for, a human story must accompany it in order to have a successful campaign to raise money for school purposes. For the Christian, there is a great underlying confidence that God will meet the needs (not the greeds) of his life. "And I (Jesus) say ask, and it shall be given , seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened." (Luke 11:9)

The conversation between the fundraiser and the donor must begin before the actual asking of a donation. It's amazing how many fundraising efforts begin by students just knocking on doors with a crate of grapefruits under their arm and a request for a twenty dollar purchase to support the junior trip when not a single bit on information has been placed in potential buyer hands ahead of time telling of last year's trip where lives were changed by what was seen and experienced. Tell the story first then sell your oranges or cookie dough or rubber ducky for the regatta. And the bigger the project is trying to be funded, the more stories and more dialogue must first take place. Even when the supporters of the project are getting something back in return, to effectively raise money for school events or projects or needs, there is never too much information they can get, and there is never too much thanks they can receive. When the people bought that tub of frozen cookie goo, did they get a thank you that was tangible, i.e. something they can hold in their hand like a thank you card? Pave the way for another sale next year for the next person tasked with the responsibility to raise money for school projects.

Some of the best advice any chairperson can receive when tasked with the responsibility to raise money for school expenses or events or projects is to make sure you have committee members who are not afraid to get out and ask people themselves for donations, either through sales or other means. It may quickly be revealed that some of them are not really passionate about the task at hand, and that means it is your responsibility to instill that passion. And if the chairperson doesn't have the passion, get out today and let someone else do the job that has that fire in the belly. Whether it is new nap time rugs for the preschool or new bleachers for the football stadium, passion and storytelling are two of the chairperson's greatest allies and needed strengths. Go to the Internet and you'll find plenty of fundraising ideas to harness that passion.

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