School Band Fund Raiser

If Professor Harold Hill had used today's marching band fundraising ideas, he would have been more successful in getting the 76 trombones for his boy's band without conning the residents of River City. The fictitious Professor Hill of the 1962 Oscar-winning film, The Music Man, used some fast talking to convince townspeople to buy instruments for a non-existent marching band, but today's fundraising efforts offer surefire ways of accomplishing goals without compromise. Ethics and education should go hand in hand, and one of the greatest life lessons teachers and parents can teach children is to always deal honestly with others. "Let us walk honestly; as in the day; not in rioting or drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying" (Romans 13:13). A well-trained core of honest students can help defray the cost of uniforms, instruments, and out of town travel through ethical and profitable marching band fundraising efforts. Community leaders and local business people will gladly support a fundraising campaign that is conducted with decorum and a great school spirit!

The high cost of instruments, uniforms, travel, and competitions can break the budget at most schools. Educational institutions rely on an annual or semi-annual school band fund raiser to obtain the necessary funds to support activities and purchase expensive attire. Marching band fundraising is an all out effort to gain community, corporate, and private financial support for local secondary and middle grade schools. Students, parents and teachers participate in sales of food items, such as cookie dough, cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes, and cheesecakes; Christmas flowers and centerpieces; discount gift cards; or engraved or monogrammed specialty items. Community groups and local businesses sometimes sponsor fundraisers by cooperating with local media to advertise special sales and events. Companies that specialize in helping schools raise monies lend support for moneymaking efforts and split profits with fundraising groups, which can be quite lucrative as much as 50% of total sales, less returns.

A successful school band fund raiser will begin with an organizational meeting of faculty and music department heads to discuss financial needs, define the goals of each fund raising effort, and select a good sales product. It's a good idea to bring several suggestions for products to the first organizational meeting, along with proposals for setting financial goals and gathering support from the community and the student body. After goals and objectives have been established, committed students and faculty organize a rally to inform the community and other sectors of the student population about the fund raiser and gather support. A good school spirit and a desire to outfit the marching band, which represents the school at competitive events in and out of town, will motivate parents, students, and teachers to put make an A-plus effort. Local businesses can get in on the act by not only buying fund raising products, but also offering discounts for customers who support the school.

After a kick-off rally, marching band fundraising begins with participants picking up fundraising sales kits to take orders for specific products. Door-to-door sales, bazaars, sports activities, church suppers, football and basketball games, car washes, dances, plays, musicals, and gospel concerts are all great ways to raise money for the cause. At each event or venue, sales kits, samples, and order forms should be in abundant supply. And students should not take no for an answer. For every no, there is bound to be a yes and a customer who will exceed expectations by financially supporting the team effort.

The school band fund raiser will gain momentum as participants reach their goals. Nothing motivates students, faculty, and parents more than quickly selling fund raising products. The fastest way to a man's heart and wallet is his stomach, and food items may sell faster than specialty items such as T-shirts, caps or mugs. Other great selling items are accessories that individuals find useful or items that are seasonal. Flower bulbs are a hot selling item just before the spring gardening season. Christmas centerpieces or flower arrangements are best sold a month before the holidays; while chocolates, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, and other edibles are year 'round winners. Gift cards for pizza, steak sandwiches, ice cream, or other tasty treats will also sell any time of the year, especially to high school and college students. Schools can also qualify for non-profit programs and discounts through some companies. Fundraising professionals can offer the best advice regarding the suitability of each product, along with its potential earnings. If problems arise, most reputable fundraising companies will gladly assist participants in resolving issues or providing replacement orders.

Campaign organizers should pay close attention to deadlines and due dates for taking orders, collecting money, and delivering products. A firm deadline for order taking should be established, and once students have met the deadline, a scheduled pick up date to collect and distribute fund raising products should be decided upon. Participants should turn in all monies by the deadline to ensure that the band or school doesn't have to wind up compensating fund raising companies for orders that are unpaid. Companies should have a policy for damaged goods, returns, and insufficient orders. A school band fund raiser works on the honor system. Participants are duty bound to turn in monies, customers are on their honor to pay monies at the time orders are taken, and fund raising companies are on their honor to provide quality products, on time, in good condition, and as close in appearance, taste, and quality as the advertised merchandise. If everyone upholds their end of the bargain, marching band fund raising is a cake walk!

School Fundraising Program

The primary goal of a school fundraising program is to help individual classes, athletic teams, or clubs raise money to pay for expenses. For example, a junior class may need to raise money to pay for the junior/senior prom. The students need to find some way to build their treasury so they can rent space, hire a band, and buy decorations. A track team may need to come up with money to help pay the transportation costs to various meets. The National Honor Society members may hold a fundraiser to get the funds needed for a service project. Especially during these difficult economic times, many educational facilities are cutting back on extracurricular activities and expenses. This situation may mean that the students and parents have to be even more diligent and creative in coming up with new ways to fill the class, team, and club treasuries. Church youth groups and other nonprofit organizations, such as 4-H clubs and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, also utilize fundraisers to help meet expenses. In fact, the Girl Scouts have made an annual tradition of selling boxes of popular types of cookies. But though the primary goal of a youth or school fundraising program is to increase the treasury, there are secondary benefits for the participants.

Fundraising events give kids the opportunity to learn important skills. A successful fundraiser requires organization, careful administration and record-keeping, and salesmanship. Though parents often manage the organizing and administrative aspects for younger students, older students should be given the opportunity to help with these tasks. Through hands-on experience, teenagers learn how to evaluate which youth or school fundraising program provides the best opportunity for maximizing revenue. Perhaps one program gives a higher percentage of return for each item sold, but the items are costly and may be hard to sell. Another program may provide a smaller percentage, but the items are popular, inexpensive, and easy to sell. Additionally, teens need to learn how to keep accurate records of sales, understand the difference between wholesale and retail costs, and how to calculate the profits. Children and teens can also learn the basics of good salesmanship for example, how to present oneself to the public, how to overcome objections, and how best to present the item being sold. Since parents and family members are often the seller's first customers, the student's early experiences are usually positive. This can give them the confidence to present the products to neighbors and other family friends.

A nonprofit youth or school fundraising program often encourages children to approach only people they know or to have parents accompany them through their own neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the world has become a dangerous place for children and it's not at all wise for children to be let loose to go door-to-door unaccompanied. This means that many parents take the fundraising catalog or items to their businesses and ask their coworkers to participate in the program. The unsaid agreement is that the parents will purchase from each other as the children participate in these fundraisers. This practice may mean that a child wins prizes or other incentives for having the most sales, but is really an unfair practice. Not only is it unfair to other children whose parents may not want to bother their coworkers, but the child is cheated from learning how to take responsibility for her own success as well as other lessons that can be learned by participating in fundraisers. The organizers of a youth or school fundraising program should research options that allow the children and teens to take the responsibility for raising money rather than pawning that job off onto the parents. The parents need to be careful guardians to youngsters and hands-off but helpful advisors to the teens. The adult motto may be this verse: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Psalm 32:8).

There are many companies in the business of providing fundraising opportunities to church youth groups, youth organizations, and schools. In addition to providing the products, these companies, depending on the specific program, almost always provide starter kits that include such items as promotional materials, posters, brochures, sample letters for parents and/or local merchants, order forms, catalogs, and perhaps even samples. Some fundraisers are organized so that the purchased item is given to the customer immediately. For example, let's say the cheerleading squad participates in a school fundraising program to sell candy bars. The cheerleaders have boxes of candy bars that they sell to their classmates. Other types of fundraisers give the participants catalogs. The drama team may collect orders for gift items chosen from a catalog. The team sends the orders and money to the fundraising company and then delivers the items to the customers once they are received from the company. The organizers keep track of the profit that the team gets to keep based on the collected orders.

A popular school fundraising program utilizes discount cards that can be sold for a nominal fee to customers, say $10 or $15. The card entitles the cardholder to discounts at local businesses that participate in the program. The card often has the school mascot on the front and the list of participating merchants on the back. For example, the cardholder may get a ten percent discount every time he shows the card at a local pizza place. Or the card might entitle the cardholder to a free dessert at a popular restaurant. A similar program offers certificates or gift cards to popular chains. The youth group or school organization purchases these certificates or gift cards at a discount and then resells them for their face value. Since customers would be shopping at these stores or eating at these restaurants anyway, the group raises money without it really costing customers anything. These can be especially popular to sell at church functions since so many church members go out to eat on Sundays anyway. They can purchase the gift card for their favorite restaurant and support the youth group at the same time without spending any additional money. This type of youth or school fundraising program is a win-win for all involved and only needs someone to take responsibility to coordinate and manage it for the program to be successful.

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