With a large number of schools in the same geographic area at the same time, it can seem hard to set your fundraising discount cards far enough above the rest that local residents will dig into their pockets and choose to purchase your cards.

The solution? Make your fundraising cards stand apart.

Some schools or organizations choose to develop a unique fundraising card that has the best discounts, and this isn’t a bad strategy. They visit retailers before the other schools get there, approach business owners who have children or other young relatives in their school, and try to negotiate good deals. Another idea, however, is to do something creative with your cards—something that makes them a cut above the rest. Here are our top five ways to up your game and get creative your fundraising discount cards:

1. Offer a Themed Card

Think about the types of discounts that will really appeal to your target audience. Then, take it one step further and offer a themed card. Your theme can be as diverse as your student body or your geographic area. Instead of reaching out to every business owner in the area, consider focusing on something specific. Fast food or fine dining are both easy and popular themes. Some schools have found success by offering a dinner-and-a-movie discount card, and a local-hits card that showcases the best locations in your area.

2. Offer Discounts to School Events

If you can appeal to your high-school students, you’ll be able to sell cards in a hurry. The fastest way to do that? Offer them discounts to school events! Selling cards to raise money for the football team or cheerleading squad? Offer $1 off tickets to every football game this season. Discounts like this won’t just appeal to students. They’ll also appeal to parents.

3. Hold a Contest

Let your art students design the discount card for you. You can offer incentives in the form of prizes or simply let having their work featured on the card be enough. Remember, these are often students who are eager for one more accomplishment to put on their college applications, so the competition may be fierce.  Also, remember that whatever design is created will need to be supplied in a high-resolution PDF file for professionally printing the plastic discount cards.

You don’t have to use the same design for every card, either! Any time a student’s work is featured, their parents, grandparents, and other friends and relatives will all jump at the chance to hold that piece of artwork in their hands. Featuring one, two, or three different designs will help your cards appeal to a larger number of people on a personal level. Having a contest will also help generate interest in the cards and spread information about them.

4. Offer Cards Different Times of the Year Than Everyone Else

When school first starts, everyone is fundraising like crazy. By offering your discount cards at a different time of year, you’re able to get away from the pack and appeal to people who might not have been able to afford a discount card during the busy—and expensive—back-to-school season.  Consider specializing your cards for the season you’re offering them in. For example, if you’re selling discount cards around the Christmas holidays, you might offer more boutique discounts or discounts on wrapping services. Around Valentine’s Day, chocolate stores and flower shops will be a big hit. Prom season would bring a huge burst in sales if discounts were offered for tux rentals, corsages, and prom dresses.

Even at the end of the school year, you can make your discount cards a big hit. People are thinking about ice cream, vacation plans, and ways to keep cool over the summer months. If you want to get a jump on fundraising for the next year (and what program doesn’t already know that it’s going to need the funds?), put together a discount card that’s perfect for summer in your city. At this time of year, you’re competing with very few other fundraising activities, so your discount cards will sell quickly.

Let your imagination run wild and customize your card based on what’s available in your area or appropriate for the season. By changing it up, you’ll create a whole new level of interest in your discount cards. You might even be surprised at what a big a hit your cards are!

5. Offer Unique Discounts

Many people don’t ask particular stores to participate in their fundraisers because they don’t think anyone will want the discount. While you don’t want to fill your card with discounts that no one will use, remember that many niche businesses have been open for years, and people are obviously using their services. Visit a few off-the-wall locations and see what they have to offer for your discount card. You never know: the place that you were planning to ignore completely might just be the best reason your cards sell.