A Texas middle school had its fifteen minutes of fame after a local mom shared on Facebook the bizarre fundraising letter her daughter brought home. The PTA spared no punches in appealing to parents bored with the old tried-and-true activities staged to bring in money necessary to run extracurricular activities.
In lieu of explaining the fundraiser drive, the letter listed check-off options and corresponding donations. For instance, selecting the $15 option sent the message, “I do not bake so here’s the money I would have spent on cupcakes.”
The $50 option, perhaps meant for the sedentary, proclaimed “I do not want to walk, swim, or run in any activity that has thon in it, so here’s the $50 I would have spent on my child’ ‘free’ t-shirt.”
There were also $25, $75, and $100 tongue-in-cheek donations, but rather than belabor the point, it’s fair to say that the school may have missed the point. .
It’s More Than Just Money
While there’s no doubt that the goal of any middle school fundraiser is in response to a real need, they’re also a chance for the students to set a group goal and work together to reach it. It gives them a sense of ownership in their education and activities, especially in the case of high-school students who will be using the extracurricular equipment that they worked so hard to fund.
Fundraisers also impart experiences that will benefit students in other areas of their lives:
- Talking to potential customers, using clear and direct speech are communication skills that are often left by the wayside in today’s screen-absorbed world. These exercises can prepare students for college interviews or student government.
- Taking and tracking orders, computing costs, handling money, and delivering goods, are all skills that are called for in the business world.
- Designing posters, composing press releases, leaflets, and ads contribute to students’ creativity and reinforce their spelling, language, and written communications skills.
PTO Today ran an article titled What Kids Learn from Fundraising, which quotes a PTO president who talks about a fourth grader’s experience fundraising:
He wrote out a script and used it to call his grandparents, aunts, and uncles to ask for support. He was determined to reach a certain goal, and he did, coming in third place for school and receiving a prize. He truly learned how to create a goal, make a plan, implement a plan, and succeed.
Getting Parents On Board
While parents undoubtedly shoulder a large part of the selling involved in a fundraising campaign, it seems to lessen as children grow older and get excited about the immediate benefits that their involvement in fundraising brings to their teams and extracurricular clubs and activities. Still, a bit of parental motivation can be all it takes to bring in even more funds.
Parents who worry about the introverting effects of preoccupation with mobile devices may be glad to hear of the opportunities for outward-directed contact and development of social skills that come with a child’s fundraiser involvement. Parents can encourage their children to use their interest in social media to promote the fundraiser.
Merchant tickets are an incredibly effective fundraising option. In this case, students still get to exercise their persuasive sales skills, and get to talk to local merchants about getting involved. A campaign centered around merchants in the area is a win-win-win situation. Purchasers reap the discounts and offers that the business owners are giving, and the businesses get a chance to win over new customers who may never have entered their shop were it not for the fundraiser.
The upper portion of the ticket provides a space for listing important dates like football games and rallies, drama presentations, or to display logos, or mascots. The perforated tear-off tickets below fold accordion style for stashing away until needed.
A more durable option based on the same premise of school and merchant cooperation is the plastic discount card. Available in different amounts, holders can visit participating merchants to cash in completely for a selected amount of time, or use one-time use offers printed on the detachable key tags.
Electro Image can help your school, team, or group pick out the fundraising materials that are best suited for your efforts. We not only provide attractively designed and printed merchant tickets and plastic discount cards, but also merchant forms and promotional media, like banner displays and advertising flags to drum up school spirit.