I feel pretty confident in writing that a normal human being probably wouldn’t get very excited over the prospect of fundraising 365 per year. (366 on leap year!) It would take a pretty, well… interesting… individual who would want to get up each morning and ask, ask, ask for money without pause. Especially in this economy, right?
Well, while it might not seem like the most appealing of ideas, perhaps it is the wisest.
During the time I worked as an administrator at a private elementary school, there were periods that we didn’t think about fundraising. Running an auction, hosting a golf outing, putting on a school carnival, or selling a truckload of cookie dough was often energy-draining, so we usually had periods directly after the sale or event where we’d conveniently ignore thinking about fundraising. We had to take the break. Then dutifully, we’d start in again, when it was time to plan the next big thing. I often felt like Tarzan, swinging from one fundraising vine to the next.
However, I think there may be a better way to approach the need to raise money for your school. Or at least, there may be a way to spread the vines out further apart.
It’s the idea of passive fundraising every single day of not only the school year, but the entire calendar year. As you can imagine, this strategy involves setting up programs that automatically generate streams of income without you having to exert much of an effort at all. The greatest amount of work you’d need to do would be in the beginning, when you’re investigating it, figuring out how to customize it for your school, and advertising it to your supporters. After that, your biggest job is to remind people that these opportunities exist and don’t stop existing, even in the summer months, so the money keeps flowing into your coffers on a year-round basis.
Having been involved in many other, more time-intensive fundraisers, this sounds pretty good to me. Parents appreciate this passive system, as well, because they can plug into it on their own time schedule. As the father of four small children, the single biggest reason I wouldn’t participate in a fundraiser for my kids is time. If there is a fundraising event scheduled for a certain day, there’s a good chance that I’m already booked. So, someone like me or my wife would really appreciate something much more flexible.
For example, if I were aware that my kid’s school had a robust passive fundraising program, I could create a system within my home where I’m clipping, saving, recycling, etc. By the end of the school year, maybe I’ve contributed a total of a couple hundred dollars. This is potentially (no, make that PROBABLY) more that I/we would have done for a second or third product sale.
When so many people are expressing a reluctance to have their kids get involved with sales, here’s a way to still accomplish the goal of raising money without crossing any lines that might make a person uncomfortable.
Here’s a list of some ideas for passive fundraising. Half of them are links to other information sites, so you can click on it to investigate the idea further. Remember, all of these programs could be run 365 days per year. All you have to do is to create a mindset on behalf of the students’ parents that this is a very important way they can help.
- eFundraising’s online magazine sale
- Printer cartridges recycling
- Cell phone recycling
- Newspaper recycling
- Online auctions
- BoxTops/Soup can labels
- Grocery store “Cash for Class” programs
- Returning soda cans/bottles
- Collection box at school events
- Online search engines- goodsearch.com