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School Fundraising


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nesto21 May 4, 2011


Found a school fundraiser that allows students to raise money for their school, but also earn scholarship credits at the same time. Basically the students are selling products like cookie dough, chocolates, candles, etc, and the company gives a percentage back to the school like most traditional fundraisers, but also students earn a percentage in the form of scholarship credits! Thought that was a great idea. I spoke with the company and it turns out many schools in Arizona have heard about this program but have not started using them, instead continue using other companies that offer nothing but cheap toys and prizes, any parents find that strange? Seems like a great idea to me.

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MagnetMom May 5, 2011


Hi nesto21,

School fundraisers are a complicated thing. If you have concerns about your school's use of certain companies, attend the next PTO meeting and ask.

Some long term agreements offer higher percentages as rewards for loyalty. A school getting a full 50% would be more desirable than 40% or less. In addition, great sales people can't be dismissed. And most important is the actual fulfillment of the products--and that the products are as advertised.

Here's our recent scenario: We worked with a company where the rep was available nearly 24-7, and moved mountains to solve problems. When she changed companies, she was legally prevented from competing for a few years. Our school took the opportunity to try another company and the headache was so large--with wrong orders, inability to order other items, having to order certain items online only, yet not being able to have students create an online "store" to have relatives purchase from other areas. We're going back to the company we know next year, even without the great salesperson.

While scholarships are a great idea, I would want to know how long the company has been around, because honestly I'd need to know the scholarships would actually be there when my child needed them, and whether they had to be in college or if any trade school. And if they had to wait until they graduated or could they use it earlier if they are taking courses. And honestly, whether the company would be there when my child graduates.

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nesto21 May 5, 2011


Hi Magnet Mom,

You make some great points. I know the value of great customer service and having loyalty, which I completely understand, but it just seems like fundraising has not done much to change for so many years now.

It just feels like the concern is on what product can be sold next that will raise the most, but really I never buy anything from students because of the product they are selling, but for the support it provides. I never see a fundraiser selling a product worth its price, and I feel like all parents grow tired of the same wrapping paper or cookie dough, not to mention after we sell 250 dollars worth of product, our child takes home a cheap toy that breaks...annoying!

The scholarship company is relatively new(i think they said 3 years), I met the owners at a school carnival. They were younger, but seemed very sincere and wanting to help the schools, parents, but most importantly the students. How can any company grow if nobody is willing to make a change, or take the risk. I was curious about how it all worked, and they told me that the scholarship accounts are set up in a non profit account set aside for the students, and regardless what happens to them, the money will always be there for the kids. It was also transferable to siblings if my child did not use it.

I just thought for once it seemed like here is another fundraising company, offering products we already sell year in and year out, why not try something new and see where it goes? They seemed to have been getting a lot of support with parents signatures, but said the PTO is really who needs to make that decision, but have had little success.

I plan on attending the next meeting, and will certainly ask these questions, I am just ready for something different. I think they were called Incentives Fundraising for those interested.

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MagnetMom May 5, 2011


Definitely suggest looking at other options at your next PTO meeting. But again if the percentages are off, the PTO would have to sponsor yet another fundraiser. Typically the school gets 50% for the giftwrap and other sales, not 36-40%. While it's nice that the students accumulate something, even the larger percentages for students aren't going to make that big a dent in college.

My daughter, an incredibly shy child, actually comes out of her shell for her yearly magazine/gift wrap sale. She has customers that save their gift wrap needs all year and purchase from her. And the year she sold over $1000, the prizes with the company they used were much higher than the examples used as well. She earned an electric guitar and amp, a karaoke machine, and she donated most of the items to a "toys for tots" organization.

You might volunteer to head a committee to try to negotiate with other companies and get a better percentage or get the company you're currently with to pick up the costs of the prizes--or both. All those things are negotiable, but no fundraiser should be offering a mere 36% or less.


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nesto21 May 5, 2011


That is great feedback. I read somewhere that on average schools keep less than 50%, something like 46.5% on product fundraising, I couldn't believe that. I can tell you that if your daughter sold $1000 dollars worth of gift wrap, she is one of the few who can do that, plus almost $200 dollars of that put into a scholarship account that earns interest is much more than most families are putting away for their children' s college fund these days. I went to college, my first bill at the bookstore was nearly $500 dollars that I did not plan for, had to thank my credit card for that one. I think the company probably does not compete in terms of percentages to the school, but as a total they are giving almost 60% away..I have to wonder if parents actually like the idea, would more participate in the fundraiser knowing they have a benefit like scholarship accumulation? 20% of parents participating earning 50% on products is probably much less than 40% of parents earning 40%..the real question is will it spark interest and increase parents joining school fundraising efforts..it certainly caught my attention.

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rekabeka August 26, 2012


I cannot get my kids (or myself) get into the selling programs, so I found a new fundraiser called Shoparoo. They've got a free mobile app where all you have to do is take pictures of your gorcery receipts. Each receipt is worth about 5 cents, and the app automaticall tracks the donations for the entire school. I highly recommend it to anyone tired of all the selling programs.

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SallyA September 17, 2012


I understand the need for Fundraising for schools... but it can get tiresome. Just feel like saying, another Fundraiser? Really? What are you selling now? I actually prefer the non-item Fundraisers. For example the Jog-A-Thon that my son had his old Elementary school. Could sponsor by either a flat donation or else a per lap donation. I would rather do that than buy something I don't really want or need that costs way more than I would normally spend for such item. For example, wrapping paper that I could get at the 99 cents store.



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