school budget crisis: 5 tips to make a huge difference
Everyone I know is looking for it. But they don't know how to do it, where to find it and, most importantly, what to do to make it successful. I’m talking about identifying the best ways to make money for their school. All over the country, in just about every state, schools are facing budget cuts. Sadly, the people who end up losing are the kids. Parents don’t take kindly to those cuts and whether you’re a tiger mom, working mom, soccer mom, or a stay-at-home mom, parents want to find that magic something that can fix the school’s financial problems and help their kids develop a love of learning that will carry them through their lives.
Fundraising is the answer. Through fundraising at my kids’ school, parents are able to hire an extra teacher to bring down the student-teacher ratio, bring in enrichment staff so they get science, dance, and music—among other things—hire classroom aides and still have some money left over for soap and toilet paper (yeah, we know the school district should cover that too but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do to make sure the kids can take care of business).
Here are some of the best fundraisers I've pulled together from all over the country. While schools range from big to small, private to public, these ideas have been tested out and worked for parents in a wide variety of situations!
Annual Appeal Letter This is the most effective fundraiser your school can do. Whether you call it an annual appeal letter or annual giving campaign or annual gift, this is usually the top way to get money. Just ask!
Walk-a-thon This fundraiser helps support a healthy lifestyle for the kids and a healthy bank account for the school! Parents and friends can give per lap or a set amount. The important part of this fundraiser is to ask kids to try to meet a certain goal ($50/child or $100/child). This gives them something to strive for.
Party Book Want to create more socializing in your community? The party book consists of small themed gatherings hosted by parents. People purchase spots to go to the parties and 100% of the money people contribute goes to the school.
Silent Auction Do you have local stores and restaurants that would donate items to a silent auction? This is a great way to make money!
Community Sponsorship When the local businesses support the school, it builds camaraderie and helps both the school and the business. Parents want to patronize places that support the local school and businesses want more customers.
If you have ideas that have worked for you, please share them in the comment section so everyone can benefit from your experience. Parents bring so much knowledge and experience; we should all help each other succeed. When schools succeed with fundraising, our kids win!
Sarah Barrett, a former teacher and small business owner with an MA in Education, traded in her full-time career to dedicate her time and energy to fundraising for her neighborhood school. Her first book, A Mom’s Guide to School Fundraising is packed with how-to steps and ideas. For more from Sarah visit AMomsGuidetoSchoolFundraising.com