Why have a school fundraiser? There are many reasons that prompt a school community to raise funds. This article lays out seven of the top reasons to have a school fundraiser.
As schools become hard-pressed to cover everything with their budget, many schools in the United States have seen cuts to programs outside of the “hardcore” academics. Arts programs and athletic programs often suffer. Some parents and parent groups have taken it upon themselves to keep school offerings that the budget doesn't cover by what you might call “extra-curricular” fundraising. But in this case, the money may not be used for extracurriculars, but for educational programs.
There are a lot of issues involved here, including equal opportunity in education and the appropriate role of organizations such as PTA's or PTO's, so fundraising in response to budget cuts should be well thought out. In addition, parents' willingness to fundraise should not be turned into a justification for cutting the budget for programs, particularly arts programs. And students' and teachers' time should be protected and focused on their main task: teaching and learning.
Grants Aren't for Everyone/Everything
Some of the strictures of obtaining grants make them unsuitable for certain types of needs. Having other fundraising options in your repertoire means that you can respond flexibly, matching each need with an appropriate approach.
For example, when considering a school trip to benefit a certain class or club, it may be a positive outcome to have the specific students who will benefit involved in raising the funds to make it happen. When a need beings suddenly apparent or needs to be met speedily, a grant may not be the most appropriate choice. In addition, there are more people available who have the skills to contribute to a successful fund raiser than there are folks who can write a successful grant application. A variety of approaches allows various people's talents to shine forth and contribute.
There are some expenses that characteristically fall outside school budgets. Uniforms for athletic teams and marching bands are typical examples. Choir robes and cheerleader outfits may also be included. In many schools, Booster Clubs (yes, there are Music Booster Clubs) rally round and take up the cause for this type of item. As an extension, the jackets and sweaters often given with varsity letters are another cause that the Boosters may take up.
Educational field trips can hold a unique place, not only in students' education, but in their life and development. Many schools sponsor trips to our nation's capital for students studying United States history, and many high schools sponsor spring break trips that introduce students to the life and culture of another country, and possibly giving then a chance to provide community service. Fundraising is often an integral part of making these journeys possible. Trips for athletes or musicians to out-of-state competitions, such as regional contests, are another cause that avoids controversy by being specially funded.
Students who graduate always take something of their school community with them, but often the community likes to reward special accomplishment, including academic, athletic, and personal growth, with scholarships. Sending a select group of seniors on with a tangible reminder of the community's appreciation of them and faith in their future is a gesture that is often supported by fundraising.
Banquets to celebrate achievement (whether athletic or academic) are another cause that may be funded by fundraising. Some athletic teams also have a meal to kick off the season or they may have both a pre-season and a post-season celebration.
Some fund raising has a double goal, aiming both to raise money and to enliven school spirit at the same time. Whatever the money will go to support, the use of school insignia, mascots, and name (whether it's on a scarf, key ring, stuffed animal, or pen) helps remind people of the reason they give their support: for the students and for the school community they are part of.
In our next article, we'll discuss different types of school fundraisers.
Choosing a School Fundraiser, Education Funding