Getting parents to volunteer and fundraise? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 41 Old 12-01-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

For a big project like a playground, I might look for a community partner - either non-profit groups, corporate donations, or untapped government funds. There are some environmental groups that are involved in greening school yards. They are often available for assistance with designs, labour, materials etc. There are sometimes government resources for healthy living initiatives or obesity reduction programs etc. that might contribute to playground-building. Local businesses are often a good source of money, labour or materials. 

 

Good luck with your playground. 

 

Yes. The PTO at my son's school is working on expanding their playground, and they've spent a lot of time working on writing grants for more equipment. We just received a $10K grant to help, and there are some other things in the works. Unless you have extensive experience fundraising, raising $50K in a short time is tough. 

 

As for us...I haven't yet participated in fundraising at DS' school. We have donated to a couple of things, but they seem to have a good rhythm going. They do 3-4 fundraisers a year; each makes $5-10K. We are in a poor school district, so I think those numbers are wonderful for what they're doing! The ROI is great; little goes into preparing for the fundraisers. I have been involved in fundraising for nonprofits for a long time, however. I work on 1 annual dinner that nets $20K. I'd be happy to talk to you about our process if you PM me. 

 

The key is going to be getting people outside the school community involved. As a parent, and even though my son has been enrolled only 6 weeks, I feel nickel and dimed for various things at school. While we can afford it (and the nuisance is that I rarely have cash on hand), I shudder to think how I'd feel if I had to say no because we *couldn't* afford things repeatedly.

 

I do intend to volunteer at DS' school as soon as I connect with his teacher to see what she needs. I'm like Jenn in that I don't want to volunteer to cut things out or anything like that, but I'd be happy to have kids read to me or help with counting or things like that. DH really wants to get involved with the Lego League they have. Although I have done plenty of tedious work as a volunteer, in general it needs to be meaningful.
 


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#32 of 41 Old 12-12-2010, 04:39 PM
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When my kids were in elementary school, we did a program called "Invest in a Child".  You basically wrote a check to the school for any dollar amount  you wanted to contribute.  We encouraged parents to write it for $25 or $50 or whatever - but we took it all.  We also promised no wrapping paper sales, magazine or chocolate sales.  It was highly successful.  We also had a goal project we were working towards each year.  That motivated parents as well.


I volunteered everywhere when my kids were little.  I determined that if my kids were there -that is where I needed to be.  Now that they are all in high school or middle school, I volunteer more directly in their individual activities.  So I'm not necessarily on any of the committees -but I see my kids a lot more since I help coach their cross country team (as an example).


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#33 of 41 Old 01-25-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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I do volunteer, and I do participate in some fundraisers.  This year I am chairing a fundraiser!

 

I was so pleased that DD's school had a fundraiser that did not involve selling junk and was both fun and healthy, that I thought I should put my best efforts into continuing its success.  So I volunteered to chair the one-mile fun run/walk that the PTA holds in the spring.  Participants pay $10-15 and receive a t-shirt.  This fundraiser earns several thousand dollars each year for the PTA which is used to buy playground equipment and other items for the school (leveled readers, library books, etc.).  I have a friend at another school that chairs a talent show event.

 

Being on the PTA board, and chairing this event takes an incredible amount of time and there is no way to make everyone happy.  I wanted to plan a meeting for this month, so I am holding the same meeting twice later this week, once at night and once in the morning, to try to accommodate everyone's work/family schedules.  We'll see if it helps.  

 

I understand why PTAs gravitate towards the "sell junk" fundraisers - they take soooo much less time to plan and run than other types of fundraisers, plus there is not the outlay of money that is needed for many other fundraisers.  

 

If you don't know what the fundraising is for, ask.  Our PTA pays for many, many things including the school crossing guards, library books, playground equipment, classroom equipment, etc.

 

If you don't like the fundraising your school or PTA does, volunteer to chair a different kind.  You will probably find other parents happy to also help fundraise without turning their children into little salesmen.  


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#34 of 41 Old 01-25-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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Our big fundraisers

 

 

Spell a thon and Read a thon -----  academic and 100% goes to the school

 

 

Timeshare tour.  Each family that signed up, 100 dollars went to the school.  Tap local businesses for partnerships

 

 

Tax Credit donation of $400 per family (you can even designate where you want the money to go ex science books to Mrs C's classroom) , check you state to see if they have something similiar

 

 

School Carnival with raffle for baskets and also fun things like lunch with your teacher. 

 

 

Scrip - you buy gift cards for stores you know you will shop at already - Sprouts, Safeway etc

 

 

We just had to build a new playground where a local church donated their time to help install and several local nurseries and other companies donated the materials.

 

 

 

We are a charter so we have less govt funding per student and had no play area up until this year.  We managed, but it has been nice for PE to have some grass this year. 


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#35 of 41 Old 01-26-2011, 02:23 AM
 
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My kids are not in school right now.  I have seen enough of the school fundraisers though.  I hate them.  They are often a marketing tool of mediocre companies reselling poorly made items at a marked up price.  I don't want the junk and won't buy it.  But, I do write a lot of checks.  I see that roll of raffle tickets or catalog form and I say 'no thanks' and 'can I make a donation?'    No one has said no.  

 

 

I have seen two good fundraisers though and wanted to mention them:

 

When my youngest went to kindy a few years ago, the school needed some playground equipment.  Rather than doing a fundraiser, people were able to write a check for a particular piece of equipment.  $50 bought 2 squares of cushioned mat.  $100 bought 2 feet of bridge material.  $500 bought a climbing tube.  $5000 bought a climbing tower.  People's names were engraved onto the equipment.  The fence railing was engraved with people who donated a smaller amount, but everyone who gave money got their name on the equipment.  People went bonkers over this.  They made so much money that the school bought more equipment than they had planned on.  

 

There was a large group of school children who simply did not have enough -- they came to school without backpacks, pencils, crayons, coats, decent shoes. A 'sponsor a child' program was started.  Kids put their names on a list and donations could be made to a student in need.  We were able to outfit 3 kids with school supplies and new sneakers for less than $150.  We never met the kids, just helped them out.  The program helps 40-50 kids every year and has been a tremendous success.  

 

For me, I like to give directly.  The school ran short of copy paper last year.  An email was sent out and enough money was collected to buy a few cases of copy paper.  Easy enough.  I simply don't have the patience to donate $100 and see 50% of it go to a crappy fundraising company while I sit with 8 rolls of wrapping paper that I never wanted.  


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#36 of 41 Old 01-26-2011, 02:33 AM
 
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Another one I thought of -- the local school library ran short of funds.  

 

The school set up an Amazon page where people could buy books and have them sent to the school.  This was a huge hit.  It was like buying off of a bridal registry.  I could easily see what was wanted and buy what I could afford.  The shipping was taken care of for me (free!) and it was simple to use.  

 

 

I think schools need to recognize that people's time is extremely precious.  Fundraisers need to be simple and focused.  And seriously, take advantage of the internet!  I have no time to sell candy bars or walk or around my neighborhood selling raffle tickets.  I rarely have cash and I usually can't find my checkbook.  But an email?  I can read that in my jammies late at night.  A wish list and donate button?  I can do that easily too.  You are all ready asking me for money, make it easy on me please. 


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#37 of 41 Old 01-26-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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I think I mentioned this in your previous thread, but in case I didn't: KaBoom is an awesome organization for helping with a playground build. I can't say enough good things about them.


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#38 of 41 Old 01-26-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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I tried to get involved about a year ago, but stopped. There were two main reasons. Dh didn't like me to leave all the children with him to go to meetings. He made things very difficult for me to go. Then when i got to the meeting, it was kind of cliquey and I felt awkward. Then when i came home, dh told me me it was big waste of time. So the whole experience was very tiring and i gave up. We just transferred boys to new school where involvement is expected and i will try again.

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#39 of 41 Old 01-26-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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I do fundraising, I don't volunteer.

 

I am willing to work at fundraising, probably because having been in band during my school years, with parents who couldn't afford to pay for everything I needed, I saw the benefits of those fundraisers. I am also more willing to do fundraising at THIS school, if they ever need me to because they provide everything.  Literally, my first and my fourth graders only needed a binder and pencils.  That was their school supply list when we got here.  Apparently the teachers do occasionally send "wish list" notes home, like, the last one was for all purpose cleaner so that during winter break they could clean the desks and equiptment in the rooms.  But these were things that she hoped she could get three bottles for her classroom.  In a school where I don't feel like I'm buying every supply for every child in the room, I have less of a feeling that money isn't being used properly.

 

I don't volunteer namely because I have a child that is still not in school.  Finding childcare for me to go volunteer just seems a little ridiculous to me.  Sorry, but it does, why would I pay money to have someone watch my child so that I can go work in a capacity that I won't get paid for.  Once he starts school, if I have time, since I will be getting a job, then I will happily volunteer.  But that all depends on what kind of a job I get and what my schedule looks like.


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#40 of 41 Old 01-27-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoS View Post

Thanks to everyone for the tips! WOW,.....there are some lucky schools out there! I can't imagine a gala dinner for $150 a ticket....none of our families would be able to afford that. We did a baking/craft sale fundraiser and raised $250. We sold the frozen pizza and made $1000 (which is awesome). We really have to look outside the immediate school community, alot of our students don't have indoor shoes or winter jackets so their parents aren't going to sell stuff in catalogues.

 

Keep the ideas coming.....we are thinking of planning a scrapbooking weekend....and invite anyone from the community to rent a table....

 


You know, you might be surprised. Our school sounds like yours. I think like 60% of the kids are on free or reduced lunch and I was very hesitant to do a catalog fundraiser because of this. But only 2 of us voted against it. It ended up making $7500 and a lot of kids I figured wouldn't participate did. There do seem to be a lot of families who want something for their money. We stated clearly that we welcomed cash donations but only got about $400 from a handful of people. Some families are not willing to donate $10 but were willing to pay $20 to buy wrapping paper and in the process donate $10 to the school. I don't really understand it.

 

Our other fundraiser is a carnival, which usually makes about $3K - 4K. It is a lot of work but people do seem to enjoy it.

 

Our PTO is pretty anemic. We have four officers. We hold monthly meetings and the principal and one teacher come every month and between 1 and 4 parents. (This is a school of 300 kids.) We can generally find people who are willing to help so I don't really care if anyone comes or not. I'm a bit concerned that no one will take over the officer postions next year but I'm not concerned enough to do it again!
 

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#41 of 41 Old 01-28-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoS View Post

Thanks to everyone for the tips! WOW,.....there are some lucky schools out there! I can't imagine a gala dinner for $150 a ticket....none of our families would be able to afford that. We did a baking/craft sale fundraiser and raised $250. We sold the frozen pizza and made $1000 (which is awesome). We really have to look outside the immediate school community, alot of our students don't have indoor shoes or winter jackets so their parents aren't going to sell stuff in catalogues.

 

Keep the ideas coming.....we are thinking of planning a scrapbooking weekend....and invite anyone from the community to rent a table....

 


You know, you might be surprised. Our school sounds like yours. I think like 60% of the kids are on free or reduced lunch and I was very hesitant to do a catalog fundraiser because of this. But only 2 of us voted against it. It ended up making $7500 and a lot of kids I figured wouldn't participate did. There do seem to be a lot of families who want something for their money.


This is true of my school as well. We have a large number of children on free or reduced lunch and their Ottis Spunkmier cookie dough sale made about $5400. I just donated directly.


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