Before you draft a list of fundraising ideas you should first consider what low cost fundraising opportunities are easily accessible. The extravagant, large scale and astonishing fundraisers certainly seem like the right move, but are they? Of course they’re exciting, but these fundraisers aren’t always the most profitable.
This coming summer Elana M. and her students will embark on their first EF tour of Italy. When it came time to choosing fundraisers they made sure to explore the resources that were already available to them. Their overall goal was to coordinate low cost fundraisers with high return. To get a better understanding of this I sat down with Elana and discussed how they successfully manage their strategy
Many teachers and parents probably think this is easier said than done. How did you manage to keep costs so low?
The key is to find the unused or underused opportunity. I think that people assume you have to work with a third party company to be successful with your fundraising, but if they’re making a profit then you’re making less. Fundraising can be as easy as buying in bulk and reselling it in the right place.
Is there a particular example of this that is somewhat universal and relevant to most teachers?
Yes! School athletic events…We knew that football game concessions were off limits because they were already run by the booster club, but what about soccer and field hockey? No one was selling snacks at those games, and all it took was asking for permission from our principal. We have a small school, but many students and parents regularly come to the games.
What costs and resources were needed to make this fundraiser successful?
An industrial strength snow cone machine was donated to us. Each student traveler also purchased one Costco-size bag of snacks and a case of water, so overall the costs were pretty low. As the weather got cooler, I broke out the griddle and we made grilled cheese. The football team would come over after their practice and watch the soccer games. They can eat quite a few grilled cheese sandwiches!
What fundraisers did you and the students put together outside of school?
I live on a busy road, and our town doesn’t require a fee for garage sales, so we collected donated items from families, friends and teachers. It was hard work at times, and my garage was full a month before, but everything we sold was profit, and it also gave us the opportunity to really get to know each other before our trip.
What advice would you give to other teachers considering student travel or current Group Leaders who haven’t integrated a fundraising strategy?
It wasn’t too long ago that people told me I’d never be able to put this trip together, and now it’s less than six months away! One of my students recently told me that she has more appreciation for this trip because of all the hard work and effort her and the other students put it to earn it. Fundraising isn’t always going to be easy, but before the tour even begins it provides students with a valuable learning experience in a positive and collaborative environment.