The phrase “school fundraiser” conjures images of carrying products around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and ringing doorbells of known neighbors and strangers alike. But in the 21st century, we don’t always form the tight-knit communities with our neighbors that we once did, making door-to-door sales as a primary fundraising method a thing of the past.
So if we can’t send our kids out on their own to sell door-to-door, how can we raise the money that we need while keeping our students safe? Here are our top 5 tips to making sure your fundraiser is a success without sacrificing the safety of your students.
1. Never allow students to go door-to-door alone, or in the dark, or to go inside neighbors’ homes. Children should always be accompanied by an adult when selling to neighbors. This includes neighbors that children know, no matter how well they know them. With our children, it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
2. Create fundraising safety rules, and repeat, repeat, repeat! Go over the rules at your fundraising assembly, hand out sheets to each students, and make sure teachers go over the rules again in class. Communicate with parents by email, handouts, and at meetings to make sure they know the rules too. Your fundraising representative may be able to help you with safety materials and should talk about safety if they are doing your kick-off assembly.
3. Have consequences for breaking the rules. Once you have established your fundraising safety rules, make sure there are clear consequences for breaking the rules. For example, some schools have fundraising prize programs and will disqualify any student who is caught going door-to-door without a parent or other significant adult.
4. Ask students to make a list of potential supporters with their parents, including family members, friends, close neighbors, and parents’ coworkers who might be willing to buy a fundraising item. If students and parents work together to create this list, they can be assured that parents know all the supporters, and they will be better prepared for a successful fundraising campaign!
5. Make sure parents are involved in choosing your school fundraiser. Since parents are very involved in fundraising, ensuring that they have some say in choosing the fundraising product will help, since they will be doing a great deal of selling. This is why the PTO or PTA is often responsible for selecting school fundraisers. If parents are comfortable with the fundraiser, they will be more likely to bring brochures or products to work, and get on the phone with family and friends to ask for support.
It’s important to be thoughtful about the student/parent population of your school when you are looking at different fundraising options. For example, if many of your students come from single-parent families and scheduling is hectic, it could be difficult for parents to find the time to accompany their children to neighbors’ doorsteps. In this case, a community-style event in the evening or on the weekend, such as a spaghetti dinner or carnival, might allow for different times that parents could be involved – whether attending, helping to plan, or looking for door prizes. This is another reason that parent representation is vital when choosing your program.
You can also take away the worry of in-person sales all together by opting for a program that is completely online, and use online promotional methods.
With the right choice of fundraiser, and strong student and parent communication, your school can have a safe and successful fundraiser.
For information on how fundraising professionals promote safety in fundraising sales campaigns, visit the Association of Fundraising Distributors and Suppliers.