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The best way to raise money for your school in 2022
Online school fundraisers have become a crucial line item in the budget, and a necessity for survival today. Here’s a new way to raise money using your online school store software.
We’ve all been watching TV and a commercial comes on to raise money for a cause. Usually dogs or children are involved, and they are only asking for a number of cents a day. And as you sit in your warm house watching your escapist show, you think, I can pay ten cents a day to help this cause. The commercial directs you to text a word to a number or scan a QR code, if you’re lucky they add the donation to your cell phone bill and you don’t even have to get your credit card. When ordering food online there’s now the option to donate to your local restaurant and you just click a button and give $2.00. Why do we do it? Because it’s so easy. It’s already built into what we are currently doing: scrolling on our phones and watching TV.
What if there was a way to get families to donate while they were already paying for something else at school? Or even better, make a donation all on their own. For families, online fundraising platforms for schools need to be seamless, easy, and accessible—or it’s not going to happen.
The old fundraising ways are important, but not effective
If the school fundraising market can do “3.3 billion in annual sales, of which $1.4 billion goes to participating schools,”1 the rest of the money is going to the companies facilitating that fundraiser. It’s time to bring the money directly back to the schools.
The candy bar-wrapping paper-magazine drives: These are very popular but the school doesn’t get all the money. It is a great exercise for students to learn about face to face sales, and the importance of being friendly, polite, and personable. It’s also terrifying that students are accepting cash, checks, and credit card payments and bringing these back to school. If a field trip form is hard to get back to the teacher all in one piece, imagine how the neighbor’s checks are being treated for the wrapping paper drive.
The dreaded bake sale: Another way to teach kids about earning money and the art of sales, the bake sale doesn’t seem to bring in enough money for all of the effort. There’s also food allergies and diet restrictions that make it inequitable, or necessarily safe. We can’t trust that every mom didn’t truly cross-contaminate with peanuts or gluten when baking. Let’s be honest, everyone just wants the brownies from the mix anyway.
The gift cards: Wouldn’t it be easier to just give the school money? If we purchased a $200 grocery gift card, and only 4% goes to the school, the amount of effort for the school to process the payments of the gift cards, and keep track of the accounting is much higher than the money brought in from that original 4%. Where is the ease of use? From a parent’s perspective, personally, I never remember to use a gift card. I have in the past returned something at a department store just to turn around and ask if it would be ok to buy it right back with my gift card. It’s another thing to remember, to buy the gift card, to store the gift card, and to spend the gift card. Don’t make families stress more than they have to.
Sometimes payments are gated
Some online fundraising platforms for schools make donating easier, but only families who create a user account can access payments. When parents and community members want to donate or find information about the drive, they will go to your school website. Why not make it easy for them to donate right there, without having to navigate through some lunch system where they need to have an account set up? This option also excludes community members who may enjoy going to a school concert or play, but don’t have access to the online school payments page or system of the school. Crowdfunding is always an option, but then you’re taking families away from the school website to somewhere else, and the fees are more than the average online processing fees.
School fundraising in 2022
The best school fundraising is online, it’s quick, and it’s through a digital form. Maybe you’re still selling something like wrapping paper or holiday wreaths, but it’s through a quick form with just a few clicks. It’s mobile responsive and families can complete it on their phone, in traffic—or a safer way, like on their break at work. Your busy families will feel they have contributed, and engaged, and won’t be stressing out over making flourless brownies after a long day.
Yes, you could still have a fundraising concert, or a jog-a-thon, but sell the tickets online and include the option to round up for a donation. Then, no one has to be standing in line writing a check while other people watch—the pressure of that is too great, especially when someone is trying to give money. Create a form and use an online payment module attached to it.
Forms with an online school payments module are:
- Secure: no cash floating around
- Accountable: easier accounting
- Accessible: everyone checks out as a guest
- Mobile: you can do it on your phone
- Translatable:through your CMS the form should translate
- Flexible: choose multiple choice, defined, or open dollar amounts
Let’s envision the above scenario a little differently. Your families are home watching TV, they get a push notification through their phone, maybe from your school’s app. They click on the notification; it’s a quick online school fundraising campaign. The school needs $1,000 for ten new microscopes. The first ten families to complete the online donation form get a school sweatshirt. It’s a simple online form to fill out. How many times have you given money from your phone? This could be happening at your school today.
How would you spend these donations?