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How to Handle School Fundraising

Get a handle on school fundraising with these tips for work-at-home moms.


Many kid-oriented organizations--schools, dance studios, scout troops, sports teams, etc.--ask parents to sell products as fundraisers.

School fundraising requests pose a unique challenge to work-at-home parents. Few parents are thrilled about participating school fundraising, but without a network of office mates to sell to (and buy from), work-at-home moms have fewer options when it comes to school fundraising. Going door-to-door is problematic, not only for safety reasons, but collecting and delivering can be difficult. So, WAHMs can wear out friends and relatives with the constant sales pitches for school fundraisers.

If you have more than one child in more than one activity, you may find yourself hawking a large variety of items ranging from frozen pizza and cookie dough to accent candles and wrapping paper.

Plus there are school fundraising events like silent auctions, car washes, etc., etc, which might ask for participation, donations or volunteers.

Share your story. What's your worst school fundraiser?

But here are a few tips for dealing with school fundraising:

Purchase for yourself and others.

Think ahead and buy gifts for Christmas, birthdays or other holidays that are still months away. Ask organizations for a list of all the year's fundraisers so you can spot overlap (two groups selling cookies, etc.) and make a tentative plan for purchases. Buy all your wrapping paper for the year at once or stock up on few candles as gifts for clients, housewarmings or other occasions when a small gift is required. It helps you meet an obligation, and it saves time shopping for it later.

The right product to the people.

Instead of hitting up the same folks repeatedly, try to anticipate what school fundraisers are coming up, and spread around the offers. Target people based on your knowledge of their preferences and needs. Don't hit up your diabetic aunt with the candy fundraiser; wait for the candle sale a few months down the line.

Let the kids do their part.

Many people buy from fundraisers in order to support the organization that your children are involved in, not because they truly want these products. So when kids make the sales pitch, you'll often get better results. Plus it gives kids a sense of responsibility to be working to support the organization. Coach kids on how to ask politely and what to say if they are turned down.

Use social media.

If you use Facebook, Twitter or another social media, broadcast your school fundraising project through it. People can ignore it if they're not interested in what you're selling. But you can easily make contact with many more people, possibly finding some who are interested in what you're selling. You can use email for a similar approach, but email is more personal so some might consider it spam.

Make a donation to the organization.

If you can't bear the idea of pushing anything else, consider making a donation. Depending on the organization, it may be tax deductible. Organizations only get a percentage of the sales price of products anyway, so a straight donation can be more than you might have brought in by participating in the fundraiser.

Give time instead.

Some organizations, like Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts, do "booth sales," selling their products in front of grocery stores, banks or other heavily trafficked spots. Sign up to work a sale sponsored by the organization instead and concentrate your sales effort into one afternoon.
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