Historically the best time to kick off your Fall fundraiser is the first week of school up until the first week in October. Making sure your major fundraiser is the first one of the school year will ensure it maximizes your profits!

Spring fundraising is most effective when they do not start too early in January as many families are still recovering from the expense of the December holidays.


Don't overwhelm your parents with too many fundraisers over the course of the school year. You can achieve much better results by focusing your efforts on quality, not quantity.

It is important to coordinate with other groups within the school to not have multiple fundraisers competing with or in close proximity of one another as well.


Organization and communication is absolutely necessary to the success of a fundraiser-but so is that individual that can keep the enthusiasm going throughout the sale.

If motivator is not your strongest talent, identify a volunteer to act as the head cheerleader or spokesperson to keep the energy going. When the teachers and faculty are involved and the students are engaged, your fundraiser will surely be a success.


Promote your sale early and often. Marketing both before and during the sale is key to successful fundraising. Informing parents about the upcoming sale and including specifically what the proceeds are going towards can have a huge impact.

In addition to just sending home packets with a parent letter, consider a few of the following ideas to ensure your message makes it home to the parents:

  • Host a parent night where you promote the upcoming sale, and have samples on hand of what is to be sold.
  • Include the dates of the fundraiser in the school's newsletter and website, and any social media pages.
  • Utilize automated calling systems and email blasts from the school. (For even better results, have the Principal do the recording on the voice message and put his/her signature line at the bottom of the email to show that they support the fundraiser.)
  • Advertise the fundraiser in the car loop line with an outside display. You can also create an inside display in the front office for parents to see.

All principals know the importance of fundraisers for the school, however, some participate more than others. Whether it is motivating kids daily on the morning show or subjecting themselves to something goofy when you hit a target goal, having the Principal on board with your efforts will always have a positive impact on the fundraiser.

Check out a few ideas that have been done in the past that keep the FUN in FUNDRAISING-and produce profits:

When you reach a dollar or participation goal you can.

  • Duct Tape the Principal to the Wall
  • Decorate the Principal with toilet paper, silly string, chocolate sundae, etc.
  • Principal gets slimed, a Pie in the face, belted with water balloons, etc.
  • Principal has to wear Pajamas to school, dress up like the mascot, color his/her hair pink, etc.
  • Principals spends the night on the roof, spends day in a tree, gets locked in school "jail", etc.

Remember, not all Principals will agree to do something silly, so try a few of these alternatives:

  • Top sellers get Lunch with the Principal, or to be Principal for the day
  • Principal gives out daily rewards throughout the day in the halls to participants in the fundraiser only.

Having the right incentive program for your school is the main ingredient in getting kids excited about the fundraiser-and most important, wanting to participate. The three main things an incentive program needs to achieve are:

  1. Maximizing Participation
  2. Getting those students who do participate to sell to a higher level by designing a bonus level to strive for.
  3. Get Top Sellers to sell to the top!

Having low level prizes for students that sell at least one item will help with participation numbers. Another good idea is to combine the initial participation prize with an entry into a drawing for a larger prize with a high perceived value. Daily drawings for smaller prizes can also be given out during the week to students who turn in vouchers.

Collectible programs are also very popular in terms of getting the most participation possible. Students are rewarded both immediately and throughout the sale-and in doing so, keep kids engaged and wanting to sell more.

In addition to a base prize program, many schools will add a bonus reward such as a party or event that requires students to sell a certain number of items in the fundraiser to earn atten- dance. Common examples that have worked over the years include:

  • Anything that reads, "Get out of class and..."
  • Pizza, Ice Cream, and Popcorn Parties
  • Limo rides, magic shows, and inflatable parties
  • Video Game Trailers is one of the hottest new trends
  • Starting in 2016, American Fundraising has partnered with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to offer the ultimate Dolphin Experience for schools in the Tampa Bay area.

Lastly, it is always great when you have a student (or parent of a student) that wants to make sure they win the incentive for bringing in the most profits-and better yet, when you have more than the one competing for that prize.

Having the right "Top Seller" prize that is satisfactory for this achievement (without breaking the bank) can be tricky. Some- times it needs to be a pricy electronic gadget or a high dollar gift card, while other times it doesn't even have to cost any- thing. School Spirit items such as "King or Queen of the School" that entitles them to such amenities such as front of lunch line, Principal for the day, and school wide recognition in the newsletter, school billboard and announcements on the morning show can be just enough to drive them to do their absolute best.