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The Hunt For Parent Group Funding


Q. It is soooo hard to raise money for our school. Carnivals are a lot of work. Bake sales raise relatively small amounts of money and it's so hard for people to find the time to bake. Magazine sales bug the neighbors and relatives. People hate to get dressed up and go to those fund-raising dinners. Golf outings are a little same-old, same-old now. What's to be done?


First of all, relax. Taxpayers are already providing generously for the vast majority of public schools. It's a crying shame if parent organizations feel they have to raise money or the kids at their school will have to go without academic necessities. The most effective public schools budget their money so that waste is minimized and kids' needs are met; any money from the parents' organization is gravy, as it should be. Meanwhile, the most effective parents' groups budget their volunteers' time wisely to maximize the amount of money raised - always for a great cause - with a minimum of time spent.


That's why there's a lot of interest in "scrip" fund-raising. You work with a local grocery store to arrange for parents of the children in your school to shop there, and your school gets a "cut." Although it's not always this successful, parents at a high school in Petaluma, Calif., that was in jeopardy of closing because of financial problems raised $30,000 the first year. It's modestly time-consuming for just a few volunteers, but doesn't actually cost parents and their neighbors, relatives, co-workers and friends any out-of-pocket cash, so that makes it more popular than most fund-raisers these days.


For more information and links to companies that can help set up a scrip program, see the PTO's article on it,


Among other fun ideas:


Silent and oral auctions / kids' projects as auctions / art sales / discount cards / coupon books / ads in a school directory / logo clothing / book fairs / school pictures / printer cartridge recycling / holiday shops / cookbooks / giftwrap / deliver holiday flowers for local florists / coin drives / annual flower sales / bulb sales / unique frozen foods / candy / bar code collection / boxtop collection / soup can label collection. . . .


New ideas are coming online for online fund-raising, and there also are always good opportunities for local partnerships with area businesses, and partnerships with big fund-raising companies such as Hershey's, QSP and M&M/Mars.

Homework: Opportunities for "quick and dirty" fund-raising abound, if you're lucky and know where to look. Here's one where up to $5,000 can be had from the popular home store, Lowe's:


By Susan Darst Williams Parental Involvement 32 2008


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