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How to Double Your PTO Fundraising Income

Does your PTO fundraising need a big boost?

Tired of working so hard for so little money?

I don’t blame you!

I’ve been there too- putting in a ton of work for very little money.

It’s so frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Time for a plan to turn things around.

And that’s exactly what this post will cover, so read on!

First, figure out what’s working… and what’s not

The very first thing you need to do as you set out to double your fundraising income is to evaluate what you’re already doing.

If you’re not crystal clear on where you currently are and what you’re doing, then you’ll have a super hard time figuring out where to go!

To do this, you need to take a hard look at your data.

And by hard data, I mean numbers and factors.

Evaluate the Numbers and Factors of Your Fundraising Past

To start, take a look at your recent fundraisers from the past few years.

  • Which ones were successful?
  • Which ones weren’t quite so successful?
  • What are some of the commonalities and differences between them?
  • Try to identify trends:
    Has enrollment changed?
    How’s the larger economy doing?
    How involved was the Fundraising Rep?

Take some time to dig in and think about the details of the fundraisers to see where there were gaps as well as areas to tweak for improvement.

The Case of the Missing Cookie Dough

One year our Fundraiser Chair swore off doing a cookie dough fundraiser, even though it had historically done pretty well for us.

She felt it was time for a change and there’d been a few problems with cookie dough delivery since the PTA freezer went kaput.

But she had a solid replacement fundraising plan to do instead, so no one thought there’d be a problem.

But as it turned out, families at that school really (really!) liked the cookie dough fundraiser and weren’t too jazzed about the new fundraiser.

Profits were down by 30%, and that was pretty much the only change that had been made for the fundraiser that year.

The next year, the new Fundraising Chair made sure to include cookie dough as a part of the Fall Fundraiser and profits rebounded.

The fix was easy because the new Fundraising Chair figured out what was missing and was able to bring it back in to find fundraising success!

Questions to Ask

  • Type of fundraiser
  • How much volunteer time was involved?
  • What’s the percentage of students/ family participation?
  • The total number of fundraisers / money asks that were made during the year the fundraiser
  • Factors that could’ve effected the success of the fundraiser (weather, volunteer involvement, teacher buy in/ promotion of the fundraiser, type of fundraiser, etc.)

How I Doubled Profits

Back when I was first PTA President, the PTA held an annual carnival. It has typically been run just as a fun-raiser, with very little focus on fundraising, even though many, many, many hours were involved to pull off the event.

The event had typically made just $500.

That’s such a small amount of money to remade from such a large time commitment from so many volunteers, so I looked at how to boost income.

The majority of the money came from a Tricky Tray aka Chinese Raffle.

The raffle worked like this:

Volunteers spent hours asking local businesses for donations of items and then made up baskets of items up for grabs at the raffle.

Folks purchased raffle tickets for $1 each and put them into the numbered bag associated with the item they wished to win.

Most of the baskets had a value of $25- $100.

But one of the most expensive items we had was for a Family Pool Pass to the City pool, valued at $180.

And our pool was and is very popular, meaning people are going to buy a pool pass anyway, but now had the chance to win it for only a dollar!

Attendance at the Carnival varied with the weather (snowy days kept attendance down) so we couldn’t count on hordes of families to attend and make more money based on volume of raffle entries.

So I decided to switch from a Raffle to a Silent Auction.

I knew families would be willing to bid up pretty much close to cost for the pool pass, especially because this was really the only opportunity to snag the pass at a discount.

And as it turns out, I was right!

People did bid more for the pool pass and everything else too and we ended up tripling our Carnival profit that year and then more than doubled that number again (with further tweaks) the following year!

In the end the Carnival went from a measly $500 profit to close to $3500 with a few simple tweaks.

Wrapping It All Up

To bring this post to a close, I want to leave you with the ultimate lesson you should take away.

How are you raising money?
Are you undervaluing things?
Is there a more profitable way to raise money?

Answer those questions, talk about it with your board and you’ll come up with some fantastic work arounds so that you too can double your fundraising profits!

Watch this!

For even more on this doubling your group’s fundraising numbers, watch this!

How to Double Your PTO Fundraising Income | PTA VP of Fundraising Advice

Even More Resources and Tools

If you want even more guidance on doubling your fundraising income, then you’ll definitely want to consider getting the Fundraising Success Kit.

Inside you’ll find details instructions on how to choose, prepare for and execute the most profitable fundraisers!

You’ll also learn even more mistakes to avoid and get an easy to follow six month fundraiser timeline.

The kit also comes with all the forms you’ll need to stay on track and profitable without it turning into a full time job!

Thinking about putting on a Walk- A- Thon or other pledge based fundraiser, but don’t know where to start?

Let the A-thon Fundraising Kit guide you along the way!

Don’t waste a bunch of time re-creating the wheel by developing the parent letter, pledge sheet, teacher letter and everything else you’ll need for the event!

The forms are editable too, making it so easy to customize them to your heart’s content.

Recommended Fundraising Platform

Better World is a gorgeously and intuitively designed way to raise money for your school and is PTO Answer’s recommended fundraising partner.

There’s ready to go fresh, fun and modern fundraising campaigns that take just minutes to set up and is free to use (really!), no matter how much you make, or how many campaigns you run.

The Smithsonian (yes, that Smithsonian), USA Cycling, Make-a-Wish, Boys and Girls Club and 65,000 other groups have all used this system, so it will totally work for your group too.

Sign up using this link and get free priority support ($199 value)!*

*I’m a brand ambassador for Better World. When you sign up for an account and run a campaign via this link, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend services I genuinely love and either have already or would use myself. I always have my readers’ best interests in mind when making recommendations.

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