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How to Choose the Best School Fundraiser

To do all of the great things PTA and PTO groups do, fundraising is essential.  

But how to go about picking the right fundraiser?  

It’ll be no mystery to you once you read this post with the 4 most important factors in picking the best school fundraiser!

This post is a perfect read for all Fundraising Chairs!

School Fundraising is All about the Products

Fundraising for any group is one of the toughest jobs out there because you can’t force people to buy things.  

And that’s actually the wrong attitude to have. You should aim to buy things that people will want to buy.  

Things that are no brainers to spend a little more for, with purchasers knowing that the PTO and school will benefit from their purchase.  

That’s what you want to offer!

So stay far, far away from what I like to call junkety-junk.  

You know, the poorly made (and often imported from overseas) junk that is featured in many school fundraiser catalogues.  

However glossy the pages of the catalog are, that won’t distract potential buyers from the fact that most of the stuff being offered is over-priced junk that they really don’t need.  

Your fundraiser’s success will suffer as a result of choosing a bad product.

So start with a quality product.  

Would you buy things from the catalog?  

No, not in theory, but really look at the offerings.  

Can you find $30-$50 worth of stuff you’d actually shell out some clams for?  

If not, move along to the next company!

Fundraiser Profits

Once  you’ve found some products that you like, the next consideration to make is what your group’s take of the profit will be.

I’ve found that some of the higher profit fundraisers happen to be associated with lower quality items.  

And I’ve shied away from those because it hasn’t been my experience that lower quality stuff sells very well at all.

Just because the profit margin for your group is only 25% for really good products shouldn’t be a deterrent at all.  

The higher quality items may sell more easily, resulting in overall higher sales!

Communication with Fundraising Company

How quickly does the fundraising company respond?  

If your initial request for information is met with crickets, run as fas as you can away from this company!  

If they can’t even bother to respond to you before they have your business, then lord only knows how poor the communication will be once you’ve signed a contract with them.  

Not much better, I suspect, since they already know they have your business.  


Also, make sure to ask these four questions before signing the fundraising contact.

Time Involved

Another consideration to make is the time involved to actually complete the fundraiser.  

Do you have to manually enter in each order?  

And is accuracy in data entry a strong suit of yours?  

If not, re-think fundraisers that require manual order entry.  

Or get someone to help you with this part of the fundraiser.

Read more about quick and easy fundraisers here.

Delivery Time

How about for delivery?

Do the orders come grouped together, or do you have to sort manually?  

Depending on your personal schedule and the availability of volunteers to help, you’ll want to consider this factor too.

Learn from this experience…

In my very first year as a PTA volunteer, my PTA did a fundraiser with shaped pasta.  

The company shipped all boxes to the school and they weren’t sorted at all.  

A small group of volunteers had to pick each order and bag them for order pick up.  

The only space available for us to do this was in the staff lounge.  

We had a lot of “fun” climbing around boxes trying to find the right shapes in the small space.  

It really was no fun at all.  

It was a very frustrating and trying experience!  

When I was the Fundraising Chair a few years later, I made sure to choose fundraisers were the orders came pre-sorted!

Over to you!

If you take each of these four considerations into account when choosing a fundraiser for your group, you’ll be well on the path to having a really successful fundraiser!

Doing your homework the right way as you’re choosing the best fundraiser for your PTA/PTO can go along way to help avoid a failed fundraiser!

Need more help?  

Check out the Fundraising Success Kit for PTAs/PTOs.  

It has guidance galore plus checklists and planning tools to make your fundraisers wildly successful!

It’s time to stop guessing at what works and get the guidance you need for fundraising success!

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