School Fundraising Success

Ah! So, you want to know the secret of school fundraising success?

Well, it’s actually quite simple once you break it down. Consider this math equation: Multiply number of motivated sellers x unit price point x high profit margin = successful school fundraiser.

Sales Tips for School Fundraisers

So, you want all this:

  1. Your sellers should be highly motivated and enthusiastic.
  2. Your product should have a fairly high price point.
  3. Your product should have a high profit margin that’s real, not inflated.

Those are the secrets to school fundraising success!

For elementary schools, I always recommend that you do at least two events a year and one product fundraiser. Do some sort of athletic-based event in the fall, a product fundraiser in the late October-early November timeframe, and a school carnival in the spring.

As far as the best product for elementary schools to sell, I recommend a catalog-based product sale, but it has to be the highest quality merchandise and not overpriced junk. And I always recommend offering a secondary product at the same time. My favorite profit booster is the two-for-one pizza discount card. Each $10 sale adds $8 in profit to your results.

Motivating Your Sellers

In school fundraisers, we often forget to follow basic selling techniques. Here are three things you can do to motivate your sellers:

  1. At your kickoff meeting, have kids vote (by noise level) on which prizes they want
  2. Offer multiple levels of rewards by seller, class, and grade
  3. Don’t reward those who under perform or don’t participate at all

And don’t forget that you can do great business by offering products outside retail locations like grocery stores and Wal-Mart. Organize parent teams to supervise the sellers who are really motivated to be top producers and line up several weekend sales locations.

Obviously this works best for immediate sales products like pizza discount cards, food items or raffle tickets. You can still do a considerable sales volume for catalog sales if you are selling within your attendance area and you offer convenient delivery options.

Product Price Points

In general, you want products that are in the $7 and up range. Why? Because you have a limited number of prospects to sell to and you want maximum revenue.

If you’re selling silicone wristbands for $2 each and making a dollar on each one, then you have to make 5,000 sales to raise $5,000.

If you’re selling pizza discount cards for $10 each and making $8 on each one, then you only have to make 625 sales to raise $5,000. Would 625 sales be easier to make than 5,000? Most definitely!

Similarly, in December you can raise a lot of money selling Christmas trees, wreaths, citrus fruit, and poinsettias from a pre-order list. Each item produces significant revenue, has a high profit margin, and most people will order more than one item.

Sell smart and you’ll always do well. Sell cheap and you’ll always struggle to reach your goal.

Maximizing Profits

Many products offer profit margins of 50% or more such as cookie dough, gift wrap, gourmet candy, calendars, etc. The key is making sure that the price point offers a good value for your customers. If the product is overpriced, your customers will resent having to pay extra for something just to benefit the school.

That means selecting products whose profit margins are real, not inflated to make it a 50% margin. Think from the customer’s perspective. They will be much more willing to support your school’s fund raising effort if the product is a good deal.

For example, if you are offering a variety of gourmet cheesecakes for $17 each, make sure that similar items aren’t being offered in the supermarket for $9 each. People will gladly pay a higher price for something that’s truly exceptional, but not foe same thing they could have bought down the street.

Another easy way to maximize profits is t offer a supplemental item with a high profit margin. Most families eat a lot of pizza, so offer a two-for-one pizza card for $10 because it’s $8 or $9 of profit on every sale. It’s the perfect offering for people who don’t want to order something from your catalog, but would still like to support your effort.


The secret to school fundraising success is properly motivating your sellers, choosing products to sell that are in demand with prices above $7, and sell only products with profit margins of 50% or more.

If you don’t motivate your sellers, sales will be mediocre. If you sell inexpensive products, then revenue will be too low. If you don’t sell products with high profit margins, it will be difficult to meet your funding goals.

Sell products people really want, that offer good value, and that provide good profits. Do that and your school fundraiser will be a big success.