Tuesday, October 23

The Money Mom: School fundraisers: Book fairs and more

Another parent, Shelidah Duprey, and I explained some fundraising fundamentals at a conference organized by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on Saturday (thanks to Stringer, hundreds of parents got to hear some inspiring speakers talk about how the most important ingredient to school success is family members' constant love and involvement). In the fundraising panel, Shelida talked about school-based fundraisers like book fairs, raffles, bake sales, fall festivals, and skating parties that help her small elementary school raise about $17,000 each year.

These events, spaced throughout the year, take a fair amount of parent energy, but the time spent is paid back in community spirit that benefits the children in myriad ways. Shelidah mentioned that a lot of companies are happy to donate to school events if someone from a school is willing to take the time to call the general managers of stores or the corporate giving departments of corporations. Shelida’s school gets regular donations of drinks, coffee, donuts, ice cream, and more that parents can sell at events that benefit the children. All the money goes straight to the kids (if the DOE wants to know what parents want, it has only to look what successful schools do with their parent-raised funding) for programs like storytellers, violin and piano lessons, and field trips. In her school the older children get to go on two camping trips each year!

Schools can complement these kinds of fundraisers with corporate, foundation, and public sector grants -- the subjects of my next post.

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