Archive for the 'Online Fundraising' Category

Is the Use of Facebook by Schools an Invasion of a Minor’s Privacy?

One of the ways I stay current on issues pertaining to school fundraising is to check out the message boards on the PTO Today website. If you don’t already make it a habit to peruse these forums, you really should. There are some fascinating topics being talked about on a daily basis.

One of the most interesting debates I’ve come across recently concerns the use of Facebook by schools.

Facebook has become so ubiquitous, that it’s hardly novel anymore. If I was going to write an article about how to communicate with parents at your school, it is almost a no-brainer that I’d talk about Facebook as one of the primary methods to reach them.

However, there are some real privacy concerns that Facebook presents. I’m wondering how you, the readers of TopSchoolFundraisers have dealt with this.

Please take a few minutes to read through the sample comments below and log your own for us to read.


As the mother of two elementary aged students, a user of Facebook, and as a PTO leader, I am totally against a PTO/PTA group starting a page on Facebook. Starting a FB page for a group that represents children that are not even old enough to have a FB page shows bad judgment on the group of adults.

Safety of your students, not just communication to parents, should also be a priority of your group. Sure you can turn off the option to post pics but what about posting anything about events where your students might be attending?

I am the Co-President at my son’s elementary school. We set up a Facebook page at the beginning of the year. We made it private so that only approved members could look at any of the information. We also ensured that the Secretary, myself and the other Co-President were administrators of the group and we checked it frequently throughout the day.

Most of us do NOT know every parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent of every student that has ever gone to our children’s schools, as stated in a previous post. So whomever the administrator is of the FB account they are going to either have an open page, where anyone can join or approve every person that wants to join. Thus letting every pervert out there have the ability to see the date, time, and place of where your children might be attending one of your groups events. That is bad judgment on your group’s part and your putting all of our children at risk. I plan on addressing this issue with our principal and school board. The safety of all of our children should be a priority for all of our PTO/PTA leaders. continue reading

Fundraising by Email – Online Magazine Fundraiser Makes Personalized Emails Easy

For anyone who’s into online fundraising, you know how important those emails are. Most importantly, your emails need to have a strong first paragraph because this is where you grab your reader’s attention, and where many will make the decision to support you or not. That’s why it’s key to make your first paragraph as strong and persuasive as possible. The best way to accomplish this? Personalization!

MagazinesWith the Online Magazine Fundraiser, half the work is already done for you. You don’t have to do the work of putting links into the main body of your emails.

The first paragraph of the emails, however, can be edited. This is your time to shine, and you should be taking advantage of the opportunity to personalize that first paragraph with your own words and sentiments, which will make it a much stronger approach to garnering support.

If you have already kicked off your group’s Online Magazine Fundraiser, you know that the first paragraph of the email invites goes like this:

My group, [Group Name], has just kicked off its fundraising campaign and this year, we’ve found a new way to raise money. It’s fast and easy for you to help support our cause!

That’s a great start, but it doesn’t convey the personal and heartfelt nature of your cause that only you can provide. Using the above paragraph as a base, here’ss an example of a much more personal opening paragraph:

Our group, The West End Youth Center, has been helping children realize their dreams, and grow into happy, successful adults for over 15 years. It is the care and support of people like you that makes this possible, and gives these children hope for their future. We have just kicked off our fundraising campaign, and this year, we’ve chosen a new way to raise money that makes it easy for you to support this great cause, and bring joy to the hearts of children.

Doesn’t that make a much stronger appeal for support? Imagine how persuasive and encouraging it would be for your supporters to hear directly from you!

Of course, you aren’t confined to this outline, and the suggested text generated by the Online Magazine Fundraiser is only meant as a guideline. It’s up to you to create a truly unique paragraph that speaks from the heart. The key is to make it personal, make it clear that this message is about fundraising, and keep the tone of your organization. If your group is all about fun and excitement, then go ahead and let that shine! You’re sure to get a much higher response (and much higher profits!), with personalized messages that take a heartfelt and sincere approach to asking for support.

If you haven’t started your Online Magazine Fundraiser yet, I highly recommend you give it a try. The program is completely free, so there’s no risk involved. It’s easy to set up and maintain, and excellent customer support is available if you run into a snag. Once you’re all set up and ready to start raising funds with your very own online magazine store, don’t forget to personalize those emails, and you’ll be on the path to fundraising success.

Click here to learn more about the online Magazine Fundraiser or Call 1-888-778-2580

iBake Sale: An Easy Alternative To A Bake Sale Fundraiser

If your school is burnt out on holding bake sales, could be an alternative to consider. With a school or organization registers with them. Then invite people to shop at merchants signed up with iBake (they have hundreds of them — including Macy’s, PetSmart, Linens n’ Things, Netflix, Walmart and Avon). By making a purchase, a percentage is donated to the organization the buyer has selected, or they can choose to get cash-back on their credit card.

According to the website, was founded in 2007 with the vision to “make local community fundraising easy and rewarding.”

This program can not only be used by schools, but by sports teams, religious organizations and other community organizations that are looking to raise funds. Organizations do not have to just be 501(C)(3) charity groups with tax-exempt status. There is also no fee to join, and there is also no fee for shoppers.

With your fundraising does not have to be limited to just one weekend or one school afternoon, but it can be done during the entire school year. How much can you expect to raise? states that “Any group can expect to raise approximately $100 annually per member.”

Firstgiving Offers Facebook Application for Online Fundraising

Firstgiving, a leader in providing Web-based fundraising services for individuals and charities, today announced the release of its new application for Facebook, a leading online social networking website. Firstgiving’s new application allows users to rally their Facebook communities for support, thereby greatly increasing their fundraising potential.

“This new application is a huge win both for our users and the charities they support,” said Mark Sutton, Chief Executive Officer of Firstgiving. “The ability to access the tens of millions of Facebook community members means Firstgiving users can exponentially increase their ability to raise funds for the worthwhile causes they support.”

Setting up a person to person online fundraising page with Firstgiving is easily done using an online template that can be personalized with messages and photos. Fundraisers then send links to their pages to family, friends and networks around the globe and ask for support for a walk, run bike ride, growing an embarrassing mustache, or any other reason they can think of.

All of the money raised through these efforts go to certified charitable organizations. Nonprofits can also use Firstgiving’s services for their supporters. Because of its ease and ability to reach more people, Firstgiving’s online fundraising pages help raise an average of three times more money than traditional methods.

Facebook is all about networking, and according to Sutton, “By opening the doors to the Facebook community, Firstgiving users may find new friends who support the same causes — thereby growing their personal networks.” In addition, Facebook “friends” can also help with fundraising by using the new application to promote friend’s pages on their own Facebook profiles.

“Regardless of how you access Firstgiving’s services you can be sure that all transactions are safe and secure and reach the charity of your choice,” said Sutton.

Blue Rectangle: A simple Way To Fund-raise With Used Books

Do you have used books but you don’t want to run a book sale?

If you are a library, school or community group then you may have old books on hand. Sometimes running a used book sale is not convenient, as you need to have volunteers to coordinate the sale and organize the books. Blue Rectangle offers an alternative way you can fund-raise with your books.

By using Blue Rectangle, you are simply selling your books to them in buy-back program. They in turn are then selling your books to consumers.

This fund-raiser is simple and easy to follow

The steps to run this fund-raiser are very basic. “It is really simple, just go online to our website and then fill out your organization’s name and address. Then select a method of payment — its super simple! Create an account with us this way and then enter the ISBN (for the books you are selling to Blue Rectangle).” said Chris Cahill, Customer Service Representative. Literally hundreds of schools and other organizations have worked with Blue Rectangle. They have been in business for about ten years. They have been doing the book buy-back business for three years.

What books are they interested in purchasing? Cahill encourages interested not-for-profits to look at the F.A.Qs page on the website for further details about what type of books they are interested in purchasing. “We are especially interested in textbooks, how-to books, books that have been published in the last ten years and generally books that have an isbn but are either out of print or are hard to come by,” said Cahill

Blue Rectangle according to their F.A.Qs page is not interested in purchasing books with odors, book club books, encyclopedias, magazines, Time-Life books, Teacher’s editions, books in poor condition, condensed books (such as Reader’s Digest), advanced reading copies, corrected proofs, workbooks with writing in them, books marked not for resale, books missing a section of the cover, books with any profanity in them, pornography, and unbound or partially bound books.

They suggest that customers send books that they consider are at least in very good to excellent condition. This means no water damage, no missing covers or pages and minimal highlighting or tearing on the pages.

Blue Rectangle purchases books depending on market demand for the books

Prices for books depend on the current interest for the book. “We buy the books in order to resell them so our buyback is based on market demand,” said Cahill. When you input your ISBNs into the website, you will be given a price. That price is then good for five days. After five days that price is subject to change. You are encouraged to send your books in quickly. Payments are sent to customers on a weekly basis.

When shipping books to Blue Rectangle you are encouraged to obtain insurance for your package. Insurance should not be very expensive, and this protects you from any damages or loss while in transit to the facility.

Blue Rectangle is an excellent alternative for the organization that is unable to hold a book sale but has plenty of books that they would like to turn into fund-raising dollars. Visit their website for more information.