Archive for the 'School Spirit Ideas' Category

School Spirit is Essential to Your Fundraising Success

Here is a real-life example of a school that has lost its spark. This news report comes from the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum online. See if anything below sounds familiar to your school.

CRESTLINE — A positive message was emphasized throughout the Crestline Board of Education meeting Monday night as parents packed the school library.
The most positive message came from Pam Armstrong, who spoke to the board about her desire to bring spirit back to the school.

“It seems as though there is no excitement in the school at all,” Armstrong said. “It started with a few conversations and now we have 14 to 16 parents who are involved and they are trying to help the kids be enthusiastic about their school again.”

In the past, students wore the school colors (blue and white) on various game days, but it seems that tradition has been lost.

“On Senior Night and homecoming it seemed as though not much was acknowledged,” Armstrong said.

Board of Education member Barb Poole, who substitute teaches at the school, said she noticed the lack of excitement, too.

“When my kids were in school I was very active. The parents can be the key to changing this,” Poole said. “Going into that new school, we’d like to rebuild what we used to have here.”

There was more to the article, but this excerpt paints a pretty good picture of what’s been going on there.

They don’t mention fundraising in the article, but it’s pretty easy to guess what’s been happening on that front.

My belief is that if your school doesn’t have an enthusiastic spirit and energy about it, your fundraising is going to flounder.

So, what are some things your school could do to jump start it’s collective spirit? continue reading

Has Torturing the School Principal Gone Too Far? 4 Case Studies.

In the archives of this blog, I have written about (and have actually suggested) the method of “torturing” the school principal as an incentive and a reward for a fundraiser.

I’ve read about things like shaving the principal’s head and making the principal sit on the roof of the school in a lawn chair for the entire school day. These things sounded fun and unique, and I really didn’t see the harm.

But, now I’m wondering about that. In recent weeks, I’ve come across a handful of news articles that are reporting incidents of principal fundraising torture that perhaps go a bit too far. But, then again, maybe I’m way off-base here, and you might not agree. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Here are four separate cases:

An elementary school in Alabama recently held a fundraiser for the Red Cross Heroes Campaign. Students were told that if they met their goal, they would have a chance to duct tape their principal to a wall in the school gym.

Well, the students held up their end of the bargain. So shortly after the end of the fundraiser, the student body gathered in their gymnasium. The principal stepped up onto a bucket, which was placed next to a wall. Then each student was handed a two foot long strip of duct tape. They formed a giant single file line, and one by one, each student placed his or her tape over the principal’s body.

When every student had accomplished this task, a couple of teachers removed the bucket, upon which the principal had been standing. Because he was secured so firmly against the wall, he did not fall, when the bucket was removed. The reporting website said that the kids howled with delight (at their little display of sadism). Hmmm.

(Take a minute to watch the video of this event, embedded below. I, myself, felt a little differently about this after having watched the video.)

continue reading

The Impact School Spirit has on Fundraising

When I first took the position as the administrator of a private elementary school, I was curious what kind of a toolbox I would have access to. Most good toolboxes, of course, have many compartments to store different kinds of tools that will help complete a job.

The tools I was interested most in weren’t hammers and screwdrivers and wrenches, but rather donors, volunteers, and school spirit. All of the tools I was interested in would help shape our effort to provide the necessary funds to keep the school operational and thriving.

Unfortunately, the situation I walked into had a pretty empty toolbox, so one of my first tasks was to stock it with as many useful items as I could.

Today, I want to write about the tool of school spirit, and how it relates to fundraising success.

If you find yourself at a school that is struggling to raise money, whether it be in a small fundraiser like a cookie dough sale or a large event like an auction, one of the fundamental reasons for your lack of success may be a lack of school spirit.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself or others close to you to determine if your students, their parents, the teachers, key donors, and anyone else involved at your school has enough spirit to motivate them to work for your school’s financial success. continue reading

10 Ways to Say Thank You to Your Child’s Teacher

If you are reading this blog, chances are you are a pretty involved parent in your child’s education. You are most likely involved in fundraising activities, field trip chaperoning, room mothering (or “fathering”), and the countless other opportunities to play a vital role in your child’s education.

I would also guess that you have a pretty good relationship with your child’s teacher. After all, the teacher sees your child for six or seven hours a day for 180 days per year. That’s a lot of influence he or she can have on your offspring. Of course, it’s a good idea to know who that person is.

As a former elementary school principal, I witnessed the spectrum of relationships that parents have with teachers, and I’ve heard the “secret” teacher lounge chatter about those relationships. Therefore, I think I can offer a few suggestions on ways for parents to say thank you that will be truly meaningful to and appreciated by your child’s teacher.

1. Volunteer in the Classroom
Most classrooms are overcrowded. That is to say that the ratio of teachers and aides to students is higher than anyone would want. This isn’t only distressing to the parents, but it is also a source of great concern for the teachers. By and large, teachers really do desire excellence, but many times, the numbers make that an elusive goal.

Therefore, I would find a way to volunteer your time as a part-time classroom aid. I’ve seen a mom volunteer one hour per week to listen to students read. The teacher really appreciated that, because the kids got more individualized instruction.

Maybe it’s something you can only do once per month. However, if you pool your time with three other parents, that’s a once-per-week help the teacher is getting, and that’s significant. continue reading

Use Local Celebrities at your Fundraising Event

Cheerleaders are cool!Here’s a quick idea that I have seen work on more than one occasion. For your next group-gathering fundraiser, like a school carnival, ice cream social, or book fair, see if you can recruit some of your local high school athletes to work the event.

Imagine: football players scooping ice cream, cheerleaders doing face painting, basketball players running a free throw competition. Of course, all the players should be dressed in their team’s uniform.

It is amazing how much elementary or middle school kids look up to high-schoolers. And, if the high-schooler is the starting quarterback, captain of the cheer squad, or point guard for the hoops team, you’ve got a bona-fide celebrity on your hands.

You can include this celebrity attendance/participation in all of your marketing materials. It’s sure to draw a crowd.

I would also add that there is an additional revenue opportunity with the athletes there, as well. As long as it is very clear that the revenue generated goes to the school, think about charging for photographs or autographs from the players. This can be done in good fun and as long as the high-schoolers don’t get an inflated ego because of it, I know they’ll have a good time.