Archive for the 'Success Stories' Category

Prize Program Results in Fundraising Success

Last year I was elected to my daughter’s school PTO Board as the person in charge of fund raising. My first assignment was to coordinate a candy-gift wrap fund raiser. The program ran for about 7-8 weeks and we were able to raise over $56,000.

The program success is directly related to two factors. The first was time and effort spend planning and soliciting motivational items which served as incentives for the children. The second was a reliable group of volunteers to handle the administrative aspect associated with the weekly recording of students’ individual level of sales and their prize distributions.

The approach and view was this was a program to benefit the community: businesses were asked to make donations. Donations were as varied as the businesses. These donations were packaged into individual gift for the each student in accordance with his weekly sales.

Historically, the sales activity level peaked during the first two and last two weeks of the program. In reviewing the activity level of previous years’ sales that the report showed sales doubling during the time that the vendor offered a double incentive. Hence the conclusion to keep the incentive for the duration of the program.

For every six items sold the student received a prize (all prizes were donated). Initially, we used the small trinket items ( such as a school supply item) and as the program progressed we began using the higher value donations (such as a complimentary large pizza or a menu meal from a local restaurant, or movie tickets). There were no limit on how many prizes a student could earn.

Additionally, there were special rewards and large ticket item prizes at the end of the program for top children in elementary, middle, and upper school. For the duration of the program the sales level remained at a consistently high level.

It was a great way to solicit the businesses support and participation while teaching the children a number of life and business skills. Simple but working as a team it was very effective.

Brilliant Fundraising Strategy at the School Play

Last night, I attended the opening performance of 101 Dalmatians, put on by my local school district’s four elementary schools. My son actually had a part in this play. He was “Dog Catcher 2”. It’s not a big role, but he does get to put a net over Cruella deVille’s head and drag her off stage, so that was pretty cool.

While we were standing in line, waiting to get into the auditorium, two women from our local Humane Society arrived and began to set up a table right beside the entrance doors. Everybody walking into the auditorium had to walk past it.

The table was complete with brochures, a stand up display board with attractive photos, and a laptop computer that showed a continuous Power Point presentation. There was a stack of humane society coloring books to hand out to the kids. Pictures of stray dogs being hugged by new owners, that sort of thing. They even thought to bring with them a very handsome and well-mannered black mutt to show off as a living, breathing example of the kind of love families could find at the shelter.

As I watched these ladies unpack their display items and set them up, I thought to myself, what an excellent idea! Here we are, waiting to see the play 101 Dalmatians, and we’re all thinking about adorable black and white spotted puppies. We’re here to support our children, and we’re in a good mood- why not make a donation to the Humane Society?

It was so natural.

This is the stuff non-profits have to do to survive these days. They need to find partnerships, even temporary ones, that are a good fit, like the Humane Society teaming up with the 101 Dalmatians play.

By bringing the dog with them, the folks from the Humane Society were able to “break the ice” with the people in line, who might not have otherwise stopped by the table or even made eye contact. But, put a little doggy with sad eyes in front of them, almost nobody can resist. And then the conversation can begin. Brilliant.

If you are a school or a non-profit, take a few minutes to think about how you could replicate this kind of interactive fundraising approach. What assets do you have and what creative ways could they be used to promote your organization?

Ideas? I’d love to hear them in our comment section. Thanks!


Photo by: DougieBoss

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.)

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