School fundraising: keeping it simple

Fundraising – it’s the gritty reality of education today, plugging the gap between state and federal funding, and the cost of running a well-resourced school. It also requires a huge outlay of time and energy.

How can schools run effective fundraising campaigns that don’t suck the life out of staff and volunteers?

In most schools, the task of fundraising falls to the Parents’ & Citizens’ Association (P&C), and their efforts can make a colossal difference to the resources a school can provide for students. The traditional book fair, for example, can reap in excess of $10,000 in a big primary school. And the annual school fair or fete, a day of great excitement for children, can be the most lucrative fundraiser of the year – as well as providing an opportunity for the school to connect more closely with its wider community.

The challenge with fundraising is determining cost and profit. Bake sales, for example, are labour and cost intensive, with the average contributing family spending around $10 in ingredients to contribute baking, only to then send more cash to buy someone else’s (usually sugar-laden) baking. It could be argued that a more effective strategy would be to hold a No Bake Sale; no one buys ingredients or bakes, but everyone sends a dollar or two.

There are, however, fundraising opportunities that require minimal input from staff and volunteers. Online crowdfunding campaigns fit this bill perfectly, allowing rapid sharing of information and collection of funds with as much or as little publicity as the donor prefers. A scan of the education entries on GoFundMe reveals this method to be gaining in popularity, with pages of campaigns for school fundraising. Some schools need help with providing seemingly basic equipment, for example, air conditioning for a high school in tropical Queensland, while others want to replenish supplies of gym equipment or specialist gear for children with additional needs.

The flip side of the fundraising headache is the sense of belonging created when the staff, pupils and families are supported by their wider community. Fundraising events can bring the whole community together and give children the message that their education is really worth investing in.

Remember also to look out for grants on offer in your school’s communities. A successful grant application can bring in more money for less work than a cake stall or fair. Hundreds of millions of dollars in education-related grants are available to schools each year from governments, charities and the private sector.

Sipping milk to raise money for your school

Sipahh Fundraising Ventures is a new fundraising program designed to help kids, clubs and schools raise money for their causes through the sale of Sipahh Milk Flavouring Straws. With a 4.5 healthy star rating, less than half a teaspoon of sugar per straw, and nomination for ‘best new fundraising company’ in 2016, it’s a more wholesome, healthy and unique way of fundraising. Sipahh provides two fundraising options; first, the Sipahh Fundraising Crates.

These cute fundraising crates enable everyone in the school or group to participate by selling little packs of Sipahh straws. Each crate contains 24 four-packs with a profit of $22 per crate sold, a margin of 46 percent. The second option is to hold a Sipahh fundraising event at your school fete, carnival, market or special event. It involves raising money by selling glasses of milk with Sipahh straws. The vintage, pop-up Sipahh Milk Bar is available to order online, and combined with a wider selection of Sipahh flavours, it makes for an exciting and unique way of fundraising.

Kids love Sipahh straws as they’re so unique and parents love them because they’re lower in sugar and more profitable than many fundraising options. Sipahh helps people drink more milk with less sugar every day. For a limited time, Sipahh is offering eight free crates for every 40 ordered. That’s $380 additional profit for your fundraiser.

Lighting up school events with risk-free fundraisers

Everything Glows! products light up parties and events all around Australia, and the company specialises in providing schools with fundraising opportunities. Product investment is low, starting at less than $1 per item, and cheerful – items glow or flash, allowing schools to make a good profit.. Most popular items include glowing paraphernalia – sticks, glasses, earrings, caps, cups and bracelets, and flashing novelties such as necklaces, wands, bubble guns and badges.

Company spokesperson Paula House says, “Everything Glows! provides material data sheets for all products; checks all products for compliance with Australian Safety Standards, and will advise clients about any restrictions that may be relevant for schools”. “Everything Glows! provides schools with the flexibility and easy payment terms they need to take the hassle out of fundraising.”

Anna Clements

Anna Clements is the print and digital editor for School News, New Zealand. She has a background in newspapers, magazines and television, and spent six years working as an editorial advisor to a group ECE centres.

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