The number one concern of any PTA should be helping the school to be the best that it can be. That means being there to help teachers, chaperoning field trips, and planning family events at the school to get other parents more involved in their students’ success. One huge area of interest for all PTA’s is fundraising. And even though raising money should never be your number one concern, it is absolutely imperative to have great PTA fundraisers to fund all of the other activities you plan throughout the year.
So since you know you are going to be doing some sort companies that give in-kind donations of fund raisers, you will want to focus on maximizing your PTA fundraising profits. It just doesn’t make sense to spend all of the time that a PTA fundraiser requires and not raise as much money as you possibly can. So how do you go about maximizing your revenues?
The smartest way is to treat your PTA fundraising efforts as if they are a retail operation. This metaphor extends to all areas of fundraising and translates well as there are a number of parallels between retail operations and PTA fund raising efforts.
The first thing you would consider in either endeavor is what kind of product will sell best in your area. You wouldn’t set up a surf shop in the middle of Ohio just like you wouldn’t have a steak dinner to raise money for the vegetarian club. Obviously those are some silly examples, but you should get the idea that you really need to think about who it is you will be selling to and what they are likely to buy.
You also need to consider your “competition”. You may have never thought of other schools fundraisers as competitors but they are, and so are the Little League fundraisers and the Girl Scouts fund raisers and all of the other groups raising money in your area. People are generous, but at some point they have spent all of their donation dollars and there just isn’t anything left. So you will want to stand out from the crowd or at least differentiate your program in some way from all of the others in your area.
Pricing also will be a big concern for PTA’s selling products to raise money. Just like in a retail setting, there is always a fine balance between pricing items low enough that you sell a high volume and pricing them high enough that you earn a great profit. If you search around you can find fund raising companies with products that sell at substantial discounts to retail prices while still offering excellent profit margins to your PTA. These are the programs you want to pick from.
Marketing is something that is only discussed at a very few PTA’s. It’s just not a topic that most people feel they have enough experience with to be comfortable executing effectively. The thing is though that doing almost anything will be better and more effective than not marketing at all. Just like a small retail operation, your PTA likely doesn’t have, or isn’t willing to spend, a large number of dollars on spreading the word about your products. But you don’t have to. Marketing your PTA fund raiser can be as simple as putting up a sign in front of the school so that parents picking up their kids are reminded that you are raising money. You can print off flyers to hang in coffee shops and other local businesses telling people about your fundraiser. And then there is always the most effective marketing tool, having the students call friends, family, and neighbors to sell products. Remember, marketing doesn’t have to mean a TV commercial or a fun jingle, it’s just spreading the word and it is very important.
And really, that is what it all comes down to – picking the right line of products and offering them at a great price and marketing them to customers. Hopefully this “retail-centric” view of PTA fundraising helps you look at your money raising efforts in a different light and leads to increased sales for your PTA.