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Fundraising Q&A
With Jenny Ann

by Jenny Ann

Do you have more questions than answers about current fundraising opportunities? Youre not alone. Jenny Ann has heard all the questions, and here she answers a few of the most common ones she gets from people responsible for raising money for school and community groups.

In her role as a customer support professional with ABC Fundraising, Jenny Ann has heard every question under the sun and the moon. Here she shares with Education World a few questions that recently crossed her desk in hopes they might be helpful to our readers who are considering fundraisers of every type.


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Dear Jenny Ann,
I am having a hard time getting our students to sell our popcorn this year. Do you have any tips for motivating our group? We really need to raise some money this year.
Jack S.
Boynton Beach, Florida

Dear Jack,
Sorry to hear that your fundraising efforts have been less than stellar. I do have a few ideas for your group.

First, have you ever thought of getting your teachers together to come up with a bit of a game plan? You may want to have a competition between the classrooms, or the different grade levels. It's best if you can offer a prize to the class that sells the most popcorn -- a popcorn party seems appropriate. You may be able to get the popcorn fundraising company to donate some extra popcorn for this. A pizza party is another alternative, or some extra time at recess, or some baked goods for a class party you get the idea. If possible, hold a very brief rally to explain the fundraiser, the contest and the prize.

Another way to help ensure success is to have each teacher make sure every student is held accountable. Teachers can check in with their students throughout the course of the fundraiser to encourage them. It's also helpful to send a note to the parents explaining why money is being raised so they understand the consequences if the funds are not raised. If your school has a Web site, consider adding a free fundraising thermometer to the site. This is a great tool to keep people motivated and active during the fundraising campaign.

Finally, you might want to consider doing an add-on fundraiser with the popcorn. A discount movie ticket fundraiser seems like the perfect fit. If people don't like popcorn, they may buy movie tickets. Most people go to the movies, so you give them the opportunity to buy something that they normally buy from your students.

Good luck, Jack. I hope your fundraiser goes well and that you raise the money you need.

Dear Jenny Ann,
My school needs to raise a lot of money this year, and the parents decided they didn't want to do a carnival like we usually do. I have no idea what to do but we need something that has a lot of profit. Please help.
Charlotte Sanders
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Hello Charlotte,
Thanks for your question. I understand, carnival fundraisers do take a lot of parent involvement and have a lot of things to juggle. A few easy fundraising ideas for you:

First -- a scratch card fundraiser offers some of the highest profit in the fundraising industry. It's easy, doesn't require an up-front investment, and only requires supporters to donate a few dollars in exchange for valuable coupons.

Second, a Spinners fundraiser is similar to scratch cards but offers unlimited amounts of money to be raised as they can be used year after year. I love that Spinners are reusable -- a truly green fundraiser.

Finally, discount card fundraisers are a fantastic option now. The lead-time is longer, as they are personalized for your school with local merchants, but they are highly profitable because you can sell a ton!

I hope these ideas are helpful. Happy fundraising!


Dear Jenny Ann,
We have been doing cookie dough fundraising for the past few years. It's been great and people seem to like it, but we don't want our supporters to get bored with cookie dough every year. Any ideas for something similar, but new?
Sarah M.
Austin, Texas

Hi Sarah,
Yes, I have just the fundraiser for you! It sounds like your supporters like food fundraisers, and I have one that's even better and fresher than cookie dough. Have you ever had a hot, fresh-baked Auntie Anne's pretzel at the mall? Well, now you can do an Auntie Anne's Pretzel fundraiser so you can make money for your group with something everyone loves and can't get enough of. It works just like the cookie dough fundraiser -- you can order or print Auntie Anne's Pretzel Order Forms, and you are ready to go. Your supporters will love you, you will love the profits your school makes, and everyone will love the pretzels!

About the Author
Jenny Ann is an expert fundraiser and currently works for ABC Fundraising. She sets up school fundraisers nationwide. If you found this article helpful, please visit ABC Fundraising for more great tips and fundraising ideas.

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Article by Jenny Ann / ABC Fundraising
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Updated 10/15/2012