Fundraising and Today's Busy
Today’s school teacher has a lot on her
plate. She drives to work thinking about the
day’s lesson plan, races to check her e-mail before the first
bell, herds several of her students to and from the bathroom,
and calls roll – all before the first piece of chalk hits the
board. It’s no wonder the school fundraiser isn’t her first
"I very rarely have all 20 of my
kids in the classroom at the same time," said second-grade
teacher Jessica Carlton. "They’re either going to gifted
or speech class, or I’m walking them to the clinic or the
library. I only have about an hour a day with all of my
students, and I have to try and make the most of it."
"Teachers are frustrated across the
country," said Fred Brown, a former elementary
school principal and an Associate Director at the National
Association of Elementary School Principals."They’re being
asked to do more than they ever have before, and they just
don’t have a lot of time to devote to fundraising."
succeed, however, school-wide fundrasing drives need the full
support of the entire school community,
including busy teachers. So how do you get those overworked
educators on board when it’s time for the kick-off?
key for parent/teacher organizations is to keep a strong
relationship with teachers year-round,"
said Tim Sullivan, publisher of PTO Today. "Teachers can be
enthusiastic about the fund-raiser and be part of the fun, or
they can just hand out order forms. And it all depends on
whether they think the PTO’s efforts areworthwhile. Parent
groups need to make teachers realize we’re all in this
Principals can also get teachers
more involved by "laying all the cards on the table,"
Brown said. "I used to have a meeting with my faculty and
share the building budget with them," Brown said. "We’d figure
out what we needed, and we’d create a ‘wish list’ of things we
wanted. Then we’d set goals, and figure out a fundraising
project to meet those goals."
teachers are in on the plan from day one, it’s
easier for them to see the big picture," Brown said. "They’re
more willing to engage if they see the goal but don’t have to
sacrifice a lot of classroom time."
According to the National Education
Association, teachers spend about
$400 a year of their own money on classroom
supplies. Sullivan suggests providing a
"teacher-stipend" program to help them cover out-of-pocket
classroom expenses. Jesse Kenney, a professional fundraiser in
Watkinsville, GA, works with PTOs that offer top-selling
classrooms 10 percent of the profits.
When possible, Kenney also works
with the fundraising chair to hold a separate fundraising
meeting with just the faculty. Brown says the key to gaining
involvement from teachers is to make their role in the
fundraiser as simple as possible by minimizing the accounting
and paperwork that ends up on their desk. "Teachers just don’t
have time for counting dollars," he said. "That’s a job for
parents and volunteers. Teachers should be collecting the money
in an envelope, and handing it off to a parent."
Sullivan says be sure to focus on
the results, not the money. "Give teachers progress reports,
but don’t tell them you’re three-quarters of the way to
$10,000. Tell them you’re three-quarters of the way to 50 class
field trips," he said. Without teachers, the school fundraiser
is an uphill climb.
Fundraising professionals say the most successful
campaigns have energetic, involved teachers behind the
scenes. The key is getting to the teachers
early, keeping their time investment to a minimum and
making sure they see a tangible reward.
Article Courtesy "The Fundraising Edge." A
publication from the Associaton of Fund-raising Distributors
and Suppliers. Visit www.afrds.org