School fundraisers are often the backbone of much-needed financial support for schools from elementary through 12th grade. A time-honored tradition, school fundraising has come a long way — and there are a variety of fundraisers to choose from as well as an array of fundraising companies designed to help schools with their fundraisers. However, there are many important things to consider before choosing the right school fundraiser — and there are definitely some pitfalls to avoid when selecting one.

Apex Leadership Co. reveals seven pitfalls to avoid when choosing a school fundraiser

1. Selling Low-Cost or Non-Desirable Items

Going door-to-door selling candy bars, tins of popcorn or wrapping paper may not be the best bet when choosing a school fundraiser. Many times these items are higher priced for the fundraiser than they would be at the store or online so supporters who don’t have a vested interest in the school or the student may simply pass. So when selling something as part of a fundraiser, consider what the majority of people actually want and need. Many people don’t even necessarily want another “thing” to buy and may simply prefer to donate, which is part of the foundation that the Apex suite of programs is based upon. People find value in supporting a fundraiser that simply brings leadership and fitness skills to schools, no wrapping paper required.

2. Not Promoting Enough

This is where those with natural marketing and networking skills can shine in the spotlight! Promoting the event is a good way to solicit support and also gather volunteer help from parents, students’ relatives, and community members. It’s so important when planning a fundraiser to communicate clearly with the parents, the volunteers, and the students about the fundraiser. Promoting the fundraiser is also a good opportunity to get students motivated about the event and to help them understand their crucial role in it. Consider using social media outlets and various forms of communication to inform people of the fundraiser and to get people excited about it!

Fundraising Promotion

3. Having a Limited Reach

Choosing a fundraiser that has limited reach can result in either low profits earned or a ton of work on the part of students, parents and school staff, and administration! No one really has much free time to waste these days, so when choosing a school fundraiser, PTOs/PTAs should look for one with nearly unlimited reach (through web-based fundraising such as Apex, for example,) and one that makes it easy to fundraise without wasting time going door to door or putting too much time restraints on parents to help out. Apex was also designed to be hassle-free so schools can earn a lot of money in a short amount of time — while having a great time, too! (Win, win, win!)

4. Timing

The phrase “timing is everything” should definitely be considered when choosing a school fundraiser. Every school community is unique, so the perfect time to host a fundraiser will vary with every campus. PTO/PTA groups should spread out their school’s major fundraiser (or two) so the community of supporters don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s also important to be aware of state testing, district holidays, and other events when planning. Finally, PTA/PTO groups should collaborate with the school’s administration to get their approval on timing for the fundraiser, as it’s important to have their support.

5. Not Planning Ahead

Even when utilizing a school fundraiser company like Apex, all fundraisers take some careful orchestration so when PTA/PTO groups are choosing a fundraiser, they should plan ahead. This gives them ample time to promote the event (though already mentioned, it’s worth noting again that promotion is key for a successful fundraiser!), and also allows time to let parents and volunteers know not only about the event but how they can participate to help it become even more successful. Every great fundraiser, even one that is held through a fundraiser organization, needs proper planning to ensure maximum funds are raised. So think, and plan, ahead!

6. Fundraising Too Often

Let’s face it, everyone from teachers and parents to students and potential supporters are impacted by over-fundraising. Students may get burned out, parents and teachers may get frustrated, and supporters may even get a little annoyed. Fundraising little by little all year long is also likely less effective than doing one or two big fundraisers throughout the year. It helps to let parents (and everyone involved) know right at the beginning of the school year that there will be two big fundraisers, one in the fall and one in the spring, for example. This gives them the opportunity to plan for how they will support each one in terms of not only donations but that all-important volunteer aspect.

Little by Little Fundraising

7. Not Gathering Student and Parent Support

Regardless of what kind of fundraiser is chosen for the school, it will most certainly be less effective without the support of students and parents. Getting kids involved and excited about the fundraiser is key! Without an element of fun or some kind of incentive, students may be less than motivated to really push the limits of the fundraiser and exceed their goal. And without proper planning, ample time, and parents’ support by way of donations and volunteers, a fundraiser can fall short of its goal. So remember to hype the event to students and parents — as well as to the entire neighborhood and community. Motivation is key for the parents and supporters, too. So make sure the goal of the fundraiser is clearly communicated and explain what the funds are being raised for — new computers or technology, upgraded playground equipment, more safety measures… whatever it is, not sharing the goal and what the funds are for when gathering student and parent support can be a pitfall in fundraising!

Apex Leadership Co. understands how crucial fundraising is for schools — and how hard it can sometimes be for everyone involved! That’s why Apex’s programs are designed to be hassle-free and to raise the maximum amount of funds for school groups from elementary on up.