All the ideas and step-by-step instructions you need to raise thousands of dollars for your school are right here in Beyond the Bake Sale.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through:
- Setting up a fund-raising team
- Finding national organizations that will support your school
- Putting on events that leave bake sales in the dust
- Finding and keep volunteers
- Accounting for and distributing the money you raise
With school budgets slashed, parent-driven fund-raising is needed to keep classrooms stocked with computers and supplies, school libraries with books and teams with uniforms and equipment. Complete with school year timelines, Beyond the Bake Sale is the only book you'll need to start making money for your school this year.
"…An encouraging, comprehensive fundraising manual." Kirkus Reviews
"Parents and school staff engaged in school fundraising will appreciate this extensive guide to achieving a successful outcome from a multitude of fundraisers." Book Life
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About the Author
Jean Joachim is part of the fund-raising team at one of New York City’s award-winning public schools, P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She has helped raise over $200,000 a year for the past six years. She lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
Beyond the Bake Sale: The Ultimate School Fund-Raising Book
Fall Events1The BasicsMoney, Money, Money"At 87, fund-raising has been elevated to an art that connects students, families, and staff. Fund-raising at P.S. 87 serves as a community builder. It brings together families and staff and provides vehicles for parents to be part of and contribute to their children's education. A clearly articulated vision of the goals of fund-raising, as well as accountability and demonstrated evidence of how the proceeds both directly and indirectly benefit students, is at the core of the program."STEVEN PLAUT, FORMER PRINCIPAL AT P.S. 87The fund-raising events and activities in this book reflect fifteen years experience and fifteen years of making money and fifteen years of saving money. We have made plenty of mistakes in our fund-raising efforts, but we never got discouraged. I have learned that it takes a year or two to really get an event to run smoothly. You have to have patience, be creative, listen to other people, and be open to suggestion. We started small with bake sales and grew over the years to huge events that made up to $60,000. But it didn't happen overnight.If you are just starting out, your school or parent association may not have much cash. Some of the events described in this book require money to pay for things up front, like food for an event, or a rental hall for your auction. In each chapter that has an event or activity that requires a significant outlay of cash, we have created a special section at the end called "Just Starting Out?" This section outlines ways to start the event that don't require much money. We have stripped the event down to the basics that are necessary to get it going. As your financial reserves grow, you can add on any of the additional, more costly activities.A RESERVE FUNDI can't stress enough the importance of putting some of your profits aside to form a reserve fund. At P.S. 87 we created a healthy reserve fund over the years for a rainy day. There have been times when we had to dip into that fund and were so grateful that it was there. When we did dip in, we worked hard to replace the money. A reserve fund is essential to any fund-raising plan that is going to grow and be a stable source of funds for school improvement year in and year out.If you save half the money your parent association earns, you will quickly build a reserve fund. It was always our goal to have a year's budget in our reserve. So if we expect to take in $200,000, which we do every year, then we need to have $200,000 in reserve. You can accomplish this by budgeting to spend only half of what you make. Put the other half in a special fund that earns interest so the money will grow over time.If you need more money during the year, have a quick and easy fund-raiser, like a bake sale, instead of dipping into the funds you have put away. This is the only way you will have enough money to throw a major event that requires a significant cash outlay. Save your money for a rainy day and build your financial power.T H E B A S I C S Y O U N E E D B E F O R E Y O U S T A R T F U N D - R A I S I N GSuccessful school fund-raising requires solid support systems, like:1. a widely-read school newsletter that goes home to parents;2. good relationships with the teachers and the administrative staff, including the secretaries and other support staff in the office;3. active, reliable class parents;4. a school handbook spelling out dates and regular fund-raising events for the year;5. an up-to-date school phone directory; and6. a school Web site.1. School NewsletterOur school newsletter, the BackPack News, has been around for fifteen years. It is a four-page newsletter, 11" × 17" folded once, printed in black on colored paper and issued weekly. By printing black ink on colored paper, we get the excitement of color but pay for only one-colorblackprinting, which is much less expensive than four-color printing. Our regular features in the BackPack News (BPN) are:• principal's column• parent association president's column• schedule of upcoming events• classified adsThis invaluable tool is also important for publicity for upcoming fund-raising events. We request and thank volunteers, publish the success of our events, request donations, and let the parents know about changes in the school in the BPN. It's a big job to get the newsletter set up. But once you have settled on a format, typestyle, basic departments and a logo, it's not so difficult. We have a stable of different people who construct the BPN from parent submissions. Every week a special packet folder is placed in the school office for newsletter submissions. Each week the editor picks up the folder on Thursday afternoon. If you can get ten people with computer access to agree to edit and type four editions of the newsletter, you'll have the year covered. Sponsorship should cover the cost of printing the newsletter. Sponsors receive acknowledgment and a large ad in the newsletter.The parent association pays for printing of the BPN. But we defray the cost by selling sponsorships to advertisers like summer camps and insurance and real estate agents. For a few hundred dollars, a business can reach more than five hundred families. If you have just a few people selling sponsorships at the beginning of the year, you can run a newsletter cost-efficiently.In the school office every Monday morning, a parent volunteer counts out the correct number of copies for each class and puts them in the teachers' mailboxes. The teachers distribute the newsletters to the kids to take home every Tuesday. The deadline for submissions is Thursday if handed in on paper, or Friday by e-mail (since it doesn't have to be typed in). Classified ads are free to all P.S. 87 parents. Nonparent classified advertisers pay $25 per ad. Help-wanted ads are also accepted free of charge. Ad length is determined by space availability, a decision determined by the editor of the week.2. A School Web SiteA school Web site is extremely valuable as a tool to disseminate information. You will have a technologically savvy parent in the school who can construct the school Web site for free. Some teachers put their homework assignments on the Web site. That way, if children are absent or their memories are unreliable, the parentscan access the homework assignments and make sure the children are getting it all completed on time.A really efficient school Web site can contain the school newsletter, too. You can also sell advertising on the Web site.3. Good Relationships with TeachersOur parent association makes it a point to support and acknowledge teachers. The teachers are the lifeblood of our school. Most of our PA funds go to support our teachers and improve the school environment for our children. Teachers' help with fund-raising is vital. It's the teachers, not the parents, who hand out the forms and information for our wrapping-paper and magazine drives. In fact, it is the teachers who:• collect fund-raising forms• create class projects for the auction• create class booths for the street fair• create a quilt to be sold at the auction• offer to take children out for breakfast or pizza as an auction prize• bring their classes down to bake sales and book fairs• disseminate the BackPack News every weekAnd, of course, in addition to those and a thousand other things, they teach our children. So we do everything we can for the teachers.On parent/teacher conference nights, throw a potluck dinner just for the teachers. In the evenings, the teachers are too busy with conferences to go out for dinner. Supply delicious, homemade food in the cafeteria so the teachers don't have to go hungry.We give free tickets to the auction to the teachers. Many teachers prefer to stay home with their own families than to spend Saturday night with the parents of the kids in their class, but still, the gesture is warm and inclusive.We allocate class funds from our fund-raising for every teacher. Our classroom funds provide $200 for each teacher or a $400 fund for a new teacher or a $300 fund for a teacher who is changing grades. The teachers decide how to spend the money. However, receipts are required for each expense. All expenses are submitted to the treasurer for approval.We also make sure to honor special requests from the teachers. Nancy Goldstein, an excellent third grade teacher, appealed to the PA board one year for money to print a book of P.S. 87 children's poetry, open to all the children in the school. The expenditure was approved and a stunning book was produced.Robin Ulzheimer, a fifth-grade teacher, won a grant to create a reading garden. When the money fell short before the garden was finished, the PA provided the additional funds to complete the project.In our newsletter, we publicize many teachers' wish lists for supplies, furniture, appliances, and books for the classroom. Our parents fulfill as many wishes as they can.We host an appreciation breakfast for teachers every year.And those are just some examples. A good relationship between the PA board and the teachers is essential. Ask your board to come up with eight ideas for showing teacher appreciation. Pick two or three and make them happen. After all, everything we do is about supporting the classroom, the teachers, and creating the best classroom experience possible for our children.The same attitude holds true for the administrative support staff in the office. I don't know how many times I've needed help from Anne Murney, Annie Nelson, or Emily Paxinos our school office administrative staff, and they have been there every time.From opening the locked PA closet door, to copying, to helping me locate a teacher, a child, or a parent, not to mention letting the PA keep all kinds of flyers, the BPN, auction donation forms, and everything else needed for fund-raising in the office. Auction and street-fair donations get dropped off there, too.It is impossible to stress enough the importance of having the office staff on your side. So make it clear you appreciate them. Buy them a cup of coffee or a doughnut now and then. Remember to say please and thank you.4. Class ParentsClass parents are parents who volunteer to be responsible for parent association coordination with other parents in their child's class. We usually have two class parents per class. They are essential to successful school fund-raising. Class parents help out with field trips, straighten up in the classroom, and coordinate collecting for the teacher gifts at holiday time and the end of the year, too.But class parents are also an important part of school fund-raising because they represent personal communication. Class parents call other parents or speak with them face-to-face at play dates, morning drop-off, or afternoon pickup at school. Class parents enable the school fund-raising efforts to reach right into each classroom to pull volunteers or donations and generate activity. Class parents become part of the parent network.Usually the teacher selects two parents who volunteered from his or her class to become the class parents. These people are responsible for making sure that school fund-raising is being supported in their class. They are the ones who decide, frequently in collaboration with the teacher, what the class booth at the street fair will be. The class parents are the ones who contact the parents in their child's class and urge people to donate to the auction. The class parents are the ones pushing the wrapping-paper sales andmagazine drive. The class parents make sure the teacher gets a book wish list to the Scholastic Book Fair or the school day at Barnes & Noble.Class parents create a phone tree by dividing their class list into four or five columns and listing people vertically. Then the class parent calls each parent at the top of a column, and each parent then calls the parent beneath him or her on the phone tree with the same message. Using a phone tree means that every parent, with the exception of the class parent, only has to make one phone call, and everyone in the class has been reached quickly and efficiently.5. Staff RelationsSuccessful school fund-raising requires the help of the school staff. From administrators to custodians, you will need everyone to pitch in. Go out of your way to build bridges, include and acknowledge the school staff.I can't run a bake sale if Benny the custodian doesn't get the big tables set up and the extension cord for the coffee machine. I'm stuck if Al doesn't bring the giant garbage cans with lots of extra bags for my rummage sale. Many cooperative teachers have let us use classrooms to make coffee or store excess stuff. Office staff members have made copies and kept track of deliveries. Remember that without the support of the principal and assistant principals, you won't be able to do anything in the school at all. You will need all the support you can get.6. HandbooksThere are three kinds of handbooks that will help you with fund-raising: a parent or school handbook, a new-teacher handbook, and a community resource handbook.
Parent / School HandbookThis handbook is a collaboration between the administration and the parents' association. A good handbook should inform the parents of all the rules and regulations regarding their child's new school. In addition to basics like admonishing the parents to bring their children to school on time, the handbook also outlines the fund-raisers planned for the school year. You will need only two people to create the handbook: one who knows the school inside out and one who can type. They can even be the same person. Once a handbook is produced, it can be used for years with only minor changes.Either the PA or the school can print the handbook and distribute it free to the new parents. Distribute it to new teachers, too, to get them acquainted with your activities early in the year. Ours is printed on three-hole paper so parents can keep it in a binder.You can make the handbook whatever you want it to be. Here is what P.S. 87 has done, which might be a place to start.1. A mission statement. We use the mission statement from our school leadership team and then add a paragraph about what makes us special, including our logo and slogan: One Family under the Sun.2. A section on admissions, physical exams, list of all types of staff (by position rather than by name).3. A resources and facilities section, including a floor plan of the school. This section includes brief descriptions of:• library• P.S. 87 Science Resource Center• youth gardenThis section sets up some of the special facilities that are provided by the PA so that when donations are requested,people already have some idea where the money they contribute might go.4. A curriculum section, provided by teachers and the administration.5. A brief section on kindergarten including the orientation period and a description of a typical day to make the new kindergarten parents feel more at ease.6. A section on assessment, standardized testing, and frequently asked questions, zeros in on common parents' concerns.7. The parent association section, which starts with the PA board, school-wide committees, and finally fund-raising.• This chapter details the annual fund-raising events and the month or season they take place in.• We also include the following: Year-round fund-raising activities, like schoolpop.com and AT&T Points for School programs, A+ America/Spring Free Technology for Schools program, Box Tops for Education.• Teacher and parent association wish lists• The flea market• A pie chart showing the distribution of PA funds.• Arts-in-ActionThis is a program paid for and run by the parent association that brings trained parents into the classroom to teach curriculum-based art lessons.• Parent Network Committee• Class parents8. After-school programIncluded is a brief description of our after-school program that includes sports, clubs, homework helps, and creative activities.9. School rules.Community Resource HandbookThe Community Resource Handbook began with questionnaires to incoming kindergarten parents about their skills, jobs, and hobbies. Soon it became apparent that we needed the resources of all the parents in the school. So a questionnaire was created to gather information about abilities, experiences, professions, and hobbies and was distributed to all the parents in the school.A handbook was compiled from the questionnaires dividing parents into groups, like music, marketing, carpentry, writing, police, sewing, covering the diverse skills of the parents. The handbook was distributed to the teachers and put in the library. The teachers had a ready reference of whom to contact if they needed a bookshelf built, or a short lecture to the class on the stock market.The book was extremely popular and became a resource for fund-raising, too. With this book, you can locate parents who have lighting experience to help with your haunted house, or who work for Fortune 500 companies if you need a specific donation, or who are professional actors to perform as storybook characters for your street fair.Put your questionnaire in the first issue of your newsletter. Form a committee to gather this information and publish a community resource handbook.7. The School DirectoryIt's impossible to run successful school fund-raising without this tool. The school directory should list all the students by class, with alphabetical cross-referenced listings in the back. We list a cross-reference with parents who have different last names from their children in the back, too.We also list all the names of the members of the parent association board and their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. We listall the important numbers for the school, like the office, the guidance counselors, and the nurse.We sell advertising in the directory to cut down on the printing cost and so we can distribute the directory free to all families. Consider charging a dollar for a second copy.The directory is where everyone goes to call for volunteers or donations. You can't run programs or your child's social life without it. The biggest problem with the school directory is getting it out quickly.To get your directory out at the earliest possible date, start the directory at the end of the year. Get next year's classes from administration and begin the directory during the summer. In the fall, you'll just have to add kindergarten classes, a few new students in other grades, and make a handful of class changes. This will speed up delivery of the directory.Phone TreesA phone tree is a class list broken up into columns of names. You can usually fit four columns on a page. Each column has a student and parent lined up underneath. Then the person at the top of the column calls the parent directly underneath to pass along information, ask for volunteering, or ask for donations. Then that person makes one phone call to the person underneath her name, and so on. Eventually everyone on the list gets called and each person only had to make one phone call. Here is what it looks like:Edna Brown 146 Chestnut Street Edison, NCMary Brown Kevin Brown 344-7988 Gary Barrett 422 Elm Street Rhonda Barrett Glenn Barrett 324-6659 Tiffany Cassel 112 Magnolia Lane Clara Cassel Michael CasselOnce you have these support systems in place, you're ready to beginning planning your first fund-raising events."Eagerly awaited events such as the magazine drive in the fall, the auction in late winter, and the "Just Kids Street Fair" in the spring, to name but a few, mark the passage of the school year as surely as any academic calendar. The benefits that accrue to students transcend the material improvements to their school. Children develop an appreciation for the priority that education represents for their families as well as perceiving their school as a community that is the basis of the formation of lifelong relationships and friendships."STEVEN PLAUT, FORMER P.S. 87 PRINCIPALBEYOND THE BAKE SALE: THE ULTIMATE SCHOOL FUND-RAISING BOOK. Copyright © 2003 by Jean C. Joachim. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.