School fundraisers: Forget the wrapping paper! Just write us a check!

Our school has finally gotten a clue that it would receive a greater portion of the profits (100 percent) by just asking parents to donate money versus receiving about 40 percent when they sell gift wrap or cookie dough or other products.  (I think this is because our PTA president is a CPA!)

They are asking for parents to donate at least $50 but say they are happy to accept any amount.  The donations are tax deductible. (We ran a story this summer about New York schools doing this to supplement their budgets, and raising millions of dollars.)

The classes and kids that donate the most still get prizes.

They got a printing company to donate the printing a wonderful brochure explaining it all.

I personally prefer this method to selling stuff. I hated asking people to buy stuff from my kids. The only exception has been Girl Scout cookies. People actually want that. I preferred the Boosterthon to selling stuff because at least it promoted fitness but you still had to ask neighbors for money and the school still didn’t get 100 percent.

The school will receive a greater percentage of the money but the question will they make more just asking for the checks? I will be very interested to see how it turns out, as will the PTA I am sure.

Is your school dropping the fundraising guises in favor of just asking for straight-up checks and keeping all the money instead of just part of it?

Would you rather write a check then deal with selling stuff or buying stuff?

62 comments Add your comment


September 10th, 2012
4:12 pm

@Warrior Woman–Maybe it is excessive for what they do but most people seems just to have a problem with the percentage. Most folks don’t seem to want the stuff being peddled. My issue is when schools hold a fundraiser with, say, artwork and it exorbitantly priced and the school keeps a measly 25%. For what it’s worth, Boosterthon (or anything like it) gets you to your fundraising goal a whole lot faster than a Sally Foster.

My earlier post didn’t post but I think the discussion should involve careful consideration about what and how much we as parents should be fundraising for. We need to make sure it truly benefits the children. Fundraising just to be fundraising is nonsense.


September 10th, 2012
4:17 pm

I support the Boy Scouts and will buy Chick-fil-A sandwiches from them.


September 10th, 2012
4:30 pm

@bluefrog: the % is just one of the MANY issues I have with that company. They have NO product. It is basically a straight up donation, except the school only gets half and it is not tax deductible.


September 10th, 2012
4:44 pm

@mom2alex: As stated above, I’m not a fan. But as a person resposible for fundraising a significant amt of $ for the school, i went into it with this parent survey info: no one wants to do another Sally Foster and they don’t want to be bothered with fundraising all year long. Oh, and no one wants to volunteer to organize a DIY program instead of Boosterthon. That leaves few choices. If the check is made to the school or PTA 501(3)c, is is tax deductible. But yes, the program is obnoxious.


September 10th, 2012
4:55 pm

@bluefrog: and why not just ask parents to donate X amount of money per kid? Seems more than reasonable to me: no fundraising, no nickel and diming throught the year, the school keeps all of it, and it is tax deductible. Win win.


September 10th, 2012
4:58 pm

I love the restaurant cards with discounts. Send those my way…I buy two!


September 10th, 2012
5:26 pm

Did that. Didn’t work for us. Less than 1% of families partiticipated. Seems to work more at the middle and high school level.


September 10th, 2012
8:09 pm

I HATE Sally Foster, and all the stupid “prizes” they could win. As I told my daughter, I’d be far happier to buy her a stuffed animal for $10, give $50 to the school, and everyone comes out ahead, instead of foisting $150 worth of overpriced paper on friends and families. We never did a Boosterthon (sounds like we ducked the bullet), but the band sold cheesecakes/cookie dough (and yeah, those cheesecakes were pretty gross, but the cookie dough was great!)


September 10th, 2012
8:49 pm

I hate collecting Box Tops too! I understand the ease of it, but again, students are pitted against each other in some sort of “Hunger Games” event to see whose mom buys the most Pillsbury products. 100 Box Tops = $10 (I’ll just write a check).

Plus, there are so many other opportunities for the PTA to make money – they get a cut of school photos and the packages you buy (our school does Fall AND Spring pictures), artwork on mugs and tote bags, Scholastic Book Fairs, etc. Some of these things I like – having pictures and getting books, but I know that the PTA is also getting some of this money.


September 10th, 2012
10:20 pm

With 4 school age children in a “green” school lets just write a check and forget about all the “stuff”.

My motto: Go green and give (what you are able) of the green to your local school instead of buying/selling more stuff no one really needs.

Chuck Brentley

September 11th, 2012
9:55 pm

Fundraising card is also a good option. I usually have my cards printed at for most of my fundraising activities. They produce fine and high quality plastic cards that can really boost the chances of generating funds due to its appeal and awesome design.

Stan Levenson

September 15th, 2012
12:55 am

Thanks to all the parents who have made very worthwhile comments on this site. I have been talking about “nickel and dime fundraising” for years. Don’t waste your time doing this! Spend your time on what I call “big-time fundraising.” Look at the colleges, universities, and private schools and learn from them. Form 501c3 foundations that allow donors to take a tax write-off when they give monies to the schools. And, for all those people who can afford to give more, open your pocketbooks and your hearts and write a big check. Few causes are more worthy and more life-altering than public education. Stan Levenson, Author, Big-Time Fundraising for Today’s Schools, Corwin Press.