For better, or for (not necessarily) worse, education fundraising helps provide the valuable resources that meet the needs of today’s students.
Let’s take the ‘evil’ off the table for a minute and just stick with the necessary. Education fundraising refers to the many ways schools bring in money from private sources, including parents, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, alumni, foundations, and universities and colleges.
And, it has, due to a variety of factors, become a very necessary part of our children’s experience at school. Schools and parents often fundraise to top up government funding shortfalls so they can provide students with a wider range of opportunities than school budgets can offer.
Dollars raised purchase all kinds of resources:
- school supplies
- musical instruments
- drama productions
- athletic programs
- playground equipment
- school trips
- and much, much more.
The right fundraiser can have huge payoffs
Effective fundraising can provide a big pay off for schools that do it right. For instance, a handful of schools in Toronto, Ontario, raised over $300 per student last year – more than 30 times what many other schools raised.
When it comes to schools in regions or districts with more limited resources, however, fundraising has become a vital part of the education landscape to ensure students can have the advantages and benefits enjoyed by kids in communities with better access and support.
According to data collected from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation and the Adopt a School Program, current school budgets only allow for one new library book a year for every three children in many economically disadvantaged communities in Canada.
In fact, teachers are spending more than $200 million of their own money each year on books and resources, an average of about $453 in individual out-of-pocket costs.
As a result of these shortfalls, education fundraising has become big business in Canada and North America. National numbers are sketchy, but in Ontario alone, schools fundraised more than half a billion dollars in a single school year, according to Ontario-based non-profit People for Education (PFE). Keep in mind that the half-billion-dollar figure includes more traditional fundraising as well as income from sources like school fees, vending machines, and corporate sponsorships.
Remarkably, one Ontario school alone managed to raise a whopping $400,000.
School groups in the United States raised more than $1.5 billion every year selling various products for educational needs.
A recent PFE survey focusing exclusively on elementary schools found that 52 percent of reported fundraising goes toward essentials such as textbooks, classroom supplies, and computers.
Fundraisers – a parent’s second (or third) job!
Fundraising activities range broadly and can be very creative. Everything from old standbys like pizza lunches, bake sales, chocolate-covered-almond and wrapping-paper drives to big-ticket money-makers such as theatre nights, black-tie galas, and “direct-ask” donation campaigns.
And this is on top of additional community fundraisers. “Every direction they turn, parents are saturated with fundraising,” says Naomi Kruse, administrative officer with the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils, and mother two. “It can sap a parent, not only financially but also physically and emotionally.”
With all the work that volunteers put in versus the amount reaped, John Puddifoot, the chair of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) at Queen Mary Elementary School in Vancouver, says that they would get more monetary benefit if parents simply found part-time jobs and contributed that salary to the school. Crazy!
While we can’t do anything about the need to fundraise for your school. And we can’t take away the reasons your school needs to fundraise – we can help make your fundraising easier! Fundables can help take the time, labour, and stress out of some of your fundraising efforts.