How Many Fundraisers Should Your Group Run This Year?

By Tim Sullivan, PTO Today

The following message from Tim Sullivan, founder of PTO Today, was sent electronically to 50,000 opt-in email subscribers.

We get this question a lot, and my answer is, probably fewer than you typically run.  For my full explanation, you can check out my column ''The Fundraising Myth''. But three key factors make the case for running fewer fundraisers (but running your remaining fundraisers better):

First, groups that fundraise less (but better) actually make more money from their fundraisers in the long run. Parents who are connected and served by a group that isn't all about fundraising typically open their wallets wider when it is time to support the group.

Secondly, volunteers and their volunteer time are precious. If you're having trouble recruiting help, it could be because so many of your jobs are and so much of your focus is around fundraising. Volunteers aren't clamoring to hit up their friends for cash.

Finally, your parents will appreciate your group more if you carefully choose a few great-fit options and run those few very, very well. Better promotion, better prizes, better products and prices. Asking parents to support two or three really well-run fundraisers is way better than reaching into parents' pockets every month for nine straight months.

We don't exist to fundraise. We fundraise (hopefully well) to support the great work that we do in schools and for kids. Make this the year your group decides to get a bit smarter about how often you ask parents for dollars.


Tim Sullivan is the founder of PTO Today. To get more insight and ideas from Tim, visit our message boards or follow him on Twitter at