Three Keys to a Successful Fundraiser

PTO Today is a resource and trusted voice to thousands of parent groups in the U.S.  The following column, written by publisher Tim Sullivan, was recently distributed to PTO Today subscribers.


3 Keys to a Successful Fundraiser 

Is your group making its fall fundraising plans right now? Perhaps considering early signing bonuses or cookie dough vs. gift wrap vs. a catalog sale?

It's certainly good to plan early, so let me provide you with three key thoughts to guide your decisions. (If you want to read about these in more detail, check out the link below each section.)

1. Don't mess with a good thing. Have you run a good sale with good profits and excellent customer service the past few years? If so, stick with it. Fundraising isn't about the next new product; it's about results that fund all of your good work. If you have good results, repeat the steps that made you succeed. And be thankful.
Rate Your Fundraiser

2. Do not get caught in the profit percentage trap. It's about how much you make in total and how positive an experience your group, your volunteers, and your parents have. It's easy to increase the profit percentage with too-high prices or lower-quality products or poor service. Don't fall for that. Look for a track record of real success.
Good Fundraising Is More Than Just Profit

3. Fundraise less, but fundraise better. It's preferable on every level to do fewer fundraisers but to execute those you do run more effectively. Eight different "hit the parents up for cash" efforts per year is just way too many. Instead, run two or three or -- maybe -- four, but do a better job marketing and a better job organizing and emphasize your good work more. And then get back to focusing on all that good work with all the time you save.
What I Know About Fundraising

Good luck!


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