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How to find the right school fundraiser for you
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The school year is in full swing, and parents of school-aged kids have no doubt been involved in at least one fundraiser already. Fundraisers help schools raise money for supplies or special activities that may not have been included in the budgets established by the local school district.

Parent participation is essential for school fundraisers to be successful. Though requests to join in a school’s fundraising efforts can be overwhelming at times, rather than avoiding fundraisers completely, parents should research the fundraisers to determine which fundraising efforts best suit their schedules and interests.

Parent-teacher organizations or the fundraising committees are great sources of information for inquisitive parents. Such groups may already have a schedule of fundraisers that you can peruse to find a match. If a fundraiser seems particularly attractive, you can mark your calendar to participate.

Attend PTA meetings to learn how fundraising dollars are being spent. This can make it easier to find a fundraising activity to support, as you are more likely to participate in activities when you know just where the fruits of your labors will be going once the event has come and gone.

It’s also important for parents to understand the rate of return on fundraisers. Schools and other organizations receive a percentage of return on a fundraiser. It may be 50 percent, less or more. Aim to participate in fundraisers that provide schools with the best return on their investments. Purchasing a T-shirt for $15, $10 of which will go directly to the school, is more effective than participating in several fundraisers that only offer marginal returns.

Another way to ensure your participation will yield results is to choose fundraisers that are being operated in conjunction with companies that have a long-standing record of success. When choosing a school fundraiser to pitch in with, ask the school if its efforts are being made in conjunction with a local business. If so, ask about the school’s track record with this particular business. If the results are good, you might feel better about offering your help.

Don’t be afraid to offer your opinions if you feel a fundraiser is not being run as efficiently or smoothly as you think it could be. Speak up at a PTA meeting or volunteer your services to a committee. Other volunteers may just need a push in a new direction or some fresh ideas to make fundraising efforts more effective.

Schools often offset miscellaneous costs by soliciting communities and parents of their students for assistance through fundraisers. People can select the fundraisers that interest them and offer the best return on investment to the school.