9 Tips to Better Fundraising

Schwans2Schwan’s Cares is a financial sponsor of National PTA, and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

Although fundraising is not at the heart of PTA’s mission, raising money nevertheless is essential to funding all the things you and your PTA want to accomplish in support of that mission. So, how can you and your PTA be more effective at fundraising? Schwan’s Cares offers these 9 simple tips.

Since launching Schwan’s Cares, we’ve had the chance to help many PTAs with their funding needs. Along the way, we’ve learned a few tricks to increase enthusiasm, participation, and, of course, total funds raised.

1. Choose your target audience carefully.

You will need help with fundraising. Choose key people in the school and community to be your lead supporters – your “key fundraisers.” They could be the PTA executive committee members, teachers, school administration, or well-liked community leaders. These are the folks who enthusiastically will get the word out and drive ongoing awareness of your fundraiser to tons of people. The more key fundraisers you can get involved, the more total people you’ll reach and then the more funds you’ll potentially raise!

2. Friendly Competition.

We know…. competition isn’t always something that’s top of mind when it comes to elementary schools, BUT it can be fun and more engaging if your school would consider having classrooms or grades compete for the most money raised. Consider a reward to the winning classroom of a no-homework night, in-class party with a movie and air-popped popcorn, a “smart snack” compliant frozen treat for each student, extra playground time, or even a pie in the principal’s face as another fun idea.

3. Kick Off Event.

Starting out, it can seem overwhelming and defeating to try to convince busy parents, friends and neighbors to help you fundraise. Isn’t everyone fundraising all the time for something in all areas of the community? So why not hold a fun event in the school gym or playground to inform families of what you’re doing? If a big event seems tough, consider carving out a prominent place at the open house, carnival, parent/teacher conferences, etc. to inform supporters of the fundraiser. It’s a perfect place to announce your friendly competition too!

4. Tell a personal, compelling, emotional story.

Many people know schools need funding but also think the funds can come from someone else. Make your fundraising campaign personal by detailing exactly what you’re looking to fund. New playground equipment, iPads for every classroom, smart boards, backpacks, you get the picture. If people can visualize what will be purchased and, just as importantly, how it will improve the learning, enrichment, or social-emotional experience for children as a result, they’ll be much more likely to give and give generously.

5. Choose your medium(s) carefully.

For online fundraising – email and video are king. Nothing tells a story better than video and pictures. So if you can, focus on using video and pictures to craft a personal message asking for support. As a PTA, consider crafting a video for the overall fundraiser (what it’s for, what your goal is, how it will impact the kids) that can easily be used/shared by your individual fundraisers. Then reach out via email or private message (PM) to make the “ask” of everyone you know. Certainly with family members and close acquaintances, you can ask over the phone or when you are with them face to face, too. If you choose to use other mediums; be conscious of word wrapping and character limits on what will show up and not show up. This is especially true of Facebook and Twitter posts.

6. Reach out at the right time and BCC.

The best time to send out your message is when your supporters will most likely be willing and able to consume it. So know your audience, when they have free time, and when you can most likely grab their attention. Please use BCC. Nothing is more impersonal than a laundry list of recipients and people generally are sensitive about their email address being publicized/shared without prior permission.

7. Be persistent.

Don’t give up after one ask. Use your list to keep track of supporters and keep after those who haven’t supported yet. Sometimes it takes a (gentle) nudge to get people to do what you want.

8. Gratitude.

This ties into the point above. It’s a good idea to send messages to the group thanking those who’ve supported your PTA – and asking those who haven’t to please give. Only do this every few days or every week – a daily update just makes you potentially annoying.

9. Close the loop.

This is key to the success of your future fundraiser! Be sure to let people know the impact of their support on you and your school. Share a story after your goal has been attained to make your supporters feel part of your accomplishment and the good it has done. One great way to close the loop is to capture and share a short (1-2 minute) video/photos of the children actively enjoying their new technology, playground, or books and having the children say a happy thank you to the camera.* Then simply send that video to everyone with a little thank you note. Next time you need to raise funds, your previous supporters will be the most likely to contribute again!

* Note: Be very careful to have permission before capturing/sharing any images of students. Not all parents are comfortable with this. Check with your school principal if you aren’t sure how to handle this; there typically is a media release on file (or not) for each student.

Ready to put these tips to work?

Visit schwans-cares.com today to sign up quickly and easily for your PTA for a no-hassle online fundraising campaign.


 About Schwan’s Cares, an official National PTA Member Benefit Provider

Since 1952, Schwan’s Home Delivery has helped families share delicious, home-style meals. We offer home delivery of over 350 foods – all made with premium ingredients and requiring simple prep.

With Schwan’s Cares, your PTA supporters enjoy all our delicious foods, and your organization earns for an entire year. 20% – 40% back on every purchase during your 45-day fundraising campaign, and 5% back on every purchase for the rest of the year. You manage your fundraiser entirely online, your supporters order online or by phone, and we deliver to their door. You’ll never need to deliver food or collect money. It’s a win-win for PTAs to use!


  1. Donald Harvey says:

    “Consider a reward to the winning classroom of a no-homework night, in-class party with a movie and air-popped popcorn, a “smart snack” compliant frozen treat for each student, extra playground time,”

    Wait – do we really want to trade in class time to fundraising rewards like in-class parties and extra recess? And take away homework to boot – all for the purposes of raising revenue??

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