The Benefits of Holding A School Fundraiser

According to Education Resource Strategies (ERS) in their publication “The Cost of Covid,” there are three important issues facing education today. Costs are rising, revenue is declining and students have more needs than before. Covid-19 and its aftermath have exposed critical underfunding in some areas of our educational system. Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs) are trying to do more with less and provide for a greater range of needs than in the past. Fundraising has become even more important for schools financially


In a 2022 survey, found that only 34% of schools surveyed were debt-free. This survey shows that 28% of schools are carrying between $1-$5M in debt, while an additional 25% are carrying more than $5M in debt. Education (which includes libraries, higher education, and K-12 schools) is the second-highest category of giving after religion, coming in at 14%. However, when adjusted for inflation, giving to education fell by almost 3% in 2021. More, and better, fundraising is needed.


Fundraising at the school level goes beyond the finances, however. Good fundraisers strengthen ties between schools, families, and the greater community. Well-run fundraisers provide learning opportunities for students and teach valuable skills that go beyond academic learning. Fundraising can be a source of pride and accomplishment and can establish a positive school culture.



What Do School Fundraisers Do?


School fundraisers can range from a simple donation page on the school website to large events like a dance or school festival. They are mostly organized and run by Parent Teacher Organizations, parents, and community volunteers. The events and activities are sponsored by the school or district and are aimed at bringing up a school’s revenue.


Financial Benefits of a School Fundraiser


First and foremost, school fundraisers are for generating revenue. How this revenue is spent varies from school to school, as each community’s needs are different. 


School fundraising helps pay for after-school activities such as sports, music, acting, cooking, etc. The list is as varied as the communities schools are in. One school helped fund after-school programs in knitting, art, cooking, math, and a Lego club.


Schools constantly need to upgrade their technology and other academic resources and rely on school fundraising to help pay for science equipment, computers, tablets, laptops, and printers. Fundraisers also pay for many school supplies teachers need.


Developing school infrastructure such as building a new gym, classroom, tennis court, playground, and so on benefits from school fundraising. With educational funding at a premium, schools are often left to their own devices to improve infrastructure.


School fundraising enables students to go on school tours and trips. Fundraising helps pay for class trips of all kinds. Bus rentals are expensive and most schools need help to pay for them. One enterprising school fundraised enough to send the girls’ high-school choir group to sing at Carnegie Hall.


raise money with a unique school fundraiser


Sometimes, fundraising is necessary to keep the school open. A robust fundraiser can enable the school to finish the school year. School fundraisers help offset the operational costs of running a school in the event of budget shortfalls.


Community Building with School Fundraisers


Fundraising keeps the school’s pride alive and provides positive branding for the school. Whether fundraising for the school or the community, a successful fundraiser will increase school pride.



Many schools will conduct food drives or clothing drives that benefit the community. This teaches community participation and responsibility. Community values are important and fundraising helps instill them.


A successful fundraiser will nurture relationships within the community that last beyond the initial event, building a network for future activities. Sharing a common goal unites the community and the school.

Educational Benefits of a School Fundraiser


Use school fundraising to encourage creativity. Go beyond having students make school posters. Encourage students to come up with creative ideas for the fundraisers themselves. Have them put together video “ads” for the fundraiser or social media campaigns.


Taking part in fundraising helps students learn to work together in a more real-world situation. Fundraising fosters teamwork and teaches students financial responsibility. They also learn life skills, such as discipline, motivation, and cooperation as well.


Fundraising can inspire confidence. Taking part in a successful fundraiser gives participants confidence and pride. When students are involved in the fundraising process, they gain confidence in their abilities. Students learn how to set realistic, positive goals and when they reach them, their confidence grows.




What Kinds of Fundraisers Are There?


There are three main types of school fundraisers: product-based fundraisers, service-based fundraisers, and event-based fundraisers. Product-based fundraisers involve selling products like candy, wrapping paper, or candles. Service-based fundraisers involve providing a service like wrapping holiday gifts, car washes, or yard work. Event-based fundraisers involve hosting events like a talent show or a fun run.


A very popular event-based fundraiser is a read-a-thon. Students raise money from sponsors by reading books. Students or entire classes get pledges from the community and track their reading in order to earn money for your organization. Read-a-thons are inclusive in that all ages and reading levels can take part. You can easily make accommodations for non-readers to listen to books on audio. Read-A-Fun’s Reading-Raiser software makes organizing a Read-A-Thon simple for just one or two people and gives you 80% of funds raised, directly deposited into your account. Your organization will have access to research-based tools to help you increase participation and donation rates.


How Do I Hold a Successful Fundraiser?


In order to hold a successful fundraiser, you must define your goals and objectives. Are you raising money for a specific cause or item? Identify the target audience and choose the right fundraiser for your needs and theirs. Establish a budget and a timeline for your fundraiser. Make sure you aren’t competing with other big fundraisers that will take away from your efforts. You’ll also need to make sure your fundraiser will have the funds in time for whatever you’re supporting.


Recruit volunteers from parents, teachers, and the community and form a committee to oversee the fundraiser. Some fundraisers take more volunteers, such as a jog-a-thon, than others, like a read-a-thon, which only takes a couple of people to organize.



Promote the fundraiser and engage the community the old-fashioned way with flyers and posters, then bump it up a notch with emails and a website. Provide participants with tools to use social media, such as Instagram and Meta, effectively. 


Make sure your fundraising materials answer the questions of who, what, when, where, and why for your fundraiser. Add the “how” with a fundraiser URL or link to an online order form. Make sure all information is as shareable as possible so that participants can share and promote it on their own social media pages.


Remember to show gratitude. Thank the participants, donors, and volunteers who made it possible. Conduct a wrap-up of your event so that you know what to improve for next time. Publicize results and congratulate top performers. Show the community the tangible results of your fundraiser when it comes to fruition.


What Mistakes Should I Avoid?


Avoid having an unclear message. Saying “we need money for the school” is far less inspiring than “help us build a new play set for the kindergarten!”


Don’t focus on problems instead of solutions. Phrase things positively so that people will feel empowered to donate. Instead of advertising “the water fountains are all broken!” try “let’s replace the gym water fountains!”


Don’t wait until the last minute. You will run out of time. People need to prepare to help out. 


Don’t do the same old thing. If your school is identified with a fun run for the animal sanctuary, that’s one thing. If you do a fun run every year and no one is excited, change it up. Boring won’t raise money.


Especially if it’s a new fundraiser, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Getting fundraising off to a good start takes time and practice. Use multiple streams of revenue for your fundraiser, not just one. For example, if you have a fun run, sell ad space on the flyers you send home, sell tickets, sell treats, and of course, have sponsors for the runners.


Speaking of sponsors. Don’t just rely on parents. Get the entire community, including local businesses, involved. School fundraisers are a way for businesses to give back to the community.



Don’t fail to join the modern era. Make sure you are using a website or Meta page, email, social media, QR codes for quick scanning and donating, donation links, or whatever the digital age has to offer. Incorporating technology into your school fundraiser has lots of benefits.


Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask. While talking about money socially is taboo, fundraising essentially requires it. Be transparent and specific about what you need (we’re trying to raise $50,000 to send the girls to Carnegie Hall, but every $10 helps!). Be prepared for questions – and for the answer to be no. Start with family, friends, neighbors, and community businesses.


Final Thoughts


School fundraisers are a valuable part of the school experience. School fundraisers provide financial support to schools, build community relationships, and offer educational benefits to students. There are various types of fundraisers to choose from, and planning a successful fundraiser requires careful planning and execution. By organizing and hosting a successful fundraiser, schools can achieve their financial and educational goals while strengthening their relationships with the community.


ReadaFun has been running successful online Read-A-Thons since 2012.

We are dedicated to making Read-A-Thon a successful and enjoyable experience for both schools and students. Our user-friendly platform provides the tools and resources needed to streamline the fundraising process, track reading progress, and facilitate secure online donations. With ReadaFun, PTO and PTA leaders can confidently organize a profitable Read-A-Thon that inspires students, empowers literacy, and leaves their community feeling proud and fulfilled. If you are interested in running a successful Read-A-Thon this year, feel free to contact us today! We would be more than happy to guide you through the process.

Download Information Kit

Schedule Consultation