I work at a Dutch company which developed a concept with which elementary schools can make money for their own good. Within 3 years, it’s size trippled and the company is still growing.
This company would like to start helping schools in the UK, but is wondering whether their concept would be appreciated or not, and if the same concept already exists in the United Kingdom. Could you please read the info below, and give me feedback? It would be a great help!
Every elementary school has the wish to improve something in their own building, buy new computers, renovate their playground or support a charity. A fundraiser takes a lot of time and organization, so the company decided to provide the method to raise money for schools. The company developed a concept which works as follows:
1.The idea is that each kid sells packs of postcards (each pack contains 5 postcards, printed with drawings made by children) to friends and family.
2.Each pack costs 3 pounds. For every 5 packs of postcards the children sell, they get a coin which enables them to get a small present out of a grab bag.
3.Out of those 3 pounds, 2 pounds go to the school’s bank-account, and 1 pound goes to the company.
The company provides everything from postcards, promotionposters, grab-bags with presents, to informationletters and boxes to collect the money. Because they operate on a big scale and use low-cost supplies, they are able to ask so little money.
From the total amount of money earned by the school, 10% goes the the Dutch version of the organization ‘Make A Wish’.
The company has proven to be a great help to hundreds of schools each year. Several decided to participate on a yearly base, because they can make a couple of thousand pounds at a time.
Example: If a school has 200 children and each kid sells 5 packs of postcards, the school makes:
5 packs x 2 pounds = 10 pounds
200 kids x 10 pounds = 2000 pounds
The coin-system has proven to really motivate children to sell more postcards. It is not uncommon for them to sell over 20 packs!
I hope the information was clear and not too much. The idea is veryvery simple, I hope I didn’t make it sound complicated!
Thanks in advance for replying!
There are similar ideas about. We have a drawer full of tea towels with children’s self-portraits and hand prints!
That said, schools and their support groups are always on the lookout for new ideas, and this one may have its place.
You’d have to be a little careful with your projections – it’s a racing certainty that some would simply not wish to play, and an average of 5 packs per child would be seriously ambitious in the schools I’ve been involved with. Most schools are already involved in fundraising for themselves and other organisations, and tend to have their own favourite scheme which works with their parents.
So, basically, IMHO, a good idea, but don’t be too optimistic with your projections 🙂
Gerry Beldon FInstF
Director, 26-01 CIC
I’d agree with Gerry that there are a good number of companies that providesfundraising products and services to schools in the UK. I can think, for example, of several schools that raise funds by selling Christmas cards designed by their pupils and which their parents, family etc are encouraged to buy.
Try a quick search on Google for ‘schools fundraising’ and you’ll see some of the Google AdWords advertisers who are promoting these services. They might even now be appearing in the Google ads that usually appear in the right-hand column on this page.
Thanks for the reply! True, I have found many examples of ‘volunteer parent group’ initiatives, but this is different. The idea is that there is no organization for the school whatsoever, the only thing the school needs to do is give the children cards and have them sell those. No buying of supplies, leftover materials, or any other effort.
I have been trying to find companies which offer a similar service in the UK, but without any positive result. Could you name concrete examples? I tried to search through ‘schools fundraising’, but all I got were either American companies, or websites suggesting fundraising-activities.
The idea is that there is no organization for the school whatsoever, the only thing the school needs to do is give the children cards and have them sell those. No buying of supplies, leftover materials, or any other effort.
Hmm, I don’t quite get this. If the cards are to be paid for, then presumably they have a value – you’re talking about administering a ‘sale or return’ type fundraising effort.
If the children are taking cards home for sale but the school is not tracking who has taken what and asking for unsold cards to be returned, what’s the point of assigning a value to them in the first place? All this could actually be quite time-consuming. A quantity of cards will have to be ordered and paid for up-front – who pays for them if insufficient are sold to cover costs – will your company take the costs or will the school? Storage for unsold/undistributed cards. Etc.
Many of the issues I’ve raised here relate to experience with raffle tickets. Works along the same lines: children given 10 tickets each to sell. What actually happens is that the parents have to sell them at work or to their adult friends – or just pay for them themselves, anything for an easy life. The implied ‘pressure’ is often resented. Any school will tell you that they have issues with getting *necessary* information and cash – permissions/payment for school outings etc – back from home. ‘Optionals’ would be way down the list of a busy parent’s priorities.
I don’t have kids, but friends are always moaning about the amount of cash that they are laying out for schools “extras” (trips, appeals for equipment/books etc, sponsored events on behalf of another charity – teaching the kids social responsibility – etc etc). Nothing to stop you market testing. Local authorities in the UK have ‘schools bags’ which would be able to send an information leaflet/similar to all schools in their area.
Thanks for replying!
Well, that is not quite what I mean. The company knows exactly how many cards are sent to the school: 5 packages for each kid, and per classroom 50 packages extra. Everything sent to the school is counted before distribution, and will be counted again when returned. The school does not pay the company anything until the ‘project’ is over. The company delivers all materials, and collects all the leftover materials, posters, boxes etc. once the school is finished.
It is not possible to sell an ‘insufficient’ amount, the school sells as much as it can and gets to keep 2/3 of the money earned from that.
The kids do not have to sell anything. If parents or friends do not want to buy them, the children can just give the cards back to the school. The company will take them back and use all leftover materials for the next school. Actually this has not often happened, usually all kids sell at least 5 packages without any difficulty.
The idea is to give children the impression they are contributing to the comunity of their school. Eventually, everyone in the school benefits from the money, not only the ones who solds cards.
The issue you mentioned with parents moaning about the extra cash they have to pay for the school, is exactly why something like this was established. Instead of the parents just giving money without anything in return, the school participates in this fundraiser. The school can use the money for whatever wish they have: a trip, new playground, ICT provision, the celebration of an aniversary, you name it. If a parent does not want to buy cards, he/she simply doesn’t have to do it. There are plenty of children who do have a lot of aunts/uncles/grandparents/neighbors willing to spend a couple of pounds on postcards.
I hope the concept is a bit clearer now. If you have any other questions, please ask them, it is in my interrest for the concept to be understandable as possible.
Do you know where I can find more information about these ‘school bags’? Thank you!
I heard about those tea towels, and I found several other organizations providing materials for fundraising. What I am trying to find out, is if the companies offering these materials are similar. The idea with this company is that, by offering standardized products (so no personal prints), the prices can me kept really low. All materials are distributed by the company, and will be picked up by them also.
If parents do not want to buy cards, that is no problem at all. It is not supposed to be a competition-race between kids or classes, it is something everyone can do together to raise money for whatever wish the school has (ICT provisions, playground, aniversary). Everyone will benefit from the money.
5 packages may seem like a lot, but the Netherlands and Belgium have proven otherwise. Most schools earn 2000 euros at a time, even with just 200 children attending the school. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it really works. The reason why those postcards are so popular, is probably because everyone uses postcards anyway for birthdays or whatever other occasion. So why not buy them from you granddaughter or niece?
Ofcourse we are not familiar with British schools, so you are probably right when saying it is ambitious to think 5 packages per child will be sold. It is not so easy to find information about issues as such, because eventhough England is not all that far, it is still a different country and culture.
Thank you very much for replying!
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