How to Choose the Right Fundraiser
Part 1: Match Your Group

How to Choose the Right Fundraiser: Match Your Group
How do you know the best fundraiser for your group?
Read this series to learn more.

Every person, group, or organization who does a fundraiser wants it to be successful. One of the most important parts of fundraising success is choosing the right fundraiser.  But how do you do it?

There are many important factors that you should consider if you want to meet or exceed your goals, as you compare the various fundraisers available to you. One of them is the fundraiser you choose must match your group.

What motivates your group members?

Is it about the goal?  Some groups do very well with fundraising simply because the members are motivated to reach the goal. I know one teen right now who is motivated to raise money (and is doing it very successfully), because she wants to go on the trip with the Madrigals choir in which she sings.

Is it about material prizes? One recent elementary child told me that he was going to win a particular prize by reaching a fundraiser goal. He was determined, and he sold with gusto. He didn’t wait for sales to come to him. He went and got them.

Is it about the social scene? Some groups enjoy event fundraisers like car washes, because they enjoy doing the events together.

Get the idea? Figure out what motivates your group and then focus on fundraisers that fit that motivation.

Will your members support your choice?

I know of a small school in East Tennessee that “missed out” on raising an easy $1000 a few years ago. There was a fruit fundraiser available to them. If each family in the school purchased just one box of fruit, they would easily have made $1000 for the school and had some awesome citrus too!

I spoke with the parent in charge of fundraising and learned there was a reason that the school passed on the opportunity.  The parents and students never did well selling products for fundraisers. They simply didn’t want to sell (other than a school coupon book that everyone wanted). They focused on fundraisers that did not involve selling. They wisely passed on what seemed like it would be an easy fundraiser, because the fundraiser coordinator knew her group.

Is the fundraiser appropriate for your group?

In elementary school (forty years ago) I had grand ideas about winning great prizes by selling the most spice grinders. However, I remember thinking, “Why does anyone need these?” Though I wanted to win the prize, I think I only sold 2 grinders, because I didn’t understand how to sell them.

Be sure that your fundraiser fits the majority of your group members. For example, groups with younger children shouldn’t sell large items or products they don’t understand. Everyone loves cookies and kids understand that easily.

Go with what you know

Bands and FFA groups are known for selling fruit, and they typically do well.  Elementary schools do well with cookie dough and Christmas shops. If you have a track record doing a particular fundraiser, and you’ve done well with it in the past, that just might be perfect for you. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”


We would like to know what works for you. Tell us in the comments below about what fundraisers you have done and whether or not they worked. What works best for your group?