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How to make good use of social media as a tool for fund raising: a guide for non-profits and schools

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Fundraising nowadays depends on relationships and not just having a good cause to promote. There are many reasons that ginger us to donate: repayment, religious philosophies, community affiliation, and altruism or even social recognition. Whatever our reasons may be for donating, everything boils down to one basic precept: we donate because someone we know, respect or like asked us to. Equally, the size of the donation is normally related to how intimate the relationship is between the one giving and the one taking.

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Every year, hundreds if not thousands of non-profit organizations shut their doors. Why? Most non-profit organizations have big dreams, big missions, big visions, and huge projects to undertake. Only a few of these organizations survive because they get to have access to funds both in the right quantity and at the right time. It is not like those that survive are the ones that have the best mission or vision statements. They are those with the right connections and networks. How do you survive this kind of competition as a non-profit or school who needs funds?

This is exactly where social media comes into the whole picture to help.

Social media platforms like micro-blogging (twitter), blogging (wordpress/blogger), and general social media platforms including Facebook, Google plus, and Instagram are good in crafting a good fundraising network that will help give you the right amount of funds at the right time. Social media has the ability of creating accessible communication pathways, cultivating and growing relationships, accessible to larger groups of people, and can easily be updated to making sure that content is always fresh.

There are two key things that tools or platforms like wordpress, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram do. One; they give non-profits the opportunity to cultivate new connections and networks as well as build relationships more than these non-profits could do under normal circumstances and Two: they give these non-profits the opportunity and the gateway to steward pre-existing networks and relationships.

The following are some tips that can help you build your fundraising successfully through social media by cultivating, building, and keeping networks.

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  • Try as much as possible to always link to big picture issues and look at the larger organizational picture. Promoting this on social media will give you an upper hand in raising funds.
  • Be factual and exhibit technical accuracy when conveying information through social media. This is what will help you build trust and create everlasting relationships.
  • Use visuals and language to create cool and emotional messages that will touch both existing and potential donors and networks to take action.
  • Try to craft very powerful and engaging stories.
  • Avoid using guilt when putting your messages across. Thus, try as much as possible to project optimism.
  • Make sure that you celebrate and praise people when they take small steps towards your cause.
  • Make sure that you create a larger sense of community feeling and connections through your social media by using inclusive language.

These are the following ways you can make good use of social media for fundraising for your school or non-profit.

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The Non-Profit Ultimate Guide On Using Crowd Funding Platforms To Raise Funds

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One of most impressive and innovative advances in online fundraising over the past few years has been the fast increase in crowd funding websites. Previously, crowd funding was meant for entrepreneurs and start-ups. However, a trend that has risen for some years now is the use of crowd funding sites to raise money for non-profits or schools. The practice has gained grounds and is flourishing, especially in the United States.

 

Nowadays, there are a lot of these crowd funding sites set up purposely to help raise funds for non-profits or schools. Though some of these websites are set up for business purposes, most of them are now being used to raise money to support non-profit causes. Today, let’s leave the entrepreneurs out of the picture and talk about how we can effectively utilize crowd funding platforms to raise money for our non-profits.

Before you make your final decision to use a crowd funding gateway to raise resources for your non-profit or school, you need to take into consideration certain things if you want to succeed.

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The appearance and feel

Does the fundraising platform looks appealing? Will it entice your potential donors to take action? How can your project be easily and conveniently place your campaign looking at the platform’s customs and constraints? These are the questions you should first ask yourself before venturing into using a crowd funding platform to raise fund.

The ease of accessibility and use

How accessible it is? How easy will it be to set up a fundraising campaign, add, or page? Do you need to have a knowledge of some technical things like HTML before you can campaign on this site? All these should be made clear before choosing the site.

Payment processing and fees

What are the payment methods available for donors on the platform? This should be checked to make sure that donors don’t suffer in the process of giving funds. You should also consider the total cost involved in using this platform. Take a look at how beneficial it would be to use each and every platform so that you don’t spend all the money you get on the fees.

Marketing and social media networking capabilities

You should make sure that the site can use its social media capabilities to market your campaign.Can you set up your own page to market your campaign? These are the things to consider before making your choice on one or two platforms.

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Tips on raising funds from your crowd funding site

  • Create a compelling campaign page: make sure that your campaign page is enticing, emotional, and unique. Try convincing potential donors why your organization needs the funds and why they should donate.
  • Start with your own already existing network. They say charity begins at home, so try to start your campaign by reaching out to the already existing donors, friends, and family you have. They can donate or help you market your campaign.
  • You should try your best to publicize your effort by putting it on the front page of your website and linking everything to all your social media pages. You can also get your local media to publicize it through pitches.

Crowd funding has become a big avenue for raising funds for your non-profit or school and you should consider making good use of it.

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Insider Secrets For A Fast Fund Raising Success For Schools And Educational Institutions

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If you are like other non-profits out there, chances are that you would always need money. In fact, non-profits would always need money to undertake their projects. Funds are constantly being raised but they never come on time to meet project and budget schedules. When these things happen, the best solution is to turn to the following great tips and you will be successful in raising funds for your non-profit or school.

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The demographics of your donors should be considered

According to Giving USA, the largest source of philanthropic giving in the U.S. is individuals. Ensure that the demographics of your already existing donors and their database. Things like their age, gender, and educational level should be considered. Through this database, you can craft a plan to meet new donors who have the same demographic information and reach them with your message.

Try to identify individuals and corporations that have donated towards similar cause

As you organize your campaign to get funds for your school or non-profit, you should do a little research and find out about organizations that have given towards similar cause. What this means is that they are likely to give towards your event if they are geared towards certain campaigns. For instance, there are companies that donate towards environmental issues only. This way, if your campaign is geared towards an eco-friendly campaign, then you are sure of grabbing the attention of such organization.

Explore the possibilities of partnerships

One way of raising funds for your school or non-profit is to create partnerships and collaborations with other non-profits who might be in the cause as you are. It is an effective way of bringing campaigns and strategies together in order to get more donors for a particular cause. Though it might not be easy making other organisations understand your intent, but you can try to convince them of how your campaign would be both beneficial to you and them in carrying out their policies.Try to articulate to them how their workload would be drastically reduced and how they can increase their fundraising opportunities by participating in the collaboration.

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Establish and create credibility for your online presence

Does your organization have a social media page or a website? If so, then it is a good chance for you in establishing your online presence and marketing your campaign altogether. Potential donors, in order to identify the legitimacy of an organization, they first do an online search to find out the activities of the organization. This gives them a first-hand view of what the organization is about and whether they should support the cause or not. You can access your community college students who can build you a good online presence. This is normally useful, especially if you are short on budget.

These are tips that should help you have a successful fundraising event for a school or a non-profit making organization. Make sure to put these into practice and get better results.

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Tips On How To Effectively Organize A Non-Profit Fund Raising Event

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Fundraising events are an important aspect of almost every non-profit’s financing program. Small-sized events have been a staple of non-profit organisations for years. However, organizing these events is not as easy as you think. They can become cumbersome and possibly risky. A well organized and successful event depends, to a large extent, on having the know-how and skills on how to work things out and equally having the appropriate resources to plan, manage and organize things together. Let’s look at how you can organize a successful fundraising event.

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Your purpose

This should be your driving force in organizing a fundraising event be it a big or small one. You should be able to define your reason for organizing the event. Is it to only raise funds? Is it to raise funds and create awareness for a future project at the same time? These are the guiding principles that should form your objectives for undertaking any fundraising event.

These are also the justification for all people and organisations attending. Thus, why should the organisations or people you’ve invited attend the event? What is in it for them and for you? What is their stake? How unique is your event? Having a clear cut purpose will ensure that your objectives, both long-term and short-term are rightly communicated.

The cost of your event

In fact, there is no free event just as there is no free lunch anywhere. Make sure that attendees pay for a number of things, thus through donating. Things like sound systems, venue rental costs, dishes, tables and chairs, liability insurance as well as food. You are bound to have additional costs including photography, printed programs, postages, advertising, and sometimes, performers who would lead the program. However, some of these things might depend on the kind of event (midsize, small, or large event) that you will be holding. Not all events will surely costs the same. There are different costs for different purposes and you should do your homework to know where you stand.

Try getting sponsors

For events, harbouring the costs alone is so not easy at all. That is why it is sometimes a good idea to get sponsors who would pay for part of the cost. These sponsors would, however, require something in return, for example advertising their products or services during the campaign.

If you want to have a successful planned event, make sure to apply the tips above and you will have an event bringing in money.

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Responsibilities and logistics

No matter how small your fundraising event is, nothing will ever happen if responsibilities are not spelt out clearly. How visitors will arrive, where they will park, where they will site, who will take up the fundraising campaign etc. should all be considered. To see the picture clearly, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a normal person who is attending the fundraising event and make sure that you clearly define who will take responsibility for all of that: organizing, helping people park, helping them sit etc. these are the things that make people calm and focus on your fundraising event.

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How To Draft A Fundraising Letter That Converts Readers To Donors

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The internet, social media, and e-mail have come to take over fundraising letters. That is what you might have heard all the while. However, in truth, annual appeal letters and direct mail fundraising still works and they are still behind the millions of dollars that are generated annually by non-profit organizations and schools throughout the world. Today, let’s have a look at some important factors that go into the writing of an engaging and successful fundraising letter.

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Write email letters for your potential donors and not your school teacher

Writing a fundraising letter is not like the usual class essay that you write. Successful fundraising letters are written in conversational tones that are easily understood by the vast majority of potential donors. It should be able to engage readers to take action. Avoid acronyms or high-brow languages. A fundraising letter should be simple and should be written in basic language for the sixth grade student to understand. After all, what matters is not the language, it is the network, connections, and actions that the letter would create and making it simple is the ultimate way of ensuring that.

If your letter becomes lengthy, let it be

Don’t make sacrificial decisions by thinking about how long your letter should be. Don’t make a hard rule that your letters are going to be 3 pages or 4 pages or even one page. Take all the necessary page you would need in writing the letter. At the end of the work, the most important thing is how the letter conveys your message. Do not try to squeeze your message into a small paper just because you think letters should be short. No matter the number of pages, just make sure that whatever you communicate across is simple and easy to understand by the reader.

If it will take up to 10 pages to craft a comprehensive message, do it. If, however, you could still convey the same message in a less number of pages like 3 or 4 pages, then go for the smaller page size letter. Some readers are fun of getting mad at long letters and if you can make a long message short with the same meaning, why not?

For the best part, always try to convey your message in a simple and easy manner that is understood by your readers. That requires the use of less number of pages to convey your message.

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Make sure that your message appeals to the emotions of your reader

Remember that your fundraising letter is not going to be read by robots, but by humans. Make sure that you appeal to the reader’s emotions by taking into consideration their religion, their beliefs and worldview about humanity, their sense of justice and fairness to themselves and society, and their hope for a better future for the younger generation.

The ultimate thing to know is that people donate the more when they are touched or their emotions are aroused. If you want to appeal to your readers, then you need to put yourself in their shoes. This will help you craft an engaging fundraising letter that will convert readers to donors.

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Box Tops for Education: What you should know

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If you have purchased anything commercially packaged in the past few years, without a doubt you have purchased something that had the Box Tops for Education logo on them. You may have glanced over it without really knowing what you are looking at, but there is actual value to the box tops beyond looking kind of catchy on the top of the cardboard boxes.

For parents, it is important to help support your child’s education in any way that you can. Sometimes that includes participating in fundraising. Box Tops for Education is an easy way to participate without having to take up too much of your time.

What is the program?

Basically with the Box Tops for Education program you look for the logo on the top of certain packaged boxes. There are so many different participating products, I could not list them all, but here is an abbreviated list to give you an idea:

  • Annie’s® Baking Mixes
  • Bisquick™
  • Fiber One™ Mixes
  • Reynolds® Parchment Paper
  • Reynolds® Bakeware Pans
  • Reynolds® StayBrite® Baking Cups
  • Cascadian Farm™ Cereal
  • Cascadian Farm™ Farm Stand Harvest Cherry, Almond and Quinoa Granola
  • Cascadian Farm™ Farm Stand Harvest Honey, Almond and Chia Granola
  • Cascadian Farm™ Farm Stand Harvest Vanilla, Coconut and Pumpkin Seed Granola
  • Cascadian Farm™ Protein Granola
  • Cheerios™ Cereal
  • Chex™ Cereal
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch™ Cereal
  • Cocoa Puffs™ Cereal
  • Finish® Dishwashing Detergent
  • Lysol® Bathroom Cleaners
  • Lysol® Disinfecting Spray
  • Lysol® Disinfecting Wipes
  • Chex Mix
  • Fiber One Fruit Snacks
  • Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • Mott’s Juice
  • Annie’s Snack Mix
  • Larabar Renola Grain Free Granola
  • Ocean Spray Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • And so many more… The complete list is here http://www.boxtops4education.com/earn/participating-products.

How to Participate

If you are looking to participate in the fundraising program of Box Tops for Education, all you need to do is purchase the participating products and cut out the box top. You need to be sure that you are cutting the box top off cleanly and inside of the lines in order for the Box Top code to be legible and count. Then you would sent the Box Tops with your child or someone’s child for them to deliver to the school. It is then up to the school to submit them in order to collect the money for them.

How much are they worth?

Most Box Tops are worth ten cents per Box Top, though some of them are worth more than others. You need to look well at the box to ensure that it is not one of the ones that is worth double. A school can collect Box Tops for up to $20,000 each year. You can do an awful lot with $20,000, so it is definitely worth the time that it takes to cut out the Box Top before you throw away the product’s packaging.

Things to Remember

Box Tops definitely expire so you need to be sure that the Box Tops are current before going through the effort of cutting them out to begin with. You should also double check that your child’s school is actually participating in the program. If they are not, perhaps there is another local school participating so your work is not completely in vain. Also remember you do not really need to go out of your way in order to purchase a bunch of really specific products to get the Box Tops. A Box Top is only ten cents so it should be something you would have purchased anyway. And they are on so many different types of products nowadays that you do not have to do anything extreme or crazy in order to find some that can work.

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7 Facts about the Educational Foundation of America

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Established in 1959, the Educational Foundation of America has been working toward improving aspects of education throughout the Unites States. Foundations like the EFA are all labors of love, because their goal is not to bring in money, like a capitalist system, but instead are dedicated to the improvement of the education in the United States. As the media likes to continually show us, America’s education system is getting behind the rest of the world, putting our reputation as a first world country and the greatest country in the world, at stake.

Here are a few facts about the Educational Foundation of America to help you better understand what is so great about them.

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  1. There are three major grant focuses of the EFA. Their areas include the arts, the environment, and reproductive health and justice. The EFA has met controversy in the past because of its encouragement of healthy sexual education for children as well as keeping abortion and reproductive rights available to those who need them.
  2. The foundations will not accept any unsolicited letters of inquiry or any unsolicited proposals. What this means is that a single person cannot just write to the EFA and expect that they will gain a profit from it. You have to go through the proper channels and systems in order to request money from the EFA.
  3. The foundation was created by husband and wife team Richard Prentice Ettinger and Elise P. Ettinger. Mr. Ettinger became a professor at New York University when he was 18, since he already had obtained his law degree, but was too young to take the New York bar exam. It was during his time as professor that he realized the lack of teaching materials that were accessible and adequate, resulting in his creation of an educational publishing house as well as writing a textbook on creditors’ rights.
  4. Even after Mr. Ettinger passed away in 1996, his family kept the initial vision of the school alive and going, promoting more effective teaching methods got higher education. The original idea of supplying educators with the tools that they need in order to effectively educate their students still exists today, but has been expanded to include other important educational areas as well.

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  1. Their passion for reproductive rights was started by Mrs. Elaine P. Hapgood after she attended an International Planned Parenthood Foundation Conference. There, she learned about the population concerns that face many other places in the world. It was after this that Mrs. Hapgood dedicated her life to providing reproductive health services to both men and women without discrimination.
  2. The EFA is part of the Divest-Invest Initiative. The Divest-Invest Initiative is a group of foundations that made a pledge to divest their endowments from fossil fuels. The environment was another passion of Mrs. Hapgood’s and, following in her footsteps, the EFA has remained dedicated to any steps that they can take to help improve the environment as well as the education on how to improve the environment.
  3. The EFA is focused in not supporting companies that contribute to anything that the EFA is trying to get rid of. This means that they will continue in their pledge to protect the environment while supporting the arts as well as ensuring that youth have safe access to reproductive health services, as they should be. It is tricky to keep track of all of the secret lobbyists who may be supporting something you do not agree with on the side, so this means that perhaps it takes a great while for them to approve grant funding of anything since they have be careful about what they are supporting.

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7 Things to Know about the American Education System

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As we have seen all of the political dirty mudslinging as  of late, the question of the education system in America always comes up for air again. In that, there has been shouted that there is a crisis in the system. Between the Common Core controversies, teachers being paid below the livable wage, and schools slashing funding left and right, it does seem that there is a crisis happening in the public school systems in the United States.

But what is the truth on the topic? Here are seven facts on the truth about the American education system to let you decide for yourself.

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  1. The education assessment is mostly based on the graduation rate of students as opposed to overall performance. That means that C students are getting lumped together with the Valedictorians, because they all graduated. The statistic on graduation gets more depressing when we look at it from the perspective on race issues. In 2012, African American students only had a 69% graduation rate, while Latinos had a 73% graduation rate. Asians were the highest at 88% with Caucasian students sitting at 86%. Overall though, we should be doing better.
  2. In the early 1980s, the United States was considered the world leader on education, with our high school diplomas being worth more than any other country in the world. By today’s standards, we are currently sitting at 36th most valuable, having fallen terribly behind.
  3. It has been shown that the vast majority (97%) of low-income students need to use the school’s internet access in order to have any access to the internet at all. While this may not seem that bad, keep in mind that not all schools have internet access. There are 40 million students without high-speed internet in their schools, which means if there are any low-income students among them, which there likely is, those students will not have access to the internet at all. While you could think that the internet is a luxury, the truth is that we as a society have become so reliant on it that we need it to function at both school and work in order to be successful. Low-income students on the whole are at a disadvantage anyway, and adding in this to the mix cannot be a good helping hand to get them out of their current situation.

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  1. There were approximately 1.3 million high school dropouts in 2010, which is the annual average for how many students do not graduate on time. More food for thought on the matter is that if those 1.3 million students had actually graduated from high school, the United States would have had approximately $337 billion more in income earnings over the course of those students’ lives than they had having not finished high school.
  2. If a third-grade student is capable of reading at the age appropriate level, that student is four times more likely to successfully graduate high school on time than a student who is behind in literacy.
  3. As far as four-year institutions are concerned, only about half of students who start out at a four-year college will graduate in the allotted four-years.
  4. Teachers are often assessed based on the testing abilities of their students. But taking this into consideration, about 14% of teachers will quit after they have only taught for one year. 33% of teachers will leave within their first three years teaching and half will leave within the first five years of teaching. It is hard to think that the two concepts are actually separate from each other, but there are obviously other contributing factors to this as well.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Education in the USA

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We have been hailed as the greatest country in the world. Ok, perhaps sometime we are hailing ourselves that way, but regardless, you cannot disagree on the point that we are an excellent world power. The United States has its hand in so many different economies and countries around the world, that it still maintains its reputation of being a world power with ease.

But even if we are one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world, what does our education system look like by comparison? With memes floating all over Facebook about how Scandinavian education is superior, we need to look at our own system outside of the internet. Let’s just look at the hard facts of the education system in order to make a fair and appropriate assessment.

Our Literacy Rates are Excellent

Say what you want about the failures of the American education system, but you cannot argue that our literacy rates are not spectacular. We have a 99% literacy rate so when you factor in the people who cognitively cannot learn to read, you are left with a small population of people who were failed by either the education system or perhaps child development services. Really, that is an incredibly small amount of people.

Literacy should not be taken for granted either. Reading is an integral part of our lives. You need to read in order to take a subway, read a map, order food, read what you buy in the grocery store, follow road signs, and even just exist as a citizen. It is also fairly impossible to work in this country without being literate. Even the most hands-on jobs require the ability to read and understand things, even if it is at a rudimentary level.

There are Three Acceptable Forms of Education

The vast majority of children in the United States attend public schools (87%), but there are also private schools and home schooling. Private schools make up for about 10% of the education system. The least amount of children are home schools. As long as the programs are accredited, it is acceptable.

Public schools are what are funded by the state governments. The teachers, staff, building maintenance, and more are all paid for by the government, the curriculum is built by the government, and the school system is monitored by the government. They create standards of learning that some perceive as controversial that they expect the basic public school to be able to meet. Private schools create their own curriculum, but are still expected to be able to match certain administrative requirements in order to be considered an acceptable type of school. Home schooling receives the most criticism among parenting groups because it is the parent acting as the teacher instead of an actual teacher. There are programs and expected curriculum that home schooled students are expected to be able to perform. Overall, it seems like most home schooled children do very well academically, but they do miss out on valuable social building opportunities.

The Set Up

The American school system is generally broken down into four educational categories. The first is preschool, which is not required by the government and is entirely optional. There are state-run preschool programs, but most preschools cost money out of pocket for parents.

The standard breakdown of school for minors is elementary school (ages 5 through 12, normally), middle school (ages 12 through 14), and high school (ages 14 through 18). There is some variety as far as the age ranges go depending on birthdate cutoffs, how well the children are performing, and some schools will begin earlier than others. Some middle schools are three or four years instead of two. It depends greatly on where you are and what your school system is like. Most students will graduate at the age of 18, releasing them from the public education system.

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School Fundraising Ideas

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If you are looking into how to raise money for your local schools, the idea can be overwhelming and seem somewhat impossible at times. But do not despair. There are plenty of ways, both big and small, that you can raise money for your local schools. The ideas are endless really, so here are just a small handful to get your juices flowing.

There are a lot of ideas out there, so please do not feel limited by this list.

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  • Art exhibition: Have the students for the schools that you are trying to raise money for complete some art. It can be art of any form really. You could charge an entrance fee for people to get into the exhibition or you could have people purchase the art, will all of the proceeds going back to the schools. Offering food and drinks at an increased price would help bring in some extra money as well.
  • Bake sale: I know this is overdone and may be considered boring. But it gets parents involved and is something the kids can get involved with as well. And honestly, who does not enjoy eating some homemade delicious baked goods?
  • Bingo night: Here you could sell tickets for bingo night and then use some of the money to buy the bingo prizes and pay for food and drinks. Turn it into a fun atmosphere and keep things on the cheap. You will wrack in a lot of money if you can get grandparents involved as well.
  • Color run: Color runs are all the craze right now. You will see friends all over Facebook boasting about their 2K or 5K color runs, where they run through an obstacle course while people chuck color bombs at them. These are usually set up by specialist fundraising companies who can run the thing for you. They will take a cut of your profit, but seriously these things are so hot right now that you should still be able to bring in the donations without much effort at all.
  • Cookbooks: You could create a cookbook specific to the school you are fundraising for and sell it to the parents and community. Recipes could follow a theme related to the school or perhaps could be submissions given by parents and teachers to come up with the collection.

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  • Cookie dough: This is also through another organization, such as fundraising.com, but is also widely successful in bringing in money. It is frozen when it is delivered. If you are familiar with the Girl Scouts, this operates the exact same way. The students will go around collecting orders for the various flavors of cookie dough. Once the orders are in, they will go around and collect them and the money.
  • Knitting or other crafts: Having parents who are able to do crafts create them for a fundraising craft fair could also bring in a lot of money. This is an especially good idea around the holiday season when people will be looking to buy presents for various friends and family members.
  • Recycling: This works really well if you happen to live in one of the states that reimburses you for recycling, such as California or Oregon. You would encourage people to drop off their recyclables to the schools where you could then take them to the bottle returns and get the cash out for it. The fundraising opportunity will definitely require some effort, but it does have the potential for a nice profit if you let it run long enough. This kind of thing you would want to have going at least a month or so to let anyone who wanted to donate have time to get you the recyclables.

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