Not all kids love fundraisers. Many of them – especially kids whose families that can't afford to buy candles and magazines – actually dread them. Incentives like prizes and pizza parties for top sellers boost fundraiser numbers, but leave less privileged kids out in the cold. Can you hold a successful fundraiser without excluding these kids? Absolutely! Try these 5 alternatives that get everyone involved:

  1. Offer classroom incentives instead of individual prizes. When whole classrooms compete, individual kids don't get left out. A school-wide goal might also work, especially for schools with a lot of spirit. Check with sponsors and choose one that will work with you to find the right type of incentive.
  2. Make participation possible for every student. Through no fault of their own, some students just won't be able to add to your sales total. But participation can be as simple as asking everyone in the class to take a fundraiser notice home and bring it back with a parent signature. Additionally, you can offer kids and their parents volunteer opportunities to earn prizes and take part in the process. Fundraisers take so much manpower that it's definitely a fair trade.
  3. Run other contests throughout the year like art shows, story contests, and athletic events. As long as there are plenty of other ways to earn recognition and prizes, fundraisers don't have to be a big deal.
  4. Avoid expensive catalog sales and stick to fundraisers everyone can contribute to, like car or dog washes and craft sales. As an added bonus, you won't have to split your profits with the catalog company. No one really wants overpriced wrapping paper or candles anyway.
  5. Ask for a straight donation from parents in exchange for not holding any fundraisers throughout the year. Many parents are so fed up with fundraisers that they would rather make a $25 donation once a year, 100% of which will go to the school.

Fundraisers shouldn't be about rewarding kids whose parents have the most money. Fortunately, there are plenty of creative – and fair – ways to fund school programs. Get started today!