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It’s School Fundraiser Season. Here are 6 Tips Single Parents can Use to Help Rack Up Sales

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School fundraisers have long been a great way for teachers and classrooms to raise the money they need for whatever the curriculum doesn’t account for. I grew up in an age when you couldn’t play football unless you sold enough candy bars to afford your uniform. Fifty cent candy bars were hot commodity among aunts, uncles and grandparents!

As sure as December turns into January, my daughter’s school carries on the fundraising tradition. She’s been able to experience some really cool things on the back of successful class fundraising. Pizzas have sent her to the performing arts center for a show. Chocolates paved the way for a classroom smartboard. I think one year we even sold wrapping paper!

If your child is bringing home a fundraising catalog, you know the drill: Find as many people as you can and start filling in those order lines! Here are a few tips to help you out, without having to resort to guilt trips, begging or bribery:

  1. Take it to the office. Food fundraisers especially go like hotcakes in an office break room. People are always willing to throw a few bucks toward candies, popcorn and cookies, and they’ll be more inclined to if it helps your kid’s class out. Just make sure you’re not treading on someone else’s turf!
  2. Circulate among the relatives. Through the magic of smartphones and digital scanners, you can send the fundraising catalog to far-off family members who are always ready to help a niece, nephew or grandchild. Best of all, there’s no local competition!
  3. Split the difference. Single parents have a distinct advantage—they only need to carry half the weight! Copy the catalog and give it to your ex. Both of you can take it to work, circulate it to friends and family, and hit up neighbors for orders. There’s less pressure on everyone when two people are doing the work.
  4. Think of the presents. Depending on the fundraiser, you can always buy a few boxes of candy, cookies or chocolates yourself. Don’t worry, it’s not cheating! Fundraiser items actually make great gifts of acquaintances, like the secret Santa at the office, your mailman or your neighbor. You buy them, but ultimately, they’re gifts.
  5. Find the college kids. Fundraiser items are popular among college kids for two reasons. First, they’re usually tasty treats. Second, they’re usually inexpensive. If you’ve got a friend with a college-age kid or have a relative attending university, send them in catalog in-hand! Just make sure you coordinate the deliveries.
  6. Door to door. “It builds character!” That’s what my dad always used to say when we’d hock candy bars door to door in the neighborhood so I could pay for my football equipment. It wasn’t my first choice, but it did yield results. I sold more candy bars to my neighbors than anyone else. If your fundraiser has product upfront, door to door is a good way to unload it.

Just remember, school fundraisers go to a good cause. Whether it’s an interesting field trip or something to help out the classroom, it’s worth it to become a salesman for a week or two each year. Happy selling! Hopefully your fundraiser is one of the fun ones, like cookies or candy. For those of you hocking candles, good luck!


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