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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Raising money during tough times

October 7, 2008

Raising money is hard work, and our PTO's really feeling it. It's a combination of our fall fundraiser not doing as well as we hoped, and our considering postponing the spring fundraiser because of the financial pinch we all feel. It seems like every fundraiser goes back into the pocketbook of our school families. It might be time to take a break.

The money we raise as a PTO is used for important things! Last year we voted to buy books for our bookroom, support our publishing house, purchase some technology, fund an amazing songwriting project and more. There's nothing on the list that doesn't enrich our kids experience at school.

So, what's a PTO to do to raise money? One thing we're doing is beefing up our redemption programs. These are the programs offered by grocery stores and other retailers. By sending something in, or linking your bonus card, some percentage of your purchase goes back to your designated school.

For example, with very little effort, our participation in the Box Top program brought in over $1,300 last year and almost $6,000 since 2002. Our grocery store offers its own program. At Giant, points accrue with each purchase that uses the Giant Card. At the end of each month, these points determine your school's cash total and that $$ amount is automatically credited to the school's account. Other grocery stores offer similar types of programs.

Redemption programs won't be able to replace our major fundraisers, and one can argue that some credit-card based programs encourage the wrong kind of spending, but I think the grocery programs are a start. We're all already grocery shopping, why not reap some benefit from that?

In this economic climate, what fundraising efforts are working at your school?

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"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book." —

J.K. Rowling