Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

How much do schools like to make off of a sales drive?

Asked by JLeslie (47331 points ) March 27th, 2014

When they sell magazines or gift wrap, what type of numbers are the schools looking for in terms of what goes directly to the school from the sales? $10k, $100k? Anyone who knows how that industry works I am interested in learning about it.

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15 Answers

Cupcake's avatar

That must depend on the school, their budget, number of students and their socio-economic status.

In my son’s school (in a poor, urban school district) they raise money to help the kids afford to participate in school activities and trips (prom, senior trip, band trip, etc)... so the goal is that the kids can afford to participate. Some fundraisers only bring in a few hundred dollars because there is not a large base of parents/others who can put extra money into fundraising. I am aware that this is vastly different than private/suburban school fundraising and likely does not answer your question.

I think when my kid went to private school, parents were expected to raise around $1000 per year through fundraiser participation. It’s been many years, though… so I’m not sure about the amount. The school happily accepted volunteer hours in lieu of fundraising dollars for the poorer families.

The profit margins range from 20–50%, depending on what is being sold.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Schools and other non-profits raise $1.7 billion each year by selling popular consumer items. There are decent links to some stats below on this wiki page

•The average product fundraiser generates more than $2,500 for schools and non-profits; programs that yield $10,000 or more are very common. From one of the links on wiki

I think to fully look into this area, besides considering the profits, you’d also need to consider the incentives given to each school/student selling various fundraising products.

Just one company’s incentive program.

As I understood it when I was in school, the profit margin varied depending on the dollar amount of products sold, thus the desire to put incentive programs in place to encourage higher sale dollars.

Seek's avatar

My son’s elementary school (before I pulled him) just sent around letters saying “Look, we know you don’t want to buy crap or hustle your family for money, so if each child’s parent donates $25, we’ll triple the money we’d have made anyway, and all of the donations would go directly to the school, instead of some warehouse in China.”

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I like that approach. It is honest and results in a lot less wasted time that kids and parents can use to spend time together.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone.

I had an idea for a school fundraiser and when I do the math in my head it seems like it could be very profitable as a business and for the school and something I think parent’s would be totally fine with, except that they still have to bother to do some paperwork or someone does, rather than the simple act of just writing a check or giving cash directly to the school.

@Seek_Kolinahr I really like that approach also. Was it successful? Did they get their money?

zenvelo's avatar

My kids used to sell gift wrap. They usually sold about $100 each. They seemed to be pretty average.

So that means the total sales for a school of 475 was about $4,750. Of that, the school got 50%.

But the Parent Faculty Club suggested an annual contribution of $285 per student. The gift wrap sales were for social and gifts; the PFC contributions paid for classroom extras and aides.

And, there was an annual fundraiser auction and dinner that used to bring in about $100,000. That was for part time teachers.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I’m assuming that was a private school?

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know. The PTA was really cliquey and snobbish, so I never went to a second meeting.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie No, it’s a public school in California.

jca's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: I like that approach too. I refuse to sell crap to coworkers but yet I don’t want to hand cash to the fund raiser leaders for them to get credit on my cash, either. I like the idea of just a small, affordable donation quick, simple.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Would you “sell” it to coworkers if it wasn’t crap?

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: No. I have not sold Girl Scout cookies – I buy them and give them out to friends and family. They’re not crap – they’re actually very popular. When my daughter was in pre-school, I think I did do a little “passing of the sales form” at work but I worked in a place where everyone did it. I only did it to close friends, maybe 3 people. I hate having someone hand me a sales form and feeling like I’m obligated. It’s awkward. So if it wasn’t crap, I would probably pay for the stuff myself and give it as holiday presents or something.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca That’s what I figured. I feel similarly to you. There might be a few exceptions, but they would be rare exceptions. With girlscout cookies if someone at work let coworker’s know their daughter sells the cookies if anyone is interested, and basically was just telling the whole office in a general way worded so it isn’t pushing the cookies, but rather providing the cookies, then I think that can go over ok and people don’t feel obligated. Still, at work I think it is better not to do any of that sort of thing. If I owned a business I might make a policy not to do any of it on company time.

The idea I have, which I am not sharing right now, would mostly be targeted at the parents themselves, and should raise a decent amount of money without having to hit up family, friends, or coworkers. Some parent’s might choose to sell it to friends and family also, but that would not be the push.

gailcalled's avatar

At the school I was affiliated with, we usually did not sell things but offered services. Most of the student fund-raisers were to augment monies for trips…the choir went to Russia, the ninth grade went to DC., the lower school built and planted a memorial garden for a student who had died of cancer.

They provided gardening, dog walking, car washing, catering and serving at parties and any other chore a parent wanted done. The kids provided the sweat equity and kept all the proceeds.

Occasionally there was a bake sale, but they were home-made; buyers wrestled each other for the brownies or chocolate chip cookies.

I had 14 eleventh graders do some weeding for me; they all (and the faculty adviser who was helping) came down with poison ivy. One of the parents was a doctor and provided free cortisone shots.

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