Success for Certain

Fundraising Ideas
September 6, 2017

No one was raising their hand. The seconds crawled by in slow motion. And then the president looked at me saying, ‘You’ll do it, right?

So there I was, raising my hand to be the fall fundraising coordinator for my daughter’s charter school. A voice in my head was saying, “Oh my goodness, what did I just get myself into?” My background was in teaching at-risk children, and for the last eight years I’ve been coordinating after school programs for the local district, but fundraising was foreign territory.

Little did I know I was about to embark on the school’s most successful fundraiser in history – and have a great time doing it!

Aspire Vincent Shalvey Academy is a K-5 non-profit charter school, meaning it is a public elementary school open to all children. The kids are with a teacher for two years at a time, so the commitment to success runs deep in both directions. The focus is college prep, and the school motto is College for Certain.™ That’s unusual for K-5 education. The teachers post the year that the children will graduate from college above the classroom door. Future college graduation is treated as a concrete statement of fact. Our fundraising is essential for classroom supplies that the budget cannot allow for, and I think parents understand the difference it will make for their children and are ready to go the extra mile.

The cookie dough fundraiser with Otis Spunkmeyer was, in a word, fabulous.

A local sales rep tried to sell us another brand of cookie dough for fundraising, but I wasn’t about to be swayed. The samples had that chemical ‘store bought cookie’ taste. It just wasn’t Otis Spunkmeyer. So although the pricing was similar, what you got was worlds away.

Everyone loves Otis. There was never an issue about the choice of product. Parents are savvy – they don’t want to look at a massive catalog filled with all the stuff you can find at the dollar store, but for $8. Plus, families were excited about having frozen cookie dough on hand for the holidays.

We did a big kickoff event and showed off some of the games we would feature at the prize party, which got everyone excited about the fundraiser. Every week I sent home a short newsletter about the product sale, and included some info in our emails.  Safety was important and we made sure everyone knew that there would be no door-to-door selling.

We had 240 sellers out of a total student body of only 352, so it was a participation rate of 68% which is very high for an elementary school fundraiser. Beyond our prize program, which had tiers for levels from 10 items sold all the way up to 100, I think deep involvement from the parents was key. Even the teachers were selling cookie dough. Parents were taking the catalogs to the doctor’s office and their places of work. Everyone who participated sold at least 10 items, and the average number of tubs sold was 13! Our top seller was a student who sold 84 tubs of cookie dough.

Greg (our Otis Spunkmeyer Fundraising representative) was amazingly patient; he answered all our questions and was completely available. He brought a lot of good fundraising ideas to the table and was even there for the delivery day. We had three truckloads of cookie dough to handle!

The Otis Spunkmeyer delivery guys were great about setting up our delivery just how we needed it. We lined up cafeteria tables, staged the products in order of flavor on the order forms, and people walked down the line picking up each flavor. At the end there was a volunteer to verify counts. About a month after the delivery day, we held the prize party which was a huge hit.

We are signed with Otis Spunkmeyer for fall – there was no question at all about that! — and I’ve told our president I’m on board to handle our cookie dough fundraising for as long as my daughter is enrolled. When I see how much money we can raise, and the difference that makes in the classroom, there’s no question for me about whether I want to be involved.

Our goal this fall is to beat the $23,000 we raised last year, and I am confident we can do it. What’s special about Vincent Shalvey is that goal setting is not just empty talk – success is a predetermined fact. Sometimes I think that maybe this mindset carries over into our fundraising programs just as it does for our academics.

Kristal Bloch
Fall Fundraising Coordinator
Vincent Shalvey Academy
Stockton, California

Interested in bringing a fundraising idea to life? Check out our food fundraising options for more info!