Make a Principal Difference for a Better School

Principal THUMB Aug 2012

Increase the positive impact of a fundraiser by showing your support.

Principal Lacy Healy and Assistant Principal Jennifer Collins, administrators at a Florida elementary school, made a deal with their students.  When the school established its fundraising goal of $20,000 for campus beautification and special education programming, Ms. Healy and Ms. Collins announced that if students met or exceeded it, they would spend a day on the school’s roof. 

“We had to think of something really big, so being on the roof was the biggest thing we could think of,” Ms. Healy said.

When the students earned more than $21,500 selling cookie dough in the community, the principals knew what they had to do.  Armed with snacks, camping supplies and flashlights, they made good on their promise doing their best to cope with the muggy Florida heat. 

Students showed their appreciation by displaying a large banner that read:  We love you Ms. Healy and Ms. Collins!

“We like to have a lot of fun with our kids because we can be kids ourselves,” Ms. Healy said.

Passion=Profit

Even though 87% of fundraisers are run by schools and school groups to provide supplies, pay for new equipment or send students on field trips, most busy principals would rather delegate fundraising duties to teachers or parent groups. But a principal’s involvement is critical to the success of your fundraiser. Overall, non-profits earn $1.4 billion each year selling popular consumer items for fundraising, according to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers.

Guidance and Teamwork

Often a principal can bring to the table the school’s financial outlook and can offer historical perspective on what fundraisers do or don’t work.

Stanley Waleski, principal at Pittston Area Elementary in Pittston, PA, understands to value of consistency. “Our parents have developed a trust in us because our local fundraising partner consistently delivers great service and quality product,” he says. “We’ve been using the same local company for more than ten years, and they keep innovating, and we keep succeeding towards a better place.”

Mr. Waleski also works with the Pittston PTO to plan a whole cycle of events to improve schools, including visits from holiday characters, trips to amusement parks and Olympic-style games. Pittston PTO President Heather Cebula says that “it’s fun in part because we coordinate fun events around our fundraisers. We know how important it is to have a positive rapport with all the people who work so hard for our children’s education, and our PTO group is a big part of that goal.”

Dedication and teamwork in your fundraisers will make your school a better place for children to learn and have fun.

Ms. Cebula says, “We delight in being able to provide fun opportunities for our students. We’re very fortunate to have a principal who goes above and beyond for the students, an active PTO group dedicated to making our school a better place and a local fundraising company who consistently provides us with great service. We’re all very pleased to work together as we continue making our school a wonderful environment for the students.”

Dedication and Commitment

Getting involved means that principals gain commitment from the top down, earning support and dedication from office staff and teachers to students and volunteers. Principal Jo Ann Colson of Willow Creek Elementary School in Tomball, Texas, has seen her school’s fundraising dollars jump by 40% recently. She attributes some of this success to her willingness to get her hands—and other parts of her body—a little dirty.

 When students reach their goals, they have a chance to douse Ms. Colson in ice cream, hot fudge and sprinkles, turning her into a “Human Sundae.” She’s also spent time suspended from the wall by hundreds of pieces of duct tape as individual students who met their goals get one piece of tape as an award.

Ms. Colson also uses more traditional methods, like pep rallies, to add fun and excitement to fundraising for the entire school. “It’s important to show the students and their parents that we can have fun and accomplish our goals,” said Principal Colson. “That’s a great way to excel in life and a great way to run a fundraiser.”

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