Saturday, January 10, 2009
Putting the Fun in Fundraising
For most of us who hold leadership roles in secondary education our thoughts can often come to rest on financial matters. How do we finance the undertaking of Catholic education? Our lay staff demand competitive and just wages, our students deserve the latest and greatest in terms of technology, and our families shouldn't carry the full financial burden on their backs in terms of astronomical tuitions. We want our schools to be elite not elitist.
There is event driven fundraising (auctions, golf outings, socials, galas, etc.) and the myriad of development work (major gifts, annual giving, etc.) and a few of us our even brave enough to bridge over into the world of student based fundraising as well. Our charges sell wrapping paper, magazines, food, or some other highly desirable object. What if instead of treating our students as a budding door to door sales force we treat them as entrepreneurs capable of generating real returns?
A pastor in our diocese tried this with his own parishoners with great success. The Rev. Ric Schneider took $18,000 in donated funds and distributed in $100 lots to 1800 willing parish members with the marching orders of finding creative ways to return the original plus any earnings. Did it work? Absolutely. In the end the seed money was parlayed into $60,500. A percentage of the funds were distributed to a poor sister parish in the Appalachian mountains. Besides the impressive return of 236% the range of actions taken by the parish members is amazing.
What if we took Father Ric's idea and applied it to our own high schools? Would giving groups of hard working students some seed capital produce some big returns? I've got to believe with a little guidance and support Catholic high schools might find similar success. From the administrator's end this would be much more engaging than getting hit up for the annual Christmas wreath and cookie dough sales. Any thoughts or comments? Hats off to Father Ric and his parish for being so creative.
picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23065375@N05/2235525962/sizes/m/