The Importance of School Fundraising
The importance of school fundraising goes far beyond the financial. School fundraisers bring people together like few other endeavors can, strengthening the relationships between schools, families, and the community. These events don’t just raise money for much-needed education enrichment programs or building renovations, though that is the primary purpose. They also provide students, school staff, and parents opportunities to create lasting social bonds, learn new skills, and make wonderful memories.
So what exactly is the importance of school fundraising? In this article, we’ll explore in more detail some of the most fundamental roles school fundraisers play in education, in the socio-emotional development of young people, and in the health of communities across the U.S.
Why is school fundraising important?
1. Schools are underfunded.
Unfortunately one of the most obvious reasons school fundraising is important is right in the name. Researchers estimate that public schools in the U.S. are underfunded by about $150 billion dollars. Underfunding, in turn, correlates with poorer student achievement, while students attending schools that receive more funding tend to have higher test scores and better academic performance.
School fundraising does a lot of heavy lifting to close those funding gaps (and, therefore, learning gaps). Funds raised in school fundraisers support education both directly and indirectly. For example, fundraisers enable schools to adopt crucial educational programs in science, technology, math, and the arts and to purchase necessary educational technology, like computers. They also support indirect factors that improve educational outcomes, such as improving campus facilities or funding the extracurricular activities that help students grow socially and psychologically.
2. School fundraising benefits students’ development.
As alluded to in the previous section, the funds raised by booster clubs and PTAs/PTOs go toward enriching students’ education through things like STEAM programs, field trips, technology and equipment, and more.
But student involvement in fundraising benefits their social development and health, too. Many of the best school fundraisers, especially those popular at the elementary school level, are student-centered. These include things like fun runs, dance marathons, and sales. These kinds of events allow students to develop important skills they’ll use in school and work as they grow up. Fundraisers that require kids to be active, like fun runs, support physical health and fitness. And, ultimately, fundraising events are great opportunities for students to bond, contribute to accomplishing a collective goal, and create positive memories associated with their schools and communities.
3. Fundraisers get families involved.
Research on family involvement, also called family engagement, shows overwhelmingly positive impacts on the education and lives of young people across the board. Students whose families are involved in their education have better academic outcomes, especially at lower income levels. Schools with high family engagement also tend to have fewer disciplinary issues and more positive environments.
School fundraisers provide excellent opportunities for parents and family members to get involved in students’ school lives.
Relationships with parents and families are further improved when PTA/PTO members are sensitive to the needs and availability of parent volunteers. Many parents are busy with long work hours and other obligations that make it hard for them to find free time to give to fundraising. Savvy PTA/PTO members should communicate openly with parents throughout the year to find creative ways to get parents involved within their means, and maybe even to help meet parents’ needs.
4. Fundraisers bring communities together.
Schools don’t operate in a vacuum. They are central parts of the communities around them, providing the foundational learning and social experiences that students can then use to give back. In other words, when schools are sufficiently funded to provide safe environments and quality education to students, they are more likely to grow into healthy, happy, helpful members of their community.
Through events like restaurant nights, silent auctions, bake sales and more, school fundraisers provide some of the best opportunities to invite community members to be part of that educational experience. And when schools and communities have positive relationships, school is a safer and more welcoming place for students.
5. Volunteering is good for your health.
Volunteers are the backbone of school fundraisers. PTA/PTO members and other parent volunteers dedicate hundreds of hours of work every year to making sure their kids get the best educational experiences possible. That alone is tremendously motivating to many volunteers, but did you know volunteering has measurable benefits to your health? According to the Mayo Clinic, that includes:
- Reducing stress, which protects against heart disease, stroke, and more
- Promoting relaxation and positive feelings
- Lowering rates of depression and anxiety
So, if you’re a parent wondering if you should volunteer at your school, good news - it’s what the doctor ordered. And if you’re a leader in a PTA, PTO, or booster club and have been struggling to recruit volunteers, consider sending out a parent newsletter including an article or two about these amazing health benefits!
Get involved at your school
School fundraising doesn’t just benefit students and schools, but also the people who help get the work done. And those benefits are far-reaching, not limited to better academic outcomes but also improving the health of students, parents and volunteers, and the community at large.
So if you’re a parent and have the time to volunteer, shoot a message to your PTA/PTO president today and ask about getting involved in fundraising. There’s little doubt they can use your help, and you’ll get just as much out of it as you put in - if not more!