5 Tips for a Successful Fundraising Event {+ TWO Mother’s Day Market Giveaways!}

Selling popcorn, candy, promotional items, magazine subscriptions, restaurant gift cards, and bulk value coupons – these are all items schools and other organizations traditionally use to fundraise money that is not part of the normal operating budget. But not the Pope Elementary Parent Teacher Organization {PTO}! We sought a more creative and unorthodox approach to meet our yearly goal of fundraising, and we have an incredible vision to gather our community and raise funds in a unique and innovative way.  We would love for you to come check out this year’s Mother’s Day Market event, open to the public and held on April 25 from 11 am – 5 pm {with a sneak preview for VIPs at 9 am}, and today I am sharing a few tips on how your school or nonprofit organization can host a successful fundraising event…plus, enter to win two different baskets with a sneak peek into what you can expect to find at this year’s Mother’s Day Market too!

The Mother’s Day Market {MDM} is a homegrown fundraising concept and will feature a shopping extravaganza with booth space for more than 75 local businesses or sponsors to showcase and sell their products. It will also feature a luncheon with Houston Moms Blog’s very own Kelly Davis as the keynote speaker, and a style show for moms – all created with the idea of showing appreciation for and providing a fun day for mom near Mother’s Day. So just how did Pope’s PTO come up with unconventional ideas like MDM to create funds for the school? It all started when Mrs. Koop, the school’s principal, met with her newly formed Steering Committee prior to Pope’s opening. The committee collectively said they didn’t want to sell traditional items used to fundraise, they wanted to be different, and they wanted to offer Pope families something that they actually needed and wanted.

Adrienne Whitman, a former middle school teacher and mom of three, was on the original committee and is co-chair of this year’s MDM event. Once they agreed traditional sales would not be the approach for this PTO, the next question became, what do our families really need and want?
And more time with families and friends was the unanimous answer.

Mother's Day MarketAnother thing the Pope PTO considered was that the children who attended school there only had the surrounding neighborhood to work with, and so traditional sales for fundraisers wouldn’t really work well in this setting because each child would literally be competing against his or her neighbor to bring in those extra dollars.  If he kids did go out and sell, who are they going to sell to if every single one of their friends is doing the exact same thing? It would probably end up being their two sets of grandparents because the school only pulls from their small community.

There’s no doubt creating events like these comes with added challenges and lots of time and hard work from PTO members and volunteers, but the payoff is significant when you consider the alternatives and when looking at how family events bring a large group of people together with the same goal in mind.

Mother's Day Market 2Last year Pope PTO created Fathers -N- Flashlights, a shining example of how first year schools can acquire extra funds with a fun family event. Fathers -N- Flashlights is an amazing overnight camping event within the community {open to Pope families and Bridgeland residents only} for dads and their children at one of the residential parks in the neighborhood. The children and their dads spend the night in a tent camping out, enjoying their friends and playing basketball, jumping in bounce houses, climbing rock walls, scavenger hunts, skee ball, fishing, boating, putt-putt, volleyball, petting zoo, a movie outdoors at the park, and much more. It starts at $85 per family and includes all activities and food. Last year’s Fathers -N- Flashlights event started out as a minor fundraising event and first-year projections were under 200 families, but it greatly exceeded the PTO goals and had more than 300 families participate. This year’s registration already contains more than 400 families.

Well of course, Pope moms wanted their special event too! So this year’s Mother’s Day Market is a direct response to that request. More than 75 booths will round out the shopping extravaganza, which will offer unique boutique finds like pewter food trays, jewelry, one-of-a-kind pieces, books, and more. And the main event is a catered luncheon with a style show featuring Stella & Dot Jewelry, clothing by My Simply Chic boutique, emcee’d by Secrets of the Super Mom author Christina Moreland and keynote speaker Kelly Davis. Families also have the opportunity to honor their moms
with a special Mother’s Day Appreciation Package, valued at $150 containing tickets to the Mother’s Day Market Luncheon, sneak preview shopping, Guest Speaker, and Style Show admission. The event is open to the public and general admission shopping only tickets start at $5 in advance or $7 at the door, and Luncheon Tickets are $40. Go here for more information or to buy tickets.

Mother’s Day Market Schedule of Events

9:00-10:30am – Sneak preview of market for Luncheon Ticket Holders ONLY
10:30-11:30am – Luncheon Speaker {Kelly Davis, “The Thing About Motherhood”}
11:45am-12:30pm – Luncheon and Style Show
11:00am-5:00pm – General Admission to the Market

5 Tips for a Successful Fundraising Event

Have Vision

Before a new concept or event can take place, the board must discuss the idea and vote on it. Then, the planning committee gets together and sets first-year goals, if it’s a first-time event, that are realistic for the event to be successful. Once a blueprint is established, it’s much easier to duplicate the concept year after year, but that’s also why it’s important to market and brand the event – just like you would a business – for the idea to have staying power.

Know Your Membership!

By finding experts within your own community and utilizing their strengths, an organization can accomplish so much more and for a greater value. For example, when the Mother’s Day Market committee was writing their contracts and legal agreements, they reached out to a member who owns her own law firm to help write important legal documents that had to be in compliance with their PTO guidelines. Another member’s boutique firm does all the marketing for special events, and yet another member’s promotional events firm provides t-shirts, decals, and more for events at a discounted rate and for a fraction of what an outside membership agency might charge. Look for what members can contribute in-kind, not only with their personal volunteer time, but also with their networking and business connections. Even financial expertise is incredibly beneficial for fundraising.

Reach Out to the Community

Get creative about who is working the event. Using the example of Mother’s Day Market, the event is all for and about mom, so who is
going to do the volunteer work needed at the event? That is when it’s time to turn to high schools, middle schools, churches, cotillion organizations, and local businesses to help fill in the gaps. PTO members who volunteer to help at Mother’s Day Market do so in mini shifts, so they can still get the work done on their event, but still have plenty of time to enjoy it.  Everyone has something of value to contribute. You just have to get creative with your outreach.

Corporate Donation Match

Another creative way to receive a few extra needed dollars is to get PTO members to check with their employers to see if they offer donation matches. It can help to fill in the gaps, but it should be noted here that what makes these events successful is the homegrown concepts being supported by the local community – parents, teachers, families, and local business owners. That is the vast majority of who contributes to these events and makes them flourish with ongoing vitality.

Make Some Events Open to the Public

As mentioned, many of these events are open to Pope families and Bridgeland residents only, but in a few cases are open to the public. And this is where, with the right event and the right setting, opening an event to the public can be hugely profitable. Not only does this expand your audience to a larger group of people, but it also brings more awareness to the community that will attract more businesses, potential sponsors, and help the local community prosper even more.

If history is any indicator, Pope’s upcoming Mother’s Day Market is sure to be a huge success. The event is open to the public and general admission tickets start at $5 in advance / $7 at the door. Luncheon tickets are $40. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.  But first, be sure to enter to win TWO different giveaways with a sneak peek into what you can expect to find at this year’s Mother’s Day Market!  {Yes, you may enter BOTH, but winner must be available for local pick-up.}  Good luck and enter below…

Mother's Day Market - Gift Basket (2)

Mother’s Day Market Basket #1

{Retail Value :: $261.95} 

Lily Lou Designs yellow market tote, Kettle Magic’s delicious Kettle Corn, a bag of Cinnamon Roll Latte from Stirr’s Coffee, a paperback copy of Secrets of the Supermom Part I, a 12 week scholarship to participate in the Super Mom Challenge {a comprehensive 12 week workout program to help moms get into amazing shape}, & a digital copy of Secrets of the Super Mom Part II, 2 Cinnamon Vanilla Scentsy bars & Cream Glass Plug-In from Kristen Ruiz, Jalapeño Jelly & Pina Colada Jam from Melissa’s Home Cooking, an Origami Owl Locket from Kristine Morman, and 2 general admission tickets to Mother’s Day Market

Mother's Day Market - Gift Basket (1)

Mother’s Day Market Basket #2

{Retail Value :: $125.57}

a signed copy of Secrets of the Super Mom Part I, a bag of Stirr’s Coffe & Tea Green Tea Lemon Twist, Bits of Grace hand stamped bracelet, a bag of Kettle Magic Kettle Corn, Mayhaw Jelly & Habenero & Strawberry Mango Jam from Melissa’s Home Cooking, Deep Relief Essential Oil Roll-on from Erin Stearns with Young Living Essential Oils, a fabulous spring basket, and 2 general admission tickets to Mother’s Day Market


About Christina M.

Christina L. Moreland, author of Secrets of the Super Mom, is the Super Mom of a bright, spunky eight-year-old and sweet and sensitive four-year-old. She is also a public speaker to moms groups, churches and other community related events, and her writing has been featured in numerous publications. She is passionate about fitness and all sorts of parenting and childcare topics. Christina’s goal with her writing is to share fun and interesting family-related stories to help other parents create healthy and happy homes. Follow Christina’s Secrets of the Super Mom page or on Facebook. You can also follow her on Twitter {@supermombook} or visit her YouTube Channel.


Please Note :: We are so very grateful to have Mother’s Day Market sponsor this post and share all of these great tips and insight for hosting a fundraising event.  Our hope is that this post will offer some great inspiration for you, and we strongly encourage you to attend the Mother’s Day Market to see it in action too!

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