Three years ago, Dana Perkins volunteered to join her local school’s parent teacher group, Partners in Education (PIE). She discovered that PIE had some lofty fundraising goals, but no formal fundraiser in place. In the past they had hosted an annual carnival to raise money, but they now needed to expand if they were going to meet their goals.
With no prior fundraising experience, Dana really had to learn on the fly. She searched for a fundraising program on Google and found Popcorn Palace. The idea of selling popcorn stood out among alternatives because similar local groups were selling trail mix or cookie dough, and she knew PIE could corner the popcorn market.
The Popcorn Palace fundraiser kickstarted PIE’s ability to make a bigger contribution to their school, and they have now been running a highly profitable program for the past three years. We invited Dana to share PIE’s methods so we could help other parent teach groups achieve similar success. She was happy to oblige.
To kick off the fundraiser each year, the PIE volunteers create an informational packet about the fundraiser, and the teachers distribute these packets to each student. The packets include the fundraising form and a letter to the parents that explains why the fundraiser is important and how the money will be spent. It also outlines the incentives to the students and the success of previous years.
Dana says this letter is particularly important because it sets expectations for the parents of how their contribution will benefit the school.
Each year, they have had a different goal for equipment they wanted to purchase for the school and other improvements they hoped to make. During the first year, their goal was to buy 20 iPads; in the second year, they focused on funding assemblies and field trips; and in the third year they wanted to buy a new drinking fountain for the track and field ground. They’ve been able to meet all of their goals and go beyond each year. Last year, the top individual seller sold $1,000 worth of popcorn and the top class sold $3,814!
As a result of sharing these accomplishments in their annual letter, all of the parents have deeply bought into the program. The entire community is very helpful and engaged with both buying and selling. The kids are always very excited about the popcorn, and Dana says it’s an easy sell.
At the end of the fundraiser, the school rewards the top individual seller with a packet of movie tickets and the top selling class with a pizza and ice cream party.
Dana’s advice to new sellers is this: “Keep the selling period short and include a couple of weekends, otherwise the fundraising steam will die down or people will just forget.” Everyone at PIE also loves how the new Popcorn Palace sorting feature has sped up their process. With the tally sheet, it only takes about two and a half hours for her small team of volunteers to sort the students by class and tabulate the final results.
“50% profit is the best that you will find for a fundraiser!” says Dana. With delicious popcorn, high profitability, and the ultimate convenience, it’s clear that the there is simply no better fundraising program for your school. Learn more about popcorn fundraising with Popcorn Palace and get started today.