Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Magazine FUN?draiser

We ended our last fundraiser for the Media Center for this year a few weeks ago.   It was a magazaine subscription fundraiser and we get to keep 40% of the profits.  The company who offered the fundraiser, Great American Oppotunities in conjunction with QSP presented it as an easy, no hassel way to raise money, and my patrons have really enjoyed being able to check out magazines this year, so I accepted the opportunity.

Here is the jest of how this fundraiser worked.  Students were given a fundraiser packet which included:

1 postcard booklet
1 magazine catalog
5 order forms
2 collection envelopes
1 prize description sheet
1 duck coupon sheet

Students were told about the items in a packet during an assemlby to kick off the fundraiser.  Prizes that could be earned were also highlighted during the assembly. For our fundraiser, the QSP representative decided to use small rubber duck keychains as prizes for selling up to four magazines.  If students returned the postcard booklet the next day with at least 7 family and friends names/addresses they received their first duck (on a lanyard) with duck food for the duck (candy).

After they sold 1 or more magazine subscriptions, they filled out a duck coupon and returned it on Thursday for another duck.  They could turn in up to 5 duck coupons for up to 5 more ducks.  Students were encouraged to wear their ducks every day and "duck feeders" (specially chosen faculty members, a.k.a. me) were to pass out duck food randomly during the day to students who were wearing their ducks.  You would not believe how excited the students got about all of this.  I myself was in shock because I was not told about having to give out candy everyday.  I couldn't exactly leave the Media Center to go feed the ducks.  Yeah, not real happy about that one.  Luckily my Principal and Assistant Principal stepped in and "feed" the ducks during their time at lunch duty each day.

If students sold 6 or more magazine subscriptions they could earn bigger prizes:

6 magazine subscriptions:    Mystery prize bag

9 magazine subscriptions:    light up sunglasses

12 magazine subscriptions:  Cash cow with hidden velcro pocket in back;
the cow could contain up to $10 in cash

15 magazine subscriptions :  Air guitar

25 magazine subscriptions:  Chatty Chimpunk, a toy that repeats what you say in a high pitched voice

35 magazine subscriptions:  An Skype headset and webcam

Needless to say, the students were super excited about the prizes, especially the ducks, which is good because most students didn't sell more than 1 magazine subscription.  In fact the highest seller only sold 12 subsriptions total, which is still a lot of subscriptions to me.

I am now realizing that although it was presented as a simple program, it is not really a one person run it all kind of fundraiser. The kids had fun earning prizes, but it was a LOT of work collecting the postcard booklets and keeping track of who had earned ducks and what ducks they had received so they wouldn't get duplicates.  And the ducks were very annoying in class as well.  Teachers were telling me that their students were swinging the lanyards around, trading ducks, and then wanting them back, and just in general bugging teachers about when they would be receiving their ducks.  It became a kind of inside joke to quack at me, a joke I didn't much find funny at the time, but I can laugh about it now. By the end of the fundraiser, I never wanted to see another rubber duck again.

What I did like about the program was that every student could earn at least one prize just by filling out the postcard booklet.  What I didn't like was that the company required that the booklet be brought back the next day.  One day just isn't enough time.  However, having a one day deadline did keep me from having to figure out who got a duck lanyard every single day.  It might work better if the kickoff was on a Friday and studnets had over the weekend to get the postcards filled out and returned. The way our schedule worked out, we had to do the kickoff on a Monday.

It would be a great fundraiser for PTO to take over next year, but to have to keep up with money, prizes, who didn't turn in what, double check to be sure payments were included and checks were written correctly and still teach lessons and run check out was really almost not worth the trouble.  I am still not sure how much money we made because I have yet to receive a check from the company.  I know how much money was turned in, but part of that money included a $1.50 processing fee per household, so I really don't have an exact amount to take 40% from.  I am expecting about $1,200 if not a bit more.  I was also told that we could expect an average of $10 extra dollars per postcard booklet that was returned because people may buy subscriptions online after receiving their postcard in the mail.  We had about 140 of those returned, so if the figure is correct, I should expect $1,400 from those.   It may be next school year before I get the final total, so I guess I will wait until then to decide whether or not to try it again next year.

So what about you?  Do you undertake any fundraisers besides Book Fairs to raise money for your Library/Media Center?

Update: On May 30th, I received a check for $1,348.40...a bit more than I estimated, so wohooo!  Now I can order labels, decor, and prizes for next year.  Time to shop!  =)


  1. Hi Jo, my school did a QSP fundraiser earlier this year. The kids LOVED the ducks! And it was successful too. We sold cookie dough instead of magazine subscriptions. I did two Scholastic Book Fairs this year and am thinking about adding a Barnes and Noble Book Fair next year.

    1. I didn't know that Barnes and Noble did Book Fairs. I'll have to check that one out, too. Thanks for the info! =)

  2. As well as the two Scholastic Book Fairs we did this year, we also had a special night with two local restaurants. One was a burger joint and the other (next door) was a frozen yogurt shop. We got a % of the reciepts turned into our box at the register's for each location that night. We put the money toward Play-Away's.

    1. Some of our grade levels do the restaurant thing. We did a McDonald's night not too long ago. The teachers even got to take orders. It was kind of fun and now I can cross off working at McDonald's from my bucket list. =)

  3. Jo you are a brave woman to do that type of fundraiser. I did two things this year besides book fair. First, I held a scrapbook crop. It's where people pay for a space to scrapbook. No money for set up there and I love scrapbooking so it's a win win for me. Second, I videotaped the preschool graduation at our school and presold copies to the parents. That was REALLY easy money.

    1. LOL I don't think I was brave so much as ignorant as to what the fundraiser involved. If I had only known...

      Your scrapbook crop and videotaping ideas are great. I'll have to keep those in mind. Thanks for sharing! =)