Fundraising Strategies

Mike Lawson • Fundraising • August 1, 2003

When money is short, taking out-of-state trips with a large group of students is a tall order for music directors. As big-ticket expenses pile up, fundraising is oftentimes the only option – and there are many fundraising options available. The trick is finding the right fit for the program’s needs: How much time and legwork are involved? How appealing are the products/services to the community/buyers? How much profit will the fundraiser yield – and is it worth the effort expended?

To guide music educators through the process of finding the right fundraising campaign for their program, SBO offers a sampling of fundraising companies – sorted by category – that work with school programs every day. These Web sites offer product information and details on profitability. Several sites include charts to explain the profit margin of each fundraising activity.

Flavorful Fundraising

Boston’s Best Fundraising 
Boston’s Best Fundraising manufactures a selection of gourmet coffee, hot cocoa, tea and other food and beverage mixes. Licensed products and collectibles are also available through its 44-page holiday shopper, including New Era sports hats for every major league sport and 18-ounce jarred candles.

Boston Coffee Cake
Boston Coffee Cake fundraising products are offered through Original Cinnamon Walnut, Marble Madness, Blueberry Blizzard, Apple Cinnamon Walnut, Lemon Burst and Golden Pumpkin.

Fund Raising at its Best 
Fund Raising at its Best offers a selection of $1 candy bars, old-fashioned lollipops, and other treats, such as cookie dough, frozen desserts, cheeses and sausages. Other items include neighborhood flags, two-year planners and candles.

Gladder’s Gourmet
Gladder’s Gourmet, which provides gourmet desserts for the foodservice industry, offers boxes of ready-to-bake gourmet cookie dough for fundraising groups. The compact box holds three pounds of pre-portioned cookie dough, which yields three dozen large cookies. Pre-baked brownies and blondies are also available in 9×11-inch trays.

Gertrude Hawk Chocolates
Gertrude Hawk Chocolates offers spring and fall brochures with unique chocolates and gift items. A $1 candy bar fundraiser is also offered, featuring the company’s own chocolate bars in packs of 36 or 48 flavor varieties.

Hershey’s Fund Raising 
Hershey’s Fund Raising has three different price levels available to meet the needs of fundraising groups. A new 40-count assortment carrier contains $2 candy bars, including Cadbury Royal Dark and Hershey’ Symphony bars. The $1 and 50-cent assortments feature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Caramello, and Kit Kats.

Joe Corbi’s Wholesale Pizza Inc. 
Joe Corbi’s pizza kits are baked fresh and delivered with toppings individually wrapped in each kit. Pizza kits stay fresh for two weeks in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer, according to the company. Varieties include cheese, pepperoni, whole wheat, sausage, white pizza and the new Crayola “Pop Art” pizza.

Langdon Barber Groves 
Langdon Barber Groves, offering Chiquita brand citrus products from Florida and California, has three different fundraising campaign strategies for selling its navel oranges, red grapefruit, tangelos, apples, pears and more. Also included on the LBG Web site: fundraising products from the Sunshine Coffee Company.

Masterfoods/M&M Mars 
The candy company offers individual and variety packs of M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Milky Way and Skittles. A rebate program is also offered to help fundraisers earn extra money.

Old Time Coffee Company 
Old Time Coffee Company has six different flavors of gourmet coffees in 12-ounce re-sealable bags: French Roast, Sumatra, Mocha Java, Columbian, Columbian Decaf and Hazelnut (whole bean or ground). Free samples and custom-printed labels are available.

Terri Lynn
Terri Lynn provides a fundraising program of nuts (pecan halves, whole cashews, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts), fat-free dried fruits, pralines and gourmet chocolate confections.

Wiggles-N-Tunes has a music-themed fundraiser: barley candy lollipops in the shape of various musical instruments, including violin, harp, guitar, drum, trumpet and accordion. Lollipops come in assorted colors and flavors, including cherry, grape, orange, lime, lemon and blue cherry. A custom imprint can be added to the white lollipop stick in black, blue, red, green, purple or orange – up to three lines, 28 characters per line.

Cards and Coupons

C.C.I. Fundraising 
CD Coupon is a CD-ROM coupon book with hundreds of re-printable coupons, which can be printed an unlimited number of times. The book includes coupons from local area and national merchants for free merchandise and valuable discounts on food, entertainment, travel, services, lodging and products.

The Skratchers fundraising scratch cards contain silver scratch-off dots that reveal different donation amounts (between 50 cents and $3), adding up to $100 per card. The card kits also contain coupon sheets to be distributed to donors.

Win Win Discount Cards/Annah Marketing Group
Win Win Discount Cards are custom-designed cards that offer discounts at local stores and businesses. The cards can be designed especially for the music program they support. Annah Marketing Group negotiates with suggested merchants to set up discount deals to be offered through the cards.

Growing Profits

Creative Garden Concepts 
Creative Garden Concepts presents garden-ready flowers via Biomat – 1/8-inch thick seeded mats that sandwich seeds between two layers of wood fiber mulch. Fifteen varieties of flower gardens are available, including morning glories, sunflowers, marigolds, a shade-loving flower ring, a butterfly garden and a patriotic garden.

Doornbosch Bros.
Doornbosch Bros. have been “Fundraising with Flower Bulbs” imported from Holland since 1949. The “Blooming Collection” includes daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and mixtures of the three. The “Bulb Collection” has 180 varieties from which to choose, including anemone, tulips, daffodils, irises, narcissi and crocuses.

Dutch Mill Bulbs Inc. 
Dutch Mill Bulbs, in business for more than 40 years, has two flower and bulb fundraising programs – one in the spring (available March 15 – June 1) and one in the fall (available Sept. 15 – Dec. 1). All bulbs are imported from Holland and are guaranteed to bloom or free replacement.

Mickman Brothers
The Mickman Brothers’ seven-step fundraising program includes evergreen wreaths, evergreen garland, centerpieces, door ornaments and live, decorated, table-top Christmas trees (nursery-grown dwarf Alberta spruce).

Gifts Galore

America’s Fundraising Network
America’s Fundraising Network offers a variety of fundraising campaigns, from candy (chocolate musical notes, candy bars, lollipops, gourmet fudge) and cookie dough to spices, candles, safety products and coupon cards.

America’s Premier Fundraisers 
America’s Premier Fundraisers features more than 170 products from American Greetings, Crabtree & Evelyn, and other New England and New York companies. Products include gift wrap, greeting cards, stationery, gourmet cookie dough, educational CDs, neighborhood flags and chocolate bars.

Bluestar Candles
Bluestar Candles offers two exclusive lines of candles for fundraising campaigns – home-style and religious. These aromatic candles are hand-poured into keepsake containers for longer, even burning.

Cherrydale Farms 
In addition to its own chocolates and confections, Cherrydale Farms offers an assortment of gift lines, including the Boyds Collection, Looney Tunes, Peanuts, Precious Moments, and more.

Community Resources Fundraising
Community Resources Fundraising offers brochure sales, candy and snacks, cookie dough and dessert, and pledge programs for fundraising groups. The In-School Holiday Store brings a Gingerbread Shop with more than 100 gift items to the school’s gym, cafeteria, library or classroom. offers four ways to raise money: magazines (650 magazine titles), scratch cards, chocolates (World’s Finest Chocolate and Hershey’s) and gift brochures (including Mega-Shoppers, cookie dough, candles and bulbs), each with varying levels of profitability.

FundRaising.Com Inc. has two ways to raise funds, through pre-sale catalogs and direct sales. Catalog items include candles, cookbooks, cookie dough, first aid kits, T-shirts, and more. Direct-sale products include awareness ribbons, beef jerky, bottled water, candy, coffee mugs, Domino’s Pizza cards, and more.

Fund Raising Depot 
Fund Raising Depot has a long list of products for fundraising campaigns: candy, snacks, desserts, pizza, coffee, magazines, apparel, bumper stickers, flowers and plants, candles, calendars, gifts for the home, and more. New this year: “Spirit” tattoos and collection canisters.

3-J Fundraising
3-J Fundraising, also known as, offers patriotic calendars and planners as well as safety items – first aid kits and fire extinguishers – and seasonal items, including chocolate Fourth of July “Star Pops” that come in red, white and blue, and holiday wreaths from Vermont.

Jeannine Fund Raisers
Jeannine Fund Raisers presents a variety of fundraising options through its catalogs, including Baker Jo’s cookies, pies and cheesecakes, Homemade Holidays gifts, Hershey’s candy bars, magazines and imprinted cards, flowers/bulbs and candles.

Manuel Zed 
Manuel Zed offers an Italian charm bracelet fundraiser through its brochure, with 100-plus charms to choose from, including musical instrument-themed charms, birthstones and letters to spell out a person’s name. The bracelets are hand-crafted in Italy and made of stainless steel with 18-karat gold, enamel, semi-precious and precious stones.

Pride Distributors
Pride Distributors offers board games based on the popular game Monopoly that can be customized to individual towns – “Your Town”-Opoly. The streets and utilities on the board game are replaced by advertisements from local merchants and the games can be sold to members of the community.

Prodigy Promotions
Prodigy Promotions presents a variety of fundraising opportunities, including Avia Candles, Sunshine Street Baker, cookie dough and the newest addition, the Friends Forever brochure. Also available are holiday gift items, candy, cheese and sausage and gadgets.

Profit Potentials
Profit Potentials offers a wide selection of products, such as candies, frozen food, greenery, first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, dishcloths, planners, and patriotic, holiday and religious gifts, etc.

Rada Mfg. Co. 
Rada Manufacturing offers fundraising opportunities through its catalog of American-made cutlery. The catalog contains more than 100 items, including kitchen knives, utensils, gift sets, cookbooks, stoneware and soy wax candles.

Software Outlet
The Software Outlet produces a print catalog specifically for fundraising programs, offering hundreds of brand-name software programs – both educational applications and games.

Sportdecal’s custom-printed fundraising items for bands, boosters and supporters include caps, towels, buttons, blankets, stickers, spirit flags, banners, signs and more.

Yankee Candle Company 
GBI Marketing offers a wide range of Yankee Candle products in varying sizes and price ranges for fundraising groups. The candles, which are contained in glass, are packaged in gift boxes, shrink-wrapped or packaged in foam trays for protection from damage.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!