It seems that more and more school districts across the nation are becoming stricter about ensuring that students are eating properly, at least while they’re at school. Schools are not only enforcing new guidelines at school by making changes to cafeteria food and what vending machines can provide but they are telling parents what is allowed at school for birthday celebrations. What effect has this health shift had on group fundraisers? The impact of these changes has been especially felt with direct sale school fundraising programs like candy bars and lollipops. These programs have historically enjoyed a lot of success because students found it easier to exchange a product for money right on the spot. The other advantage was that these fundraisers were inexpensive and most people, including fellow students, readily had money to pay for the items.
Some students can no longer sell fundraising items like candy bars and lollipops during school hours on campus because of the school health initiatives that are now being enforced. Has that had an effect on candy bar sales? Perhaps a little; however people can still sell these items outside of school so even though a convenient student customer base has been taken away at school people have learned, for the most part, to make the necessary adjustments. Attempts have been made to remove fundraisers like candy bars completely from the community yet this attempt has been met with opposition.
What affect has the school health initiatives had on school brochure fundraisers that contain items like chocolate, candy, cookie dough and dessert products? Because most brochure fundraising items have historically been sold off campus to family members, neighbors and at work places, the health initiatives have not had the same effect on these types of fundraisers as they have with direct sale fundraising programs. This doesn’t mean however that requests for more healthy alternatives have not been made. Many people feel that even though cookie dough fundraisers have proven to be highly profitable, these products are sending a mixed message to the community about proper nutrition.
Are there alternative types of school fundraising programs that offer healthy food alternatives, or that don’t contain food items at all? Fundraising companies have tried offering such items as low-fat cookie dough and sugar-free chocolate however these products have been shown to not sell very much overall. As a result, few fundraising companies are offering them. One alternative that has worked especially well in the secondary school market is discount card and scratch card fundraisers. Discount card fundraising programs provide value to the customer in that they save people money when they frequent their favorite local establishments. They typically sell for $10.00 which makes them less affordable to students than candy bars for example; however there are still plenty of adults who will readily buy them.
In spite of the school health initiatives, are frozen food and cookie dough fundraisers still popular? The health initiatives have seemed to have had little impact on these fundraisers. Frozen food fundraisers have probably seen the largest growth compared to other types of brochure fundraising programs. The reason is because people buy these types of items anyway and they happen to be convenient in today’s fast-pace society. As a result, demand for frozen food brochure fundraisers are still high in schools overall.
The bottom line seems to be that if schools that do direct-sale or brochure fundraisers had to choose between running a successful candy bar or cookie dough fundraiser as opposed to offering a good healthy fundraising alternative, they would most likely choose the former. Whether this is right or wrong, that needs to be left for another discussion.