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Fatty Foods Fundraising Fiasco

Posted by Scott Barron on Aug 26, 2014 3:43:13 AM
Scott Barron

Georgia PeachGeorgia's Board of Education decided to exercise the state's right to determine how the children in its schools will raise money and eat. No "damn Yankee" nor anyone from D.C. is going to keep these Peach State students from participating in the sale of unhealthy foods during the school day. (Dadgumit!)

The vote was nearly unanimous (9-1)--probably one liberal on the board who had to make his point. This decision allows foods that are high in fat, calories, and/or salt to be sold in the hallways and classrooms as part of a fundraiser. Up to 30 such fundraisers are allowed each year!

This is lousy and embarrassing!

This is a fatty food fundraising fiasco. My concern isn't about the food. I enjoy M&M's and other such goodies as much as anyone. The problem with this approach is the pitiful leadership regarding how to raise financial support for school programs.

Having raised over $20 million for capital and operating expenses with donors at my last school and from the lessons learned through over 100 interviews conducted with high capacity philanthropists, I can assure you that this approach to fundraising is ineffective short-term and long-term. Why are so many schools, especially public and charters, still using candy sales and other anemic methods to fund activities when the most sophisticated K-12 and higher ed organizations have demonstrated that billions of dollars can be raised each year through a well-crafted donor engagement process?

If you're ready to transform your fundraising program to a whole new level of results, send an email to and we'll share with you our "10 Secrets to Innovative Fundraising."

Innovative Fundraising Secret No. 1: Shared Vision

People will give exponentially more to a shared vision than to need. Quit Begging! And Quit teaching your students to behave in such a manner! Instead, give them a strategy for developing profitable relationships.

Shared vision means understanding the priorities of the people from whom you're asking, aligning your investment proposal (rather than "ask") with their goals and desires. Help them feel the impact your project will have on the students and teachers in your school. Craft a narrative that can be shared easily and provides both logic and emotion.

Innovative Fundraising Secret No. 2: Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are the people with the most money to give. Learn to speak their language: Value proposition, key activities and resources, return on investment, target market, lean development, etc. Dale Carnegie emphasized in his classic book on Winning Friends and Influencing People the importance of adopting the language of your audience. They don't know the vocabulary of education and they may not want to--ever! Get into their world and begin to speak in terms of their interests and life story.

Be prepared to demonstrate how you are applying the best practices of entrepreneurship to accelerate your process of school improvement. Parents, Philanthropists, and Foundations are craving motivating vision in which to invest their time and energy, and the students in your school (especially if you're leading a public school in Georgia) deserve a better leadership example than having to peddle questionable food, magazines and wrapping paper.

Topics: Fundraising, Leadership

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