At the Preschool, Nursery or Day Care Level:
Good. Fund raisers with private nursery schools, day care centers, or pre-kindergarten programs usually do not entail much paperwork. Contact the owner, manager or person in charge of the budget for the facility. The sticker books are especially great fund raising items for children this age and their parents. It is a good idea to set up a demonstration for the children by bringing in your computer system and showing them how to make a book. This becomes an educational interaction between the children, their parents, and the operators of the centers. Children love learning new things, and are being introduced to computers earlier each year. Their natural curiosity encourages them to find out how things, like books, are made.
Make an appointment by phone to stop by and show your product to the owner/operator. Take sample books and a letter for each child to take home to their parents inviting them to come to the demonstration also. Explain how much money the school will get for every book sold. The profit split is negotiable. However, two to five dollars per book is about average. Try to determine before hand the amount of money the school is looking to make and set percentage accordingly.
At the Elementary Level:
Very good. However, talk to someone on your local board of education before working directly within the local public school system. A good lead would be to talk to a teacher, the principal, the superintendent, or the president of an individual PTA/PTO organization in each school.
A suggestion for initiating a working relationship with the PTA/PTO would be to donate a set of books, in their name, to the school library using teacher's names as the main characters. Instead of using individual names for friends, type in a phrase like "the third grade class," "his/her third graders" or "the class of 1996," etc. For books that require an additional adult character, insert the principal's or librarian's name. Customize each story line provided as much as possible. It is important to use names of people that most of the children in the school will recognize. Using the head librarian's name, in at least one of the books, may insure her support for getting the book into circulation.
When you do a project like this, you will get to know the president of PTA/PTO. Hopefully the president will get to know your company better. Once the books are donated you can then suggest a form of fund raising for the PTA by using your Create-A-Books. One form of a fund raiser for the PTA might be to hold a book fair. Book fairs can also be used as a fundraiser for the school or the school library. Again, it would be educational to set up your computer and manufacture the books on the spot for the children attending the fair. This type of arrangement is similar to the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program because the children get to choose their own books. And even better, the children can watch their Create-A-Books being published on the spot.
RIF programs generally require corporate sponsorship. (This is how RIF is funded.) Contact the local chapter and request a list of their continuing sponsors.
Another option would be for the PTA/PTO to buy the books for the students, since the funds they earn are usually used to buy things for the children. This is only true if the fund raisers of the past have been successful and the PTA/PTO has money left in the budget.
At the Junior High or Middle School Level:
More schools are developing "Partners in Education" programs in their communities. This involves a 6th or 7th grade level class, a business sponsor and a recipient 2nd or 3rd grade elementary class from a school near by. Check with your Chamber of Commerce to see which companies already have one of these programs in place. Make an appointment with the Company. Your mission is to see if the company would like to give books to the children of the school they are sponsoring. Offer the company a bargain price if they purchase a book for every child in the program. Or, offer a percentage back from every book sold by the junior high class.
- If the school participates in an intramural sports event. Offer the books as a fundraiser for booster clubs.
- Ask if the cheerleading squad, chorus or band has to raise their own money for trips and offer the books as a product they can sell. The sticker books can be sold door-to-door just like candy bars and light bulbs. They would be offering a product with educational integrity and raising the reading level of elementary students in their own communities.
- Donating some titles to a reading lab produces product awareness in the school. Junior high students, with a reading problem, recognize and talk about their successes with teachers, counselors and their parents. Great products get attention and when the attention is positive the community notices.
At the high school Level:
Because government funding for our public schools systems is constantly being cut, high schools are looking for ways to generate funds for all extracurricular activities. Art supplies, science projects, drama and/or music programs as well as athletics and their supporters are being forced to provide their own capital or do without. The state lotteries do not seem to be providing the revenue they projected. Get a list of curriculum items that are losing budget money and make a presentation to the class. (Check the local, state and national sections of your local newspapers to see which government cuts are affecting your schools.)
4-H, FHA, Junior Achievement and many community clubs have clubs in the local high school. Academic clubs are always looking for community involvement ideas. Contact the high school extra curriculum coordinator and set up a time to make a presentation to the club of your choice.
Be creative. One dealer contacted a computer club and donated a copy of the Create-A-Book software for the McGruff book. The students studied the software, then contacted businesses and got sponsors for the program. They then collected the data necessary to complete the books, purchased the inventory from the dealer and successfully carried out the program. They received community recognition for all their hard work. The elementary students each got a free book. Sponsors were delighted by the high school students' ability to carry out the program and the dealer has access to a repeating McGruff program that does not require much work.