How a Simple Fundraising Effort Turned Into So Much More by Jamie Stevens

How a Simple Fundraising Effort Turned Into So Much More by Jamie Stevens


I recently organized a raffle to benefit my children’s school. What started as a simple fundraising effort turned into so much more! My two children attend Amy Biehl Community School, a public elementary school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have the pleasure of serving as Vice President of our school PTC (Parent Teacher Community). Being a publicly funded school, there are significant budgetary shortfalls and our PTC strives to fill in the gaps where funds are needed. Fundraising is a necessity, and a unique challenge faced by schools nationwide. In the past, we have employed the use of third party fundraising companies. Our students have sold items out of a catalog, cookie dough, chocolate bars, and a number of other goods to raise the additional funding needed for a successful school year. The goods sold tend to be of a lesser quality and our school only nets a portion of the proceeds. In addition, many parents have objected to these kinds of sales. For the 2015- 2016 school year, our PTC decided to try a different approach.

First of all, we wanted a fundraiser in which our school kept the entire net of profits. Secondly, we wanted our raffle ticket fundraiser to encourage the involvement of our community. We are, after all, a community school! Finally, it had to be something fun for our students and manageable for their families. We decided to hold a raffle. We solicited donations of goods and services from local businesses such as restaurants, salons, etc. We also offered a grand prize of $500 in cash. To our surprise and delight, many local businesses happily donated to our cause and supported our concept of community interaction. We created a banner with the logos of all the businesses that donated prizes and displayed it in our school lobby as a way to both thank and promote these local businesses. Thanks to the fantastic value of the tickets purchased at, we were able to put on this raffle at a cost of less than $1500! We priced our raffle tickets at $5 each. We received lots of positive feedback at this new approach to fundraising at our school. Our families did their part by selling an extraordinary number of tickets, and we were ultimately able to raise more than our goal in ticket sales for our school!

We conducted our raffle drawing in conjunction with our first annual Fall Festival, which we held at our school. This large community event offered a multitude of attractions for the kids such as face painting, carnival games, and a zombie obstacle course. Because it was close to Halloween, we encouraged costumes for all ages and had a costume contest, held right before we drew our raffle winners. The Fall Festival was a fantastic success and offered a complimentary income to our raffle proceeds. The raffle drawing was great fun and our prize winners were so thrilled! Between the raffle and the Fall Festival, we were able to raise nearly $15,500, all of which directly benefited our school. We gave a brand new iPod touch to our top selling student and a pizza party to the top selling class. In addition, we gave 2 movie tickets to any student selling five books of tickets or more and an ice cream party to classes who sold more than $750. It was so much fun to celebrate with our hard working students!

Coordinating our first raffle took hours of planning and execution, With the help and hard work of the PTC, parent volunteers, students, teachers, school staff, and community members, we were able to raise the money we needed to fund our PTC’s activities such as field trips, teacher stipends, science fair, gloves and hats for our students in need, healthy snacks for every student participating in after school tutoring and standardized testing, and so much more. Because of this unique collaboration, we more than just made money for our school, we connected as a community. I was honored to lead our group in this endeavor and proud to help in the effort of providing resources and funding for my children’s school.

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Contributed by Jamie Stevens

December 21, 2015

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