Fundraising for school clubs: challenges and advice


Photo by Ryan Rong

Each school year, many clubs and organizations at Naperville North High School run fundraisers to support their programs. Whether it’s a sport, academic organization or creative club, some clubs rely on the sale of items like candy bars and poinsettias to generate additional funds. However, some fundraisers can present their own set of challenges for the students and staff members involved.

Nicholas Janssen, the department chair and sponsor of Naperville North’s show choirs, says that fundraisers are essential for extracurricular activities if they receive limited funding from the school. Over the years, show choirs at North have relied on fundraising to support the development of their program.

“Extracurricularly, fundraisers are extremely significant because we are self-funded…So as a result, we fundraise a lot and all year long to make those opportunities more affordable to students and to be able to provide our students with the opportunity to do things that we want to do,” Janssen said.

Successfully running a fundraiser at North follows a particular process. First, an organization must receive approval from Student Activities by filling out a fundraising request, then they must coordinate with third parties when necessary to spread the word and finally ensure that the event runs smoothly. Under-Secretary-General of Finance for NNHS Model UN Sarah Riemer describes the process as a brief yet cumbersome one, especially during the later stages. Specifically, Reimer describes planning a fundraiser at MOD Pizza in Naperville. 

“There’s just a lot of steps along the way, particularly towards the end,” said Riemer. 

However, this process—and the prospect of fundraiser failure—is often frustrating. Janssen says that the ability of a student’s immediate community to contribute to their fundraiser is a determining factor in their success. 

“Honestly, the students that need a lot of help with fundraisers don’t necessarily have a community around them that can afford to participate in those fundraisers, so it makes it much more difficult for them to get those funds,” Janssen said.

Communication and support for fundraisers can make the process easier. Reimer says that promoting a fundraiser early is the key to success.

“If I could go back in time, one thing I’d do differently is to do even more advertising and really try to get the word out sooner,” Reimer said.

For a successful fundraiser, some students advise that finding an item with student appeal helps to incentivize those who aren’t club members to support them. Sam Falkman, an NNHS senior and student board member of the Best Buddies club, says that fundraising through activities students often enjoy, such as going out to eat, is a great way to increase contributions.

“Do something that people are willing to do. It’s an opportunity for people to hang out with their friends and even for us, it’s an opportunity to get your best buddy to appear and go out on a monthly event. Finding an event that appeals to all really helps the fundraisers.” Falkman said.

Janssen says that despite some of the headaches and challenges fundraising can present, a successful fundraiser can serve a greater purpose and enrich a community beyond financial support.

“Any fundraiser that is going to serve a larger purpose than just raising funds is going to not only be the best benefit for your group, but it’s also the ones bringing the highest amount of dollars,” Janssen said.