by Lori Barnum

It’s time to fund raise! Where do you start and how can you reach as many donors as possible? In today’s world there is a myriad of ways to get the word out. Whether you are a president of the PTA or a club leader on campus – utilizing what is at your fingertips is crucial.

Let’s begin. Understanding your customer is extremely important. The person you are marketing to is the parent. What do we know about parents? Parents want the best for their children. They are dedicated and, if it benefits their child, they are in! Like a parent I personally love to donate and participate financially as long as I know it is going for a good cause. I want to know that my hard-earned money has purpose. Often as a donor I write a check or give cash hoping it will actually get into the hands of the people we want to help. For me, it’s important I know how my money is going to be used and I believe everyone else feels the same.

So, with that in mind…

  1. Let your donors know EXACTLY how their money will be used. Whether it is by video, text, by email or on a website – be clear. Be sure to use that money as you specified. If things change and you no longer need an electronic sign but need to purchase applications for teachers, let your donors know. This creates trust and in the future that honesty pays off for future donations.
  2. Decide on a campaign beginning and end date.
  3. Utilize websites like to create a video explaining your needs and share the campaign URL with your parents/donors                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           (use this list and check off each as you go).
  • You can post this URL on your school or club website
  • Send the link to your parents in an email. Also, encourage your parents to forward their email to grandparents or others they think would want to participate.
  • Send the URL through a text
  • Provide the URL through Classroom Dojo, Google Classroom or other application
  • Post the URL on the ASB/Student Body forum/page
  • Advise of the campaign through announcements – via speaker or electronic sign
  • Notify through any other form of electronic communication you or your school has with your parents or donors such as a phone dialer. A message from your principal is very powerful!
  • It is very important to let them know that ANY donation large or small is greatly appreciated.

 Add the link to all communication so it is super easy to simply click into your campaign room.

  • Go “old” school. We are overwhelmed with emails and messages. Try simply sending a flyer home. Encourage the students to get the flyers into their parents hands. As you distribute them to their teachers, add a note asking the teachers to tell the students that this flyer is important because it directly affects them.
  • Posters with clear requests at drop off, pick-up, at your door or in the office. Concise is important. “Financial Donations needed for our Campus” and provide a list of items you will be using their money for with the website address.
  • Have students holding posters at drop off and pick up with the website address or a jar for “car change.” Every little bit matters!
  • Ask Community Groups (Lions, Kiwanis, Veterans, Women’s Groups) if you can post on their websites or bulletin boards of your campaign.
  • Check with your local government. Some towns have a website for public announcements.

Remember – don’t stick with just one form of communication. Use them all! It may feel repetitive but it will get the word out and it’s surprising how much we miss!

Hope this helps!

You are excited about adding meditation to your curriculum and you know your students will benefit but you need to provide resources for the concerned parents. Parents need to be reassured that you are not teaching a religion or going to introduce something new to their child that will confuse them. Parents have enough hard to explain topics to deal with and they certainly don’t need to deal with one more so communication and resources are a must. I’ve combed the internet and there are great resources either printable to hand out or links to provide through an email to your parents.

My favorite articles for myself and parents is:

Meditation for Children:

There are a ton of great videos – I use:

Effects of Meditation in the Classroom (great for parents):

How Does Meditation Change the Brain – Egghead #54  (Upper grades):

For the younger students (Lower grades) : is great to introduce mindfulness meditation.


I LOVE COLLABORATION! If you find exceptional videos or articles please share them with me on Go Empathy on Facebook or Go_Empathy on Instagram.

by Lori Barnum



Parents – if you are reading this perhaps you have a teacher introducing mindful meditation into their classroom and you want to better understand mindful meditation or maybe you are a home schooling parent and you need tools to get your child to refocus and be on task. Awesome! Your child is going to benefit in HUGE ways and I am truly excited for you.

What is ‘mindfulness,’ and why is it important? Mindfulness is an opportunity for self-reflection and has a large range of profound effects. With consistent practice mindfulness can physically change the human brain. MRI scans show after 8 weeks of practicing mindfulness the amygdala, or the ‘flight or fright’ portion of the brain, shrinks. The amygdala is the primal region of the brain that deals with fear and emotion. By practicing mindfulness a person can experience a decrease in stress hormones, less negative emotions and increases a person’s ability to deal with stress. It increases awareness, concentration and decision-making. As the amygdala shrinks the rest of brain begins to make greater connections associated with attention and concentration.

Now, that’s just one part of the brain. Meditating develops the hippocampus (empathy and self-control), pons (sleep), the temporal parietal junction (selflessness) and the Posterior Cingulate (focus). It is exercise for the brain. We teach our children to eat well for a strong mind and body but for the brain we have to more than just limit junk foods and sugar. Meditation is key.

Mindfulness also works on impulse control and its really great to children to recognize when their attention has wandered. Students suffering from focusing issues, anxiety disorder, depression, ADD or ADHD would benefit from learning to be aware of their body, breathing and their thoughts. If these processes go  unchecked, it can exacerbate their symptoms.  Mindfulness is a practice and over time results can be seen.

In my classroom I share the following:

My favorite article is:

Meditation: The Key to Your Happiness. There is a plethora of articles to the left side of the website and scroll down to the bottom for a ton more. GREAT INFO!

and Meditation for Children:

There are a ton of great videos:

An overall understanding of why education is moving toward meditation curriculum. Effects of Meditation in the Classroom –

For your older child: How Does Meditation Change the Brain – Egghead #54 –

For the younger children – is great to introduce mindfulness meditation.

Supporting your child in this will provide them long lasting benefits. I tell my students, “Take these tools with you into life because life will throw you some curves. Pick up these tools and use them and you will develop grit and be happier.”


by Lori Barnum


The key to successful fundraising on campus is finding quick, easy and fun activities that the students will want to participate in. I have found that utilizing trends is a great way to raise money.

Jumping in on trends has been quite profitable. When my children were in elementary school and those little tiny butterfly clips were REALLY popular I bought them in bulk and repackaged them at 5x the cost and made extra cash for the PTO. Then, as a teacher, when Flash Mobs were a huge trend, I organized a Flash Mob at my Junior High School for the American Cancer Society. We did a mash-up of 3 songs and choreographed an easy dance for the students. I posted the dance and encouraged the students to get their parents and siblings involved. We practiced during our lunches and though, at times, it was an organizational nightmare with the amount of students involved, the kids had a great time together. The day of the Cancer Walk the weather was horrible. It was 45 degrees out and with the wind factor – it felt like 20. I was standing at our local high school’s football field absolutely sure no one was going to show. At 11:00 a.m. I put the music on and to my surprise the kids and their parents came out of the crowd and filled half the track and stopped the Cancer Walk in its tracks. People were shouting, “It’s a flash mob! It’s a flash mob!” Everyone came running snapping pictures and my students and their families loved it. We raised several hundred dollars for the American Cancer Society and made memories doing it!

I made very easy money organizing a Mannequin Challenge for Wreath’s Across America. A great organization that honors those who have served by placing a wreath on their grave during the holidays. I charged $3 for the students to be in the video and we filmed it during our long Homeroom/Advisory time. The students wanted to be part of a trend so the majority of the school participated along with teachers and administrators. It was a blast. I put it on YouTube (  and our students now have a fun memory from middle school. It raised over $1,950.00 in 1 hour. My effort was a little advertising, getting parent permission slips out to the students for photography authorization and some instruction for the teachers on student release and video upload. I gave the filming and editing to the Media Arts Class so the the video is entirely student made.

That was it. It was eerie to have so many students around me not making a sound and it was awesome! This would be great if you have a “theme” week at school.

Yes, watch trends! Try and think of ways to utilize what is popular. It’s a money maker.



by Lori Barnum
Creating Fun on Campus While Raising Funds

How is it used?

Students can buy a Campus Card for a designated amount which can be punched or initialed by a teacher for a certain activity within their classroom. As an example, a teacher can give a student a homework pass for 1 punch or initial, 2 initials to get out of the mile or 3 initials to not dress out for PE. It can also be used to get to the front of the lunch line or the snack cart. If teachers were to be concerned that students could perhaps “buy” a grade then simply don’t connect it to the gradebook and use it in other creative ways. For instance, the teacher could allow a student to use their card to choose their own work group, sit by another student or as a pass. As well, a teacher could purchase a few cards and use them as a reward for a student that made huge strides within their classroom or as a reward for attendance. General Rules are printed on the back and that all staff agreed to.

The student can show love and generosity amongst their peers by sharing their card or donating additional money which would allow a student in need to have a card sponsored for them.

How much money can we raise?

If the card were to sell for $10 (for 10 punches/initials) and there were 700 students on campus and the expectation would be 80% of the students would buy a card – the profit would be $5,600 per campaign. That would be $11,200 raised in the year for the fall and spring less the cost of printing.

The beauty of this fundraiser is that the rules are decided by the teachers and administration and they can be as creative as they want! The students can use these cards when they’ve had a rough week or find themselves overwhelmed.

It’s a win-win all around.

It is an easy document to create in Word or you can find an editable document for this card at:

Tough Teaching Day? Have Them Meditate

(2 to 3 minutes is all you need)

By Lori Barnum


There are a lot of tough teaching days. Sometimes those diversions are fire drills, the day before break, state testing stress, or myriad of other distractions.

I use this easy, quick 2 to 3 minute technique to bring calm to my classroom.

I saw meditation work best on my least favorite holiday. Halloween. Halloween is one of the worst dreaded days of the year to teach. The students’ minds are on their costumes, their evening plans and the excitement of a pillow case full of candy. Getting the kids to focus is especially tough if they have already started hitting the sugar at home. I also have a lot of curriculum to get through so I don’t like to fill those days with meaningless activities. As usual, this last Halloween the kids came into classroom loud, rambunctious and full of energy and, truthfully, I came to work with a pretty negative attitude expecting, well…just that. I got through first period and realized there was a strong possibility it would not be a productive day. It was only 8:45 a.m. and the energy had become overwhelming. I needed to uses my chaos to calm method of classroom management.

After my second period loudly shuffled in I turned off my lights. I told the students that we were going to take a few minutes to regroup and refocus. I had them close their eyes and take deep breaths from their belly. I asked that as they exhaled if they would release all the excess energy and tell themselves to relax.




The silence was deafening. You could feel the shift in energy and the relief in their body language that they were given a moment to calm themselves. They wanted the peace. They wanted to focus. With the lights off I told them that I was going to turn the lights back on and what expectations I had for them. I allowed a few more moments and then I turned on the lights and continued my lesson. The energy had shifted. They got to work and worked hard. I used this for every period throughout my day and the kids truly appreciated it.

There are some days that the kids recognize they feel overwhelmed and ask to meditate. I love their self-awareness.

An empathy opportunity extension to “Student of the Day”

A fun and easy fundraising idea.