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!

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.



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”