Grant Watch: Fundraising Tips Part Two

by Abby @ Quaver on April 12, 2012

in At Quaver HQ,Grant Watch

Jim Estes is back again with Part Two of his Fundraising series. Jim is an elementary music teacher who uses Quaver’s School Program in his Florida classroom. When we heard of Jim’s success raising funds for his classroom, we invited him to share!

Take it away, Jim!



The number one ingredient for successful fundraising is parental assistance.

Administration of a fundraising project in addition to regular teaching duties is very difficult, if not impossible! But it IS possible to do it all with some help, and it IS possible to get that help when and where you need it.

Don’t believe me? Here’s some proof!

How my band program raised $8,000 selling discount coupon books,
and I hardly did anything during the sale. 

  • Every year, I ask my band parents to commit to providing $100 per student to our band program – through fundraising or donation. This sets us up for success, and motivates everyone to work hard :).
  • Once a year, we do a big sale of Enjoy the City coupon books.
    • The books sell for $20 and we get 50% profit.
    • The coupons are tailored to local businesses in our area.
    • Great coupons + attractive price = easy sale!
  • I motivate the kids in the following ways:
    • Sell 5 books and you are invited to a PIZZA PARTY
    • Sell 10 books and you get a $10 gift card to TARGET
    • Cash Drawing:  $50, $25 and 5 X $5 prizes
  • The sale is run by 2-3 volunteers for just 2 weeks!
  • Then another parent with strong bookkeeping skills helps tally the orders and (with more parent help) packages the books for students to distribute.

This sale runs the same time every year and has grown from $2000 profit the first year to $8000 profit last year (5th or 6th year).  I have parents and teachers who ask when the sale will start and often buy multiple books to give as gifts.

With this money, I’m able to finance my band program’s Technique Classes.  I hire teachers to come to the school once a week and teach group classes to like-instrument classes (i.e. beginning flutes, advanced clarinets, etc).

I attribute the success of our band program in large part to the financial resources generated by this fundraiser.

Tips for generating parent support!

To build enthusiastic parent support you first have to establish yourself as being a highly competent teacher.  This may seem obvious, but it is so crucial to building a support group that it must be mentioned.


Establishing yourself as an outstanding teacher begins with your own competence! Here are some ideas for setting yourself up for success, by establishing your credibility with others:

  • Build your skills as a teacher through attendance at workshops.
  • Network with other successful teachers, observe them in their element, think outside the music field!
  • Develop your own musicianship through performances and continued study/practice.
  • Make sure you let people know you do these things. In every program I print at school, I include my bio.  In addition to my training and performance experiences, I include my current activities as a performer and a teacher. When one of my trumpet students is first chair at All-State, you can bet I mention it prominently in the program and in newsletters.


As you build your reputation within your community, begin mass communication with your parents.

  • Be sure to check your district’s policies on these types of communication.
  • Try to keep your communication with parents only, and always with a professional tone. 
  • Set up a webpage for your class! Share links to important music websites (like!) and relevant YouTube videos!
  • Ask for parent email addresses! I send periodic newsletters to this email list, in addition to the occasional messages sent to our schoolwide database.

Your students’ performances are the most important factor in parental support.  When parents see the results of your teaching in their children’s performances and in their enthusiasm for music, they are much more likely to give you their time, energy and expertise.

Remember the greatest idea can fail if you don’t have the proper parent support to handle the nuts and bolts of the project.

Share your best fundraising tips in the comments below!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindy Austin April 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Just one word… SMENCILS – you have to go check them out for yourself!


2 Abby @ Quaver April 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for the tip!


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