Does the word send shivers up your spine? Maybe make you feel a bit queasy?
The cost of student travel is often one of the biggest hurdles for educators, students and families. While fundraising can be hard work, the benefits of student travel are worth the effort. Educators who have traveled with Educational Tours, Inc., offer the following tips and ideas to help make raising funds more efficient and effective.
COMMUNICATE THE VALUE OF STUDENT TRAVEL
Parents might be so focused on the cost of a student trip that they forget about the value. Many parents might argue they could provide a similar travel experience for their student on a family vacation—for a lower price tag.
“Sometimes, you just have to do the math for them and explain group travel is different than family travel,” said Jennifer Orkisz from Davison High School in Michigan.
GIVE FAMILIES PLENTY OF TIME
“For my community, we need the benefit of time to make these trips happens,” said Joshua Sholler from Reading Music Department in Michigan. “We plan our trips two years out and begin fundraising at that time. This allows our families two years to save, fundraise and use tax refund money.”
USE PAYMENT PLANS TO HELP SPREAD THE COST OUT OVER TIME
Lyle Sobba from Garden City High School in Kansas notes his school spreads payments out as long as they possibly can, sometimes splitting the total cost into as many as nine payments. “Our goal is for students to be able to properly budget and pay for themselves.”
BE RELEVANT TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Successful fundraising looks different in every community, and it’s important to tailor your efforts to your community’s needs.
“Try to make your fundraisers unique to your organization and something that your community was already going to buy but would be happy to buy it from you,” said Sholler.
Selling items like magazine subscriptions, fruit, pizza kits, flowers, candy bars and more are a great way for students to earn cash—yet the market can be a bit saturated.
“Try to find something that nobody else in your school sells,” said Paul Nielsen from Grayslake North High School in Illinois.
Also consider the timing of sales. Orksiz notes her groups successfully sell pies before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“Projects that are work-based are the most effective for my school,” said Eric Hansen from Harper Creek High School Choirs in Michigan. The students work at the county fair and a car show, and money is donated to the choir program.
“The excellence we demonstrate in our community work also helps to build the reputation of the choir and the district,” he said.
You don’t necessarily have to team up with a business or organization for work projects, either. Students can sell services such as babysitting, yard work, cleaning and more.
If your community isn’t interested in buying goods or services, consider hosting an event, such as a dinner or auction. You could make it relevant to your trip’s purpose or destination. For instance, student performance groups could organize and sell tickets to a concert.
“Stick with what works,” Hansen said. “Be consistent so the community looks to you for that item each year.”
Once you have an established fundraiser in your community, it gets easier to raise the funds you need to make student travel possible.
Written by Educational Tours, Inc.