Contribulet Webinar: Tips for a Successful School Fundraiser

In Contribulet’s first ever webinar, Sunnyvale Middle School Teacher Brian Brown talked about his school’s recent fundraising event and shared some of his tips for running a successful school fundraiser. Brian has thirteen years of teaching experience and has recently organized fundraising events that involved students, families, teachers, and the community.

The Basics of Sunnyvale’s Contribulet Fundraiser:


  • Roughly sixteen participating restaurants.
  • 503 total users, 113 active users.
  • Some were parents, but most were students.

Active users are defined by people who not only downloaded app but engaged with it by earning points for their team. Users earned points by downloading the app, attending restaurant events, and checking in and posting on social media.

The Results:

  • Over $2,300 earned for the school.
  • $20.79 average donation per active user.

At the end of the webinar, we asked Brian, “What are the top three things a school can do to run a successful fundraiser?” Based on his response and the contents of the full webinar, here’s what you can learn from Brian’s successful fundraiser:

1. Incentivize: Brian identified competition and reward as one way to do this. Students divided into teams of about ninety students created from homeroom classrooms across all three grade levels. They used a Winter Olympics theme to name the teams. To add to the incentive factor, the top three teams earned an after school celebration complete with bounce houses! This was a well attended event. Contribulet is built around the preexisting incentive that kids get to use their phones to connect, compete, and help raise money for their school. When 42% of the school’s population participates in a fundraiser, this indicates an effective and user-friendly format. Since they are already so engaged with technology, students are happy to participate.

2. Generate Excitement: This task is much easier when you are generating a product people are excited to buy. Families have to eat, kids love their technology, and who can resist a little friendly competition? That being said, a big part of any kind of fundraiser is publicizing and communicating. People need to hear something multiple times before it sinks in, and this is not just specific to middle school students. To advertise, Sunnyvale turned to the PTSA because many of the most active parents could help get this info out, but email blasts, Spartan TV (the school announcement system), flyers on campus, and the Contribulet app all played key roles in spreading the word. Sunnyvale staff used multiple modes of communication to explain how to use the fundraiser to full potential. For example, students made videos explaining how to download and use the app and those were used along with videos made by Contribulet. A leadership team traveled to different homerooms to explain the fundraiser and to keep checking in. Directions were also provided in writing. To create a successful event, it needs to become an area of focus!

3. Be Organized: Working with Contribulet means eliminating common organization problems. For example, Sunnyvale could measure active users by totaling how many kids downloaded the app. This is much more organized and effective than something like a magazine fundraiser where every kid gets the packet, but who knows how many of them end up in the trash can after the assembly. This type of fundraiser is also more organized than a restaurant night, for example, because Contribulet takes on a large majority of the process of soliciting local restaurants, which relieves parents or staff members of that time commitment and effort. Sunnyvale surveyed students about which restaurants they were most likely to enjoy with their families and the results of this survey helped narrow down some universally popular choices amongst the school population. Some restaurants, like Chipotle, donated a much higher percentage of their total sales than others, which led us to realize the importance of considering which businesses to target for participation. Finally, pick a good night for your event. Avoid times like holiday breaks and instead plan on picking a night of the week when families are already in town and school is in session. Brian reports that throughout the process, open communication with Contribulet through weekly meetings and frequent emails and texts kept everything running smoothly, resulting in a fundraiser worth celebrating!

Watch the recording of the 5/10 webinar here

Want to know more? Join an expert group of fundraisers for a panel discussion in our upcoming webinar.

What: “Fundraising in The Bay Area” – A Live Panel Discussion

Who: Anne Marie Meacham, Bev Lenihan, Josh SeloWhen: June 5th 11:00am-11:30am PST, live on

Contribulet’s Facebook page.

RSVP for an exciting opportunity to discuss how fundraising is evolving in the Bay Area and to learn what these individuals are doing to address some of the challenges they’re seeing today.