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Many schools and student organizations across the United States hold fundraisers to bring in money for activities, trips and supplies for a specific school or classroom. These fundraisers vary from activities and events hosted by the school or parents association to selling products, food or candy bars. While the main focus of these fundraisers is on the school making money, it’s also possible for an entrepreneur to make a living while helping groups raise money with a school fundraising company.
Establish a business plan. Learn about the school fundraising industry, and conduct an analysis to ensure there is enough demand for a new company to be successful based on your location and your competition. Determine the amount of money needed to start a school fundraising company, and write a timeline of tasks and dates for turning the company into a profitable business. Consult the website of the Michigan Small Business Development Center for a guide to assist you in writing your business plan as well as several examples you can use as references to how your business plan should look.
Obtain financing. Check with a loan officer from a local bank or credit union to learn if you qualify for business loans to start your school fundraising company. Know that the bank or credit union will base their decision on your credit score, credit history and feasibility of your business plan. Learn about guaranteed and low-interest loans available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) by visiting their website. Apply for these loans or take on a business partner if a bank or credit union won’t approve you for a loan.
Register your business. Complete the forms from your state and local department of revenues to collect and pay sales tax on the money your company makes selling products through school fundraisers. Register your business at the federal level with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by calling 800-829-4933 or completing an online form on the IRS’s website to obtain a federal tax identification number. Make sure you are legal to operate in your city or county by applying for a local business license.
Prepare your company. Determine what type of fundraisers you provide for schools to complete and raise money for their students as well as what percentage of money raised the school receives in return. Obtain suppliers for products or food sold, and set prices on the products based on your expenses as well as the percentage of sales you give back to the school. Create the catalogs and brochures schools use to sell your products as well as the sales forms and financial records they need to maintain and turn in for you to process.
Promote your business. Send information about your school fundraising company to school administrators and ask them to pass on the information to coaches, teachers and club sponsors who are often in need of fundraising ideas for their team, class or organization. Provide parent teacher associations (PTAs) with information as well since they often hold fundraisers for their students. Create a website that ranks high in search engines for school fundraising, and use social networking via Facebook and Twitter to reach out to high school and college student organizations who may be interested in fundraising opportunities.
- Back to school! image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com