High School Fundraising Guide

Welcome to our High School Fundraising Guide!

After years of organising playdates and squeezing in time to be a part of your child’s school life, high school arrives. You no longer seem wanted in the school grounds. There’s no after-school care – just a myriad of after-school activities and homework; and your teen definitely does not want you involved in their social life. That is sooo uncool!

It’s enough to make you want to sit back and think “Well I’ve done my bit”.

FACT: Research shows that the best performing students in high school are those whose parents remain involved in their education, irrespective of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background or parents’ own education. (University of Chicago)

FACT: Entering high school is actually the most challenging time in a student’s life. (Sydney Morning Herald, 18 January 2010)

Despite what the kids say, involved parents ease the transition.

Well-known child psychologist Dr John Irvine says:

“Don’t go it alone. Parents need to meet other parents at the high school so they have a reference group to check things with.” (Okay – to me that says ‘get involved with the P&C’)

“Take an active interest in your teen’s school work and activities. Attend school events; get to know teachers.”

Wait until I tell my kids that fundraising and volunteering at school will be a part of my parental charter until they graduate! Are you up for the challenge? This guide shares ways to identify the right fundraiser for your high school audience, overcome volunteer burnout (common among parents of high schoolers) and how to introduce fundraising to a new generation.

Who is this guide for?

Fundraising in the secondary school market is a hard nut to crack unless:

  1. it’s cause-related or,
  2. students (and to a lesser extent, parents) see that there’s something in it for them directly or,
  3. it’s social.

Within high schools, there are often three distinct volunteer fundraising streams:

  1. The parents’ group (P&C/P&F);
  2. Students running a business venture as an assignment;
  3. Students raising money for a cause.

These groups have different target audiences. Different products will work for them too. But the fundamentals apply to all three.

It’s hard to engage teens, but high school fundraising doesn’t have to be a riddle wrapped in an enigma. We go through the cycle of fundraising, especially targeted for this difficult-to-reach audience.

See Part II: Setting SMART Goals for successful high school fundraising.


Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers. Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun).

Follow the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook page to take part in great information sharing with Australia’s school and club volunteers. 

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