Tips when planning a school fundraiser

Piggy bank surrounded by pennies

The following are some helpful tips if students or staff plan to hold a fundraiser this year. Natural disasters that cause widespread damage, such as the recent hurricane Harvey in Texas, often inspire students or staff to want to help by raising money or items for those most affected. Olympia is no exception, as we are such a giving community.

Please remember these tips from Business Manager Justin Lanting when scheduling a fundraiser. Many of these tips are addressed in the ASB Handbook — a comprehensive guide on how to donate and collect funds (see page 28).

We want to make sure any school fundraising event is successful, while also following proper accounting procedures:

If interested in supporting an organization such as an account set up for disaster relief, consider the following:

  • Fraud is rampant during a crisis. Scam artists often set up donation accounts or websites that are specific to a need. Research the website by searching on the Better Business Bureau or state vendor registration. The IRS website also has a search feature, “Exempt Organizations Select Check,” through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible. For additional information about fake charity scams related to Hurricane Harvey specifically, view this IRS news release.
  • Do your research! Learn about the organization you plan to donate to and, when possible, find one that contributes 100% of the donated funds to the cause.
  • If the donation administrator for the organization selected does not accept a credit card payment; you must request a vendor setup in Skyward to issue a check to the vendor after your donation drive.  A W-9 is required.

Things to remember for a school donation drive:

  • Donation drives are considered fundraisers in Washington.  Necessary paperwork is required to be completed.  Approval by Student Council is required.
  • Money must be deposited nightly. Per RCW, schools are required to deposit all funds within 24 hours of receipt.
  • Money can be deposited into a current account (no need to setup a special account).
  • A separate item is required in InTouch to track money donated for a donation drive. When a donation drive is complete, print a detailed revenue report. This can be the source document for issuing a check/warrant.  If paying by credit card, use an item report to show funds have been deposited and are available for donation.
  • If paying by credit card, make sure to factor in the additional cost of processing by the card. The total amount donated cannot exceed the donated amount unless additional monies are allocated via Student Council approval.
  • Some schools have asked if they can accept cash or check donations in a box on the office counter. An OSD-sponsored collection box is not allowed; however, school PTAs may collect donations in a locked drop box, clearly labeled PTA.
  • The “Donate Now” OSD Web portal is an option for individuals wishing to make donations or for a school to use to collect donations. Once the donation drive has been approved by the school, it can be posted in Donate Now (the Donate Now link is on the bottom of every district and school website Home page). This allows our community to contribute via an electronic payment portal with no fee to the donation drive. If interested in this option, contact Business Services at Ext. 6120 to add a specific donation drive to the Donate Now portal.
  • Staff donation drive: The district does not have the ability to collect donations from staff and contribute as a districtwide group to a donation drive. Rather, staff may donate to a student donation campaign, donate themselves to a trusted charity, or collect donations among themselves separate from a school- or district-sponsored activity. If you have questions about staff donations, please contact the Business Office at Ext. 6120.