School Business Affairs July-August 2020

12 JULY/AUGUST 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS FORECASTING AND FUNDING VECTORMINE/STOCK.ADOBE.COM F or decades, school districts, district foundations, parent–teacher associations, and booster clubs have relied on fundraising to supplement stu- dent activities and community programs. How- ever, the targets of fundraising—local businesses and the community as a whole—have reached a point of satura- tion, commonly known as “fundraising fatigue.” Schools have traditionally raised money to meet some of their unmet needs through bake sales, candy and wrapping paper sales, raffles, and PTA auctions, among others; however, two major problems with traditional school fundraising have persisted: • It’s labor intensive and inefficient. Students, teachers, and parents spend a good deal of time selling prod- ucts to raise a small amount of money. • It reflects income disparities. Wealthy communities can raise a lot of money to cover classroom needs, whereas low-income communities fundraise far less. Although there are several alternatives to traditional fun- draising endeavors, one strategy in particular has been gaining traction in the education arena: crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the practice of financing a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people. Recent statistics indicate that more than $34 billion has been raised worldwide through crowdfunding, and the popularity of this financing tool continues to grow. How can school district leaders leverage the benefit of crowdfunding for their schools while maintaining inter- nal controls and student protection? A Fundraising Alternative: Crowdfunding Best Practices Leveraging the benefits of crowdfunding while maintaining internal controls and student protection. By James Westrum, CPA, CSRM, RSBA, SFO and Jim Yale