PTOs are Asking Parents for Straight Cash Over Traditional Fundraising

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ANKENY, Iowa – Parent Teacher Organizations, PTOs, are fundraising for schools in a new way.

Instead of selling cookie dough, wrapping paper, coupons, etc. -- schools are now asking for money.

Westwood Elementary PTO President Lara Guldenpfennig said their school asks for online donations.

“We basically raise money online. Using an online website, and the kids can have an account made for each of them. And then parents will send out emails on their behalf,” Guldenpfennig said.

Last year was the first year Westwood Elementary stopped traditional fundraising methods, and started a new one called the “Warrior Challenge.”

The Challenge is an outdoor obstacle course that the majority of the community participates in.

In 2016, Westwood Elementary raised $40,000 from the Warrior Challenge. This year the school raised $22,500, which Guldenpfennig said was the goal.

PTO Vice President for Westwood Elementary School Chris Reimann said asking for money is easier.

“It’s more efficient, with the money raised, with 100 percent of the funds going back into the school. Whereas you do a catalogue fundraiser and some of those businesses, they do have good opportunity to raise funds for the school. We just felt it was a more efficient way for us to raise money, and use the money that we did raise,” Reimann said.

Jessica Richter, Eason Elementary parent, said the school does a fun run.

“We can donate on behalf of our kids. We get a link to a website we can share on social media for family and friends to donate directly on behalf of our kids. No selling and delivering of stuff. It is amazing and they have been successful raising money and engaging the kids in a fun activity,” Richter said.

Beth Loomis, Central Iowa Christian School parent, said the school does a few different fundraisers.

“We do a few fundraisers (scratch cupcakes, butter braids) and several restaurant nights throughout the year. Local restaurants give us a percentage of sales during a specific time frame,” Loomis said.

Westwood Elementary PTO uses the money raised for art supplies, teacher supplies, school functions and more.