Posted on May 27, 2014 under EFS Blog

School fundraising ideas from Effective Fundraising Solutions“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” –Charles Schultz

Great message, Mr. Schultz. A little chocolate every now and then certainly doesn’t hurt; this is one of the messages we always try to convey when talking about fundraisers. You can’t flip a switch and change habits overnight, and the USDA agrees! The “Smart Snacks” rule or HHFKA bill effective on July 1, 2014 allows for a special exemption “for the purpose of conducting infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers.”

Bake sales, cookies, chocolate bars, cookie dough are just a few of the popular fundraising items that PTOs/PTAs and other organizations rely on to raise funds and are important to the success of many of these programs.

The new USDA rules ban public schools from selling or serving anything that nutritionally qualifies as “junk food.” As of this coming July, foods with trans-fats or those with greater than 35% sugar and/or fat content will not be offered in school vending machines, student-run snack bars, or school lunches. Elementary and middle school drinks served or sold will be limited to water, skim or 1% milk, and 100% fruit and vegetable juices. Additionally, schools are forbidden from marketing unhealthy foods, whether on vending machines or on sponsored billboards or equipment—a policy which centers on the idea that if schools can’t sell certain products, they shouldn’t be able to advertise them, either.

Because of this new ban, the general public has been misinformed and led to believe that fundraising food—such as chocolate—will henceforth not be allowed. This isn’t the case! The U.S. Department of Agriculture specifies that “a special exemption to the [Smart Snacks in School] standards is allowed for foods and beverages […] which are sold for the purpose of conducting infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers.” The USDA recognizes that fundraising is an advantageous and often necessary means of bringing in revenue. Food fundraisers offer children a healthy representation of what it means to treat themselves on occasion, as opposed to perceiving these treats as a regular part of their diets. That’s not to mention the success that consistently results from food-related fundraising efforts, which are popular not only amongst children, but also amongst parents, faculty, coaches, and other staff members.

Organizations such as World’s Finest Chocolate, the country’s leading chocolate fundraising company, have preexisting policies in place that ensure their products are sold only after school hours and not within the school campuses themselves (therefore qualifying as “off campus fundraising,” wherein food fundraising is always allowed). World’s Finest is also making strides in promoting nutritional wellness and portion control, teaching and enthusing children to understand that what they’re putting into their bodies matters to their health.

Food fundraisers have been employed for decades, and with good reason: because they work. Thus, as this policy goes into effect this July, your schools are welcome to fundraise away, though we suggest doing so through a trusted vendor who understands the ins and outs of truly effective fundraising. Our experts at Effective Fundraising Solutions support the movement away from unhealthy foods in school systems, but also recognize that treats should be treated as such and can be transformed into profit so that your schools, teams, and organizations are able to improve and provide greater opportunities for students. Get started with helping your school to better fund its resources and clubs by contacting EFS today.