school fundraising

From bake sales to casino nights, you’ve probably tried your share of school fundraising ideas. And they all take up a lot of your time. First you have to come up with the idea (which is probably what you’re doing now), then pitch the idea and get other people on board, and then pick a date, and then figure out everything that has to get done and then figure out who will do it and assign the tasks…. it’s enough to make your head spin.

Sometimes you don’t even make enough money to justify all the effort you put in. And the worst part is, you’ll have to do it all again next year.

What if there was another way to add money to your budget instead of relying on school fundraising events? One that keeps working for you month after month, with little effort on your part.

An easy private school fundraising idea that keeps working for the long term

Here’s a smart alternative to traditional school fundraising: cutting your printing costs. You can also make money by charging a minimal fee for printing. Just like colleges do.

Schools often don’t track how much money they are spending on paper, toner, ink, and printer service (which is usually based on the number of prints). If they do track spending on printing, they don’t realize there is a way to control it and reduce it.

Students certainly do need the ability to print. However, unsecured school printers are used for non-academic purposes much more than you realize. Plus, there is a great deal of waste that costs significant money.

Here’s a two-step strategy that can help your school manage out-of-control printing, take back wasted spend, and add the savings to your budget so you can skip the school fundraising events next year.

STEP 1: Cut your school’s operating expenses with managed printing

Managed printing is a way of controlling access to printers, monitoring behavior, setting rules for printing, and other strategies that cut down on printing waste. This is not just for students – controlling staff printing is just as important.

Here’s how it works:

  • Everyone gets an account with a print code (your IT staff call this “user authentication”). When they send a print job, they enter the code at the printer to retrieve it.
  • With user authentication set up, people can no longer print documents and forget to pick them up (this common practice wastes LOTS of paper, ink and toner and drives up service costs).
  • You now have a way to monitor print behavior and track who prints what. Just spread the word that you are tracking printing. You’ll be amazed at how people change their wasteful habits when they know you are watching.
  • Managed print software also lets you set printing rules that cut down on waste. For example, defaulting to double-sided printing and black and white for most print jobs. People can change the settings when needed, but you’ll save a lot on ink and toner because color costs 4 to 5 times more than black and white.
  • BONUS: Controlled printing also makes your school network more secure from hackers, and eliminates the risk of sensitive information being left on the printer.

You’re probably wondering how much all of this costs… after all, you’re trying to raise money for your school, not spend more! The good news is, if you have modern multifunction printers, you may already have managed print software included with your equipment. Even if you don’t, the software is inexpensive and you will save much more than you spend.

Read these related articles to learn more:

Top 5 Education Printing Challenges and Best Practices to Cut Costs

Tighten Your School Operating Budget With Managed Printing

3 Ways School Printers Risk Student Data Privacy

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STEP 2: Implement pay-for-print

Now that you have set up user accounts for printing, you now have the ability to take the next step and charge students a small fee for printing, like many colleges and universities do.

This can be a controversial decision, but if you structure your plan carefully, it can work well for everyone. Remember this: many students do print responsibly and you don’t want to cut off their access to printing. The goals are to eliminate the non-academic printing, to motivate students with green initiatives and to be mindful of waste and think before they print, and to get any students doing high volume printing to pay for the cost.

Here are some tips for setting a fair policy that’s easy to administer:

Set print quotas. Using your print monitoring capabilities to guide you, it’s not difficult to determine a reasonable per-student print quota, and set it either monthly or by the semester. You can provide printing for free up to that quota amount. When that gets used up, you can charge the student by the page. With managed print in place, it’s also easy to figure out how much to charge.

Payment method. Charge to a student’s tuition account, or set up automatic payments via PayPal or other online payment method.

If your school is located in the New York City area, we can talk you through the process of setting up managed print and help determine how much money you can save. We can also help you optimize your equipment fleet to save even more. With that savings feeding your budget, those time-consuming school fundraising events can become a thing of the past.

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