Chances are, an elementary or high school in your neighborhood has approached you about donating something (a gift certificate, a gift basket, catering) for a fundraiser or event they are hosting. These types of events are generally win-wins for everyone involved: the donated goods garner publicity and positive word-of-mouth for you, the school raises money, and the “winner” of the gift feels good about their participation.

Use our LSMGuide Community Connection Finder Map, put in your address and click SCHOOL from the list.

See the Charity & Community Give-Back Guide for the comprehensive approach to this topic.


When it comes to charitable donations, it’s always better to give more to one (or a few) groups than to give less to lots of groups. It might be tempting to throw out gift cards to everyone that needs one for a fundraiser, but it’s possible that, if your gift cards appear EVERYWHERE, that they will lose value in the eyes of your customer. Wouldn’t it be great if a gift basket or gift card from your business was such a special treat that it was the most desired item at the auction or fundraiser? We think so too!

To ensure that your participation is beneficial for you and for the school, here are a few guidelines to follow:

1. If possible, choose 2 or 3 schools in your neighborhood to partner with for donations. Let them know that you are interested in supporting them through donations for a fundraiser, auction or special event. This way, your efforts are concentrated, and your impact will be greater. Ask them what they need for a specific event – maybe they are looking for a big ticket item, or several small donations. Maybe they prefer gift cards or a perhaps they’re more interested in a gift basket.

2. Package your donation to fit the event. Don’t leave it up to the school to make your donation look good – especially if it’s for a silent auction – that’s just impolite. If you’re donating a gift card for an auction, put it in a frame and include a framed menu or other information about your business. If you’re donating catered goods for an event, ensure the school has everything they need for the event (napkins, serving utensils, plates, condiments), and don’t forget to include menus or business cards for guests to take with them! If you’re assembling a gift basket, create a theme! A bakery could put together a “breakfast in bed” basket, complete with a bag of coffee or box of tea, oranges, pretty cloth napkins, coffee mugs, and a gift card to purchase pastries.

3. Go to the event! This is an opportunity that many local business owners miss. You’ll have an opportunity to get to know the parents, teachers, and possibly the students at the school, and show that you are here to do more than just donate a gift card. You are part of the community! Plus, if anyone has questions about your donation or company, you’re right there to answer them! All of these add up to positive exposure for you and your business.

For additional ways to support your local school, check out our School Partnerships tactic!