Do incentives actually incentivize?

Do incentives actually incentivize?

The concept of rewards or 'incentives' have been a mainstay of school fundraising for decades. Prizes for top-earning students range from small gumball machine-style gizmos to class pizza parties and school excursions. But with an increasing number of teachers and schools looking to avoid unnecessary additional expense, and concerned parents translating promises of prizes as a form of bald-faced bribery, this question is increasingly raised: Do incentives actually incentivize?

According to an article published on entitled, Do Incentives Work?, author Evelyn Beck interviews both amateur and professional fundraisers to ultimately determine that incentives aren't a mere fundraising tactic they're key to fundraising success. When used strategically, incentives create excitement and effectively incite a high rate of student involvement.


1. Work with your fundraising representative for good ideas about incentives.
2. Kick off the fundraiser with an assembly that includes promotion of the incentives.
3. Focus on participation rather than sales totals; award a prize to each participant if possible.
4. Distribute prizes while the fundraiser is still going on. Do this at the start of the school day tominimize disruptions and maximize exposure.
5. Get the principal involved. Fun promises from the principal (like dyeing his hair schoolcolors) can be a big motivator for students.
6. Offer incentives to teachers for class participation.
7. Layer prizes. In addition to rewards from the fundraising company, offer school spirit eventsand special privileges.
8. Publicize the winners on your school's website.

How have incentives helped your fundraisers? What incentives did you use? Let us know in the comments below.

Read Do Incentives Work by Evelyn Beck on

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