Why Every Student Shouldn't Receive a Fundraising Prize

Why Every Student Shouldn't Receive a Fundraising Prize

School fundraising prize programs are a common approach to incentivize student participation and boost sales. However, while the intention behind these programs may be noble, there are compelling reasons why not every student should receive a fundraising prize. Let's explore why:

1. Diminished Intrinsic Motivation

Offering prizes to every student can undermine their intrinsic motivation to participate in the fundraiser. Instead of engaging in fundraising activities out of genuine interest in supporting the cause, students may become solely focused on earning a reward. This shift from internal to external motivation can diminish the educational and character-building aspects of fundraising.

2. Unequal Effort and Contribution

In a fundraising campaign, not every student contributes equally in terms of effort and sales. Some students may go above and beyond to sell products or solicit donations, while others may contribute minimally or not at all. Rewarding every student with a prize regardless of their level of effort can create a sense of unfairness and devalue the contributions of those who put in extra effort.

3. Financial Considerations

Fundraising prizes come with associated costs that can impact the overall funds raised for the cause. Allocating a portion of the fundraising budget to purchase prizes for every student reduces the amount of money available to support the intended beneficiary of the fundraiser. In some cases, the cost of prizes may outweigh the funds raised, resulting in a net loss for the cause.

4. Missed Learning Opportunities

Fundraising campaigns offer valuable learning opportunities for students, including lessons in entrepreneurship, teamwork, and communication skills. By focusing solely on the reward aspect, students may miss out on these educational experiences. Instead of learning important life skills, they may perceive fundraising as merely a means to an end—a way to earn prizes rather than make a meaningful difference.

5. Encouraging Inequality

Rewarding every student with a prize regardless of their individual contribution can reinforce a sense of entitlement and perpetuate inequality. Students who put in minimal effort may receive the same rewards as those who work hard, sending the message that effort and achievement are not valued or recognized. This can have long-term implications for students' attitudes toward work and success.


While fundraising prize programs may seem like a simple way to incentivize student participation, they can have unintended consequences that undermine the educational and altruistic goals of fundraising campaigns. By refraining from giving every student a prize, schools can foster a more equitable and meaningful fundraising experience that emphasizes intrinsic motivation, effort, and learning opportunities. As highlighted in the blog post on how school fundraising prize programs work, it's important to carefully consider the impact of prize programs on students and the overall success of the fundraiser.

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