There are many hidden costs to sending our children to school. No matter what type of school you send your kid to, they all experience the same thing. Public schools and private schools alike have additional costs that parents are expected to contribute towards. These additional costs may come in the form of musical instruments or uniforms to participate in marching band, gear to participate in sports programs or fees for special programs, like coding club. Sometimes these costs are asked to be paid up front to participate. Sometimes these fees are masked as fundraisers such as bake sales, auctions, golf tournaments or sending our kids down the street to go door-to-door selling a product or coupon books. Ultimately money is still being generated with these programs from students’ parents and immediate family. There are some exceptions where money can be raised from the general public such as car washes where the money goes to a school program or selling cookies at the exit of a home improvement store, but these generate limited funds for a limited period of time.

An alternate option for schools and parent groups to raise funds is to participate in national passive fundraising programs. Passive fundraising programs still rely on schools and parent groups to market to their immediate group of supporters, but the money raised comes from the national company who the program is through. Probably the most popular example of this type of program is Amazon Smile. With this program, parents, grandparents and others that care about the education of the kids in their family can go to instead of The prices on Smile are the same as on Amazon, but with Smile a small percentage of every order goes to the non-profit organization of your choice. This is Amazon’s way of giving back to support these organizations. Parents pay the same as they would otherwise on Amazon, but the school earns money from Amazon. There are other programs like this that exist for schools and parent groups to participate in including Office Depot/OfficeMax, Shoparoo and our very own These national programs give to the schools themselves via a simple change of buying habits of the school’s supporters. This allows additional money to flow in from an outside source to reduce the financial burden on parents and family members as supporters will pay the same amount as they would have otherwise.

At StayToHelp, we partner with one of the world’s largest online travel agency to sell hotel and vacation rental bookings. We leverage the power of booking margins to give back to private schools, non-profit PTO’s and other non-profit organizations. The majority of the commission we earn for selling hotels is paid forward in this program, typically 2-4% of the booking total (the room night total before taxes and fees). Parents and school supporters pay the same amount for booking hotel rooms as they would on national hotel booking sites, but know that a portion of their booking is going back to their school. This is an ongoing program that schools can participate in at no cost to them. Schools can choose to either market our generic site, and advise their supporters to select their school at the time of checkout, or schools can get their own direct link branded StayToHelp site. The second option is more personalized, easy to setup and also free for schools to use. We’ll even help with the site design.

I encourage your organization to take part in these these national passive fundraising programs. They’re easy to participate in and help to reduce the financial burden on your school’s parents and supporters.

Please contact us at if you would like to see your school added to our StayToHelp program or encourage your school to reach out to me. We would love to help you out!