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Comparing advertising and fundraising as revenue sources


In this lesson, students apply their knowledge of sales and marketing concepts and budgeting techniques to think about the pros and cons of advertising and fundraising and to get practical about advertising and fundraising in their own communities


  • Students will explain the pros and cons of advertising and fundraising as sources of revenue.
  • Students will describe proper behavior for engaging in sales activities.
  • Students will evaluate the effectiveness of possible advertising and fundraising opportunities, including how well those opportunities could be incorporated into their own school context.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


120-140 minutes (two 60-70 minute classes)


Handout: Advertising and fundraising case study analysis

Handout: Advertising and fundraising notes

Slideshow: Advertising vs. fundraising slideshow

Handout: Publication marketing presentation assignment

Case study rubric

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1

1. Introduction — 5-10 minutes

Open a discussion by presenting a budgeting scenario in which a publication has to make up a $1,000 deficit at the end of the year in order to break even and ask students what they would do in order to make up the money. Keep track of suggestions on the whiteboard, document camera, computer, SmartBoard or other similar display tool.

2. Note distribution and brainstorming — 10-15 minutes

Distribute the advertising and fundraising notes. Give students time to brainstorm pros and cons of advertising and fundraising on their own.

3. Large-group discussion and note taking — 25-30 minutes

Solicit student ideas as you guide students through the note-taking process about the pros and cons of advertising and fundraising, practicalities of behavior when engaging in sales activities, strategies for maximizing profits, and record keeping principles. Make sure students understand selling space within a publication usually yields more profit than holding a fundraiser such as a bake sale, car wash, or school dance; however, some fundraisers, such as a silent auction or “penny war,” do have the potential to make a great deal of money, depending on how much money is put into the fundraiser for setup costs and how interested the market audience is in the fundraiser.

3. Work/reading time — the remainder of the class

Distribute the advertising and fundraising case study ideas and prompt students to read about what other schools have done and evaluate the effectiveness of each idea, as well as whether or not it would be an effective possibility for their own context. They should have 15-20 minutes left during the class period to read and consider the ideas. If they are not done reading and annotating in class, they should complete this for homework. They will complete the “after reading” questions in class on day 2. Consider using the case study rubric to grade this work.

Day 2

1. Small-group discussion — 10-15 minutes

Split students into groups and prompt them to share their annotations regarding which ideas would and would not work well in their school, as well as what surprised them or what they were unsure about.

2. Review case study ideas — 10 minutes

Conduct a review of the groups’ consensus regarding the case study ideas and their reactions.

3. Individual work time — 15-20 minutes

Prompt students to complete the “after reading” questions on their own, and then share their answers with their group members. This should take 15-20 minutes.

4. Project discussion — 10-15 minutes

Prompt students to turn in their case study annotations and then distribute the publication marketing presentation assignment. Explain to students that during the next two weeks they will work with their teams to create several practical items related to sales and marketing:

  • An advertising brochure
  • A fundraising pitch
  • A yearbook sales plan
  • A publication distribution process plan

Groups will be graded on all of these item, but will need to present two of them in a 5-10 minute presentation on the second-to-last day of the unit, before the Unit 3 test. They will also need to discuss how the products they created are directly linked to the results from their market research survey project and why they are good products for meeting the needs of their audience. Reviewing the requirements for this presentation should take about 10-15 minutes, including time for student questions.

5. Brainstorming activity — the remainder of class time

With the remaining time, allow students time to complete the brainstorming activity for how the required products could meet the needs of their audience.