Fundraising trend: choir sells mattresses to raise money

Abby Carpenter, Features Editor

Say goodbye to cookie dough, candy, and entertainment coupon books. The newest way to raise money is with a mattress sale.

“At first I thought it sounded crazy,” Nick Juknelis, director of vocal music, said. “When a fundraising representative approached us with the idea, I said okay because I honestly didn’t think it would turn into anything.”

This idea has turned into a promise of success, though, as many other school groups across the country are beginning mattress fundraiser sales, including Maine East High School and Woodstock High School, according to Juknelis.

From 10am to 5pm on Saturday, May 12, Lake Zurich Choir will be turning the cafeteria into a mattress showroom.

Juknelis says fundraising through mattress sales is beneficial to all parties involved.

“There are two very important parts of selling mattresses,” Juknelis said. “Number one is advertising. Since people do not buy mattresses very often, advertising is key. So when a person wants a mattress, the mattress company has advertised enough and they’ll get that customer. With a fundraiser, the students do all the advertising on their own. Number two is retail rental space. Companies have to pay for a place to set up their mattress showroom, but with a fundraiser, there is no rental fee when they set up in a cafeteria or gym. When you take out all those costs, it’s 30-60 percent cheaper for the mattress company.”

Mattress fundraisers are a success for the school organization as well. According to various mattress fundraising organizations, it costs a school group nothing and can raise thousands of dollars in just one day.

“We looked into the fundraiser and saw how other schools did with it,” Juknelis said. “Most pull $6000 in one day.”

Although Juknelis and his choir students are hoping to do well financially, Juknelis says the true reward goes beyond money.

“The real reward is that people will hopefully come to expect it,” Juknelis said. “If we begin this, hopefully people will remember when they want a mattress that the high school choir sells them as a fundraiser.”

Juknelis wants Lake Zurich residents to know how important fundraisers are to a school organization like the choir program.

“We’re going to Italy during Spring Break of 2013, and we’ve been fundraising a lot in order to lower the cost per student,” Juknelis said. “We’re doing many other fundraisers as well, but this is definitely our most unique.”

In addition to the mattress fundraiser, the choir program is still doing fundraisers like cookie dough, entertainment coupon books, market day, and even monthly restaurant nights.

“Twenty percent of the money a restaurant makes on one of our restaurant fundraising nights goes to us,” Juknelis said. “Those nights are a great way to make a substantial donation for doing virtually nothing.”

Juknelis says the mattress fundraiser is his way of “fundraising smarter rather than harder. Selling mattresses isn’t too hard, and it’s something different for the students.”