GREENFIELD — A unique fundraiser last weekend brought thousands in proceeds to the Greenfield-Central band and offered the program’s supporters a more sound night’s sleep in return.
About 50 people made purchases at the band’s inaugural mattress sale, which earned the program’s general fund about $4,500, said an official with Custom Fundraising Solutions, which coordinated the sale.
Band director Chris Wing brought the offbeat idea to Greenfield-Central after the fundraiser proved successful at DeKalb Middle School, where Wing last worked before coming to G-C this year.
Wing said he’s come to expect a bemused reaction from those he tells about the fundraiser he hopes will become a staple moneymaker for the band.
“It’s just that weird look,” Wing said. “You do a lot of different fundraisers when you try to make ends meet, and you’ve hit mattresses.”
Wing said he understands the response because it’s one he shared when he first heard about selling mattresses for a fundraiser at DeKalb.
“When they told me about it, I thought it was the stupidest idea I’d ever heard,” he said. “We’ve sold our souls to the fundraising devil.”
But then, the students surprised him by making thousands for the band program.
Saturday, Custom Fundraising Solutions transformed the high school band room into a showroom with about 20 mattresses on display.
Just like in a store, potential buyers were invited to hop onto the beds and try out the merchandise before making a purchase.
Harold Olin and his wife were among those who made themselves comfortable while trying to decide on which king-sized mattress to buy.
Olin, principal at Greenfield Central Junior High School, bought his last mattress in 1999 and said he was due for an upgrade.
His son, Caleb, is a member of the band, so the family was also happy to help support the program, his wife said.
For the weeks leading up to the sale, students were challenged to find at least one person to come in and purchase a mattress.
Getting supporters to commit to such a large purchase was the hard part, said Isaiah Owen, a sophomore who has been playing percussion for five years
While mattresses are a bigger investment than some of the catalogue items the band is accustomed to selling, they also make more money for the band, he added.
“You can get a pretty decent profit off it if you do what you’re supposed to do,” said Isaiah, 16.
Greenfield-Central has about 100 kids in the band program, and Wing had hoped for 100 buyers as a result. That might have been a lofty goal for the first year, but now that word about the sale is out, there could be increased traffic next year.
“This is stuff people use every day,” Wing said. “Everybody goes to bed on a mattress, so we’re not trying to sell something that’s a knick knack that’s gonna sit on a wall.”
Josh Fulford, a junior, has been in band for six years and was glad to see a new approach to school fundraising.
“In the past, they usually just pile on a thousand small fundraisers,” said Josh, 16, who plays percussion. “That way, we don’t have to actually spend the entire year fundraising.”