Music Director First, Fundraising Professional Second.

Who’s Craig Griffith?

In 1982, Craig Griffith began his career as a Choir Director in Texarkana, Texas at Liberty-Eylau High School.  Craig was excited, anxious, and eager to begin his career in music education. He didn’t have much of a budget to work with, so he quickly became very familiar with fundraising. Craig taught for 19 years before Century Resources entered his life.

“In 2001, while attending the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, I was introduced to Joann Pace, a Fundraising Professional from Century Resources.” Joann was interested in helping Craig raise funds for his choir department at Abell Junior High. This was the beginning of a successful partnership between Craig, Joann, and Century Resources. In 2011, their continued successes lead Craig and his students at Abell Junior High to raising $19,000 for their spring trip and new uniforms.

After fundraising with Century Resources for many years, Craig was attending another TMEA Convention and stopped by to visit his friend Joann. This time Craig met Joe Bowman, Founder of Century Resources. They shared their music education history, which definitely sparked a commonality between the two. Mr. Bowman expressed his career change from directing music, to starting Century Resources to help groups raise the funds they need to be successful. Craig, on the other hand, shared how he had been successfully working with Century for many years. Craig understood the fundraising business and knew what it took for a group to have a successful fundraiser.

Teaching to Fundraising

“After teaching for 30 years I decided to retire, but I still wanted to make a difference in music education, so I took an interview with Century Resources.” After being hired by Century Resources in Spring 2013, Craig would go on to shadow Joann and learn from her expertise! In Fall of 2014, Craig was officially a Fundraising Professional and was kicking off groups on his own.  Taking all the knowledge he learned from Joann and the previous experience he had as a music educator, he was built for success! “I see myself as a Music Teacher first, Fundraising Professional second.” This has made Craig successful as he understands how to not only “talk the talk” when speaking with group leaders, but he also can “walk the walk”.  Craig can visit groups and immediately offer his expertise with his music background but also understand the need directors require financially.

Present Day

It’s 4:30 AM and Craig Griffith is in his hometown of Midland, Texas getting ready to start his day of kicking off a few hundred students for their fundraiser.  Next on his agenda is to set up his awards table, pass out brochures, and queue up the Century Resources kick-off video to get his group ready to fundraise. He sits down with the group leader to discuss the importance of utilizing the tools we offer to help the group successfully reach their goals.

The bell rings for 1st period and students begin shuffling into the classroom and excitement is at an all-time high as the students pass by the table full of awards. Their eyes widen as they see a 5 lb bag of Gummi Bears, a Mini Bluetooth projector, and a waterproof Bluetooth speaker playing music to set the tone. It’s going to be a fun day!

The students take their seats and the music director hands over the reins of the classroom to Craig. He is no stranger to being in front of music groups, and he is at ease directing these students to another successful fundraiser!

This fall is Craig’s 3rd year with Century Resources and what he loves most about his job is that “the people within the company treat you like family. Regardless of anyone’s position in the company, I can call them and easily talk to them without hesitation.” Another great feature for Craig was the calendar year is very similar to a teacher’s schedule, such as summers off, winter and spring breaks still available.  Craig sees Century Resources as a partnership with groups, not a business. He has driven up to 500 miles in 1 day visiting schools, stopping in to check on the directors and groups. Craig could have retired after teaching but Century Resources gave him the option to continue being around music and helping students, two things Craig very much enjoys!

Interested in learning more about how our Fundraising Professionals like Craig can help you raise funds for your group? Click here!

Let Holiday Seasons Boost Your Fundraiser Sales

Honestly, if your cause is compelling enough, there is no bad time to kick off a fundraising program. If your message is engaging and explains why you’re raising funds, people will typically support your group. Today may not be the right time to start a fundraiser; however it could be the exact day you need to begin planning one. What time of the year is best for your group?

Timing is very important and can make or break your fundraiser, knowing WHEN is as important as knowing HOW to ask for community support. The right people will also play into your program’s success; our Fundraising Sales Professionals are experts at helping you find the perfect time to run your program for maximum impact towards your goal. Their guidance and leadership is imperative to avoid conflicts with vacations (participants could be going out of town and possibly their supporters as well), exams, other group fundraisers, and community events that compete for supporter’s attention. Grab a school calendar and learn about what is taking place around you so you can take advantage of the perfect opportunity.

The next step is to take a page from the retailers book and think about calendar events when people are spending money; Mother’s day, Father’s day, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. Many holidays can be underused when asking for support; you can plan a themed event around an upcoming holiday. Timing is essential for selling AND delivery. You need to make sure you will be available during the delivery; as well knowing your participants will have enough time to deliver products before the holiday.

It’s not enough, however, to simply launch a fundraising campaign. Promoting your fundraiser will drive your success. Here are some ways you can actively promote your holiday fundraiser in order to attract attention from supporters.

  1. Post about the fundraiser on your group’s homepage to make sure your efforts are placed center stage. Be careful not to bury it under other buttons or banners; your holiday fundraiser should be front and center to capture your visitors’ attention.
  2. Create a holiday hashtag to help you get the word out and shared. #SweetTreatsForYourSweetie for Valentine’s Day using our Sweet Treats Brochure, #PartySnacks for Memorial Day cookouts using our Century Pride Brochure, #GiftIdeas for Thanksgiving and Christmas using our Seasonal Sensations Brochure, #BloomingForMOM for Mother’s day using our Spring in Bloom Brochure, or simply #YummyFood #CenturyResources.
  3. Make sure to include visuals in your post, it’s well known that visuals boost engagement on social media. Have participants post fundraiser brochure pictures to get viewers inspired to purchase from your group.
  4. Utilize family and community holiday gatherings to collect orders. This is the easiest way to reach many people all at once.
  5. What else is going on? When planning the timing of your fundraiser, make sure not to compete with an existing local event. Programs that are traditionally done at a specific time, year after year and have long standing customers that plan on giving to those causes at those times. Plan around them!

Once your fundraiser has kicked off remember: Keep Promoting. You will reach new supporters everyday. When using the best practices above, your group will be setup for success for their next fundraiser.

Going From Four Fundraisers, to ONE a Year!


We love hearing from our Customers because that’s how we ensure we’re executing our mission of being an Easy & Effective Fundraising program for secondary schools. What’s even better is receiving letters like we did from Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School Music Department. They’re encouraging other music directors and club sponsors to fundraise with us! We can talk all day about how we can assist you and your groups raise the funds you deserve. In this case, we’ll have Fernando share his experience with us!

Fernando Carrillo has been a Music Director at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School for 14 years. The need to raise funds has been on his “To-Do” list every year. Prior to working with Century Resources Fernando and his group would run about four fundraisers a year! These would consist of Department dinners for parents while the students performed and friends and family would pay to eat. Collaborating with restaurants where they would receive a percentage of the sales that evening. Selling Christmas wreaths as well as poinsettia plants during the holiday season. The list goes on and on.

Fernando wanted to provide his students with the opportunities. Such as, guest artists appearances, field trips, as well as fund the reoccurring costs for music, contests and more!  This took a lot of time, effort, and MONEY to execute. Include all of the work he and the other directors do and their workload was at an all-time high therefore becoming a heavy burden!

Fast forward to today and Fernando and the Gwendolyn Middle School Music Department has been fundraising with Century Resources for almost four years, one time a year. That’s a lot of fundraising yet the funds he raised from all of those fundraisers were still only a fraction of what he has been able to make with the Century Resources program. Since partnering with Century Resources, the Music Department at Gwendolyn Middle School has increased their profit year over year, surpassing their fundraising goal.

Fernando’s Keys to Success!

Fernando sets the tone every year that the Century Resources fundraiser is the only fundraiser they’ll be running for the year. “Getting the community to buy into one fundraiser a year as opposed to four, as well as explaining what the money we’re raising will be used for has really increased our sales!” Students really buy into this fundraising program as they’re awarded prizes for reaching their individual fundraising goal. Fernando finds that emailing his students’ parents as well as utilizing his Facebook group page is the best way to communicate the details of the fundraiser. “We provide due dates as well as examples of what we’ve used the money for in the past and what we plan to use it for this year”.  Another key to his success is utilizing the goal charts. Century Resources provides goal charts in order to keep the group on track to raise the funds they need.

Century’s Keys to Success!

Century Resources is your partner throughout the entire program, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. “Our Century Resources sales representative as well as our territory customer service representative have been fantastic! They’re quick to respond and also take care of almost everything in the fundraising process, from preparation on kick-off day to easy organization of products on deliver day.”

Megan Pankau is the Century Resources Representative for Gwendolyn Middle School Music Department. Megan looks forward to working with them every year!  “Fernando and the other directors in the department are a true pleasure to work with! Their vision for their music programs and the learning experiences they’re now able to provide for the students is fantastic.  They all “set the stage” for the fundraiser by getting the students excited for the great awards they will earn. By actively using our goal charts they keep the students excited to reach their goal.  The directors use all the tools we provide, share their ideas for program development with the students and the community and that is why I believe they have been so successful.”

This year Gwendolyn Middle School Music Department plans to raise funds for recording equipment for their concerts, take a trip to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, as well as go on a river boat cruise and visit Cedar Point! We can’t wait to help them reach their goal!

7 Helpful Tips to Planning Your Next Music Trip

Planning your next big music adventure can seem like a daunting task. Frankly, the thought of transporting hundreds of students and their instruments can be a little overwhelming. Yet, in spite of the challenges and possible pitfalls, you recognize the immense value in offering your students the chance to be inspired outside of the classroom and to grow alongside their peers. To perform in prestigious venues, immerse in new cultures, and envision musical careers.

Putting it all together is not always easy though. Century Resources reached out to our friends over at Four Winds Tours and Travel to help you plan your next group trip! They have compiled below a list of simple steps that will help in making your dream trip a reality:

Narrow Down a Focus

What’s the purpose of the trip? Are you trying to showcase your students in a competitive atmosphere or do you want to emphasize sightseeing? Maybe there’s a famous venue like Carnegie Hall that you would like to perform in? These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions that will help shape the objective of your trip. Discovering your “why” will allow you to hone in on specific places to visit and develop a curriculum to prepare your group.

Pick a Place

Once you have decided on the purpose of the trip, it will help you immensely in picking your destination. Whether choosing to focus on professional clinics and college tours at places like the world-renowned Berklee School of Music or performing in festivals at a variety of theme parks, there is no shortage of impactful experiences to offer your students. And while that is incredibly encouraging, it also makes it difficult to choose just one. That is why returning to the purpose of the trip is critical. For instance, you may opt for a place like Nashville that optimizes the amount of music immersion and opportunities for your group. However, you may want to visit places like Washington D.C. or Philadelphia where you can mix in some history lessons with the musical education.

Work Out the Logistics

After working through the bigger picture, it is time to get into the nitty gritty details (and there are a lot) but don’t worry, with the help of a great tour operator you’ll get through this. Begin with the basics like how many students you anticipate bringing on the trip and which dates will work the best. It is also important to speak with your supervisors and figure out a budget early on as that can greatly influence where your group will travel and how long the trip will be.

From there, start to think about certain specifics like which instruments your group will bring with them, whether your group will travel by air or by bus, and what your group will do for meals. All of these factor into the final cost of your trip and will give you an idea of what makes the most sense for you.

Enlist Some Help

Now some of you may be total trip planning pros and are looking at those first three steps like, “I got this.” For others, you are fervently Google-ing “how to plan a trip” and jotting down notes like there is no tomorrow. The good news is that whether it is your first trip or 50th, you do not have to tackle it alone.

Contact a tour operator that specializes in customized, educational music tours and you will be amazed at the level of expertise and creative suggestions they will provide. Share with them your trip ideas and logistics while they work with you to create the best possible trip for you and your students. It is also very comforting knowing that you have a team of support along with you every step of the way from the initial planning to the student sign-up process and eventually the trip itself.

Seek Permission and Approval

Whether through the school or the county, you will want to secure approval before booking anything for your trip. Talk to other educators at your school who have taken trips and ask for advice on what the board is looking for. They can guide you in the right direction and even share some of their presentation materials with you to give you a clearer picture. This is also a great time to call upon your tour operator as they can provide detailed itineraries and professional marketing materials to promote the trip. They can also help to give you a better idea of the total cost and make sure it stays within the desired budget.

Start Fundraising

With the trip being approved, you want to make sure that every student has the opportunity to attend regardless of any financial hurdles. Fundraising is a phenomenal way to drum up excitement about your trip in your school and local communities while making it more affordable for the students.

Similar to how your tour operator can guide you in the trip developing process, fundraising companies like Century Resources can take the guessing game out of raising money. Specialized in working with secondary school groups like bands, choirs, and orchestras, Century Resources has designed an easy and effective way to raise the funds you need to make this trip a success.

You will have a local representative who will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring that you achieve your fundraising goal. They have an awesome awards program that will keep the students motivated to sell as much as possible so they can receive individual incentives and help the group retain a large profit. Beyond that, their carefully-selected brochures have such a diverse offering of quality products that they offer a 100% money-back guarantee on everything that your group sells. This means that you can trust that your students’ family and friends will be very happy with the products they’re purchasing.

Enjoy the Trip

As the trip date approaches, the last step is to keep the anticipation high! Try creating a blog or Facebook event and sharing it with your students, their family and friends, and the school. This is an excellent way to provide updates on important deadlines leading up to the trip, as well as a great medium to share your travels with your community. Those that helped along the way through the fundraising and planning can see firsthand what their efforts helped to create and can experience the wonders of travel with your group.

Are you planning your next big trip? Make sure to check out Four Winds and Century Resources for planning and raising the funds you need to make it a big success!


7 Ways to Get Your Community’s Support

A collaborative partnership between parents, families, educators and communities is how you ensure that all students, from pre-K- to high school, have the support and resources they need to succeed in school and beyond.

You’ll need widespread support to raise the necessary funds for your group. How do you go about getting the community to buy into your fundraiser? Here are a few tips from the experts.

  1. Most individuals just aren’t aware of how much their support impacts your group. People are drawn to fundraising for a cause; it’s human nature to want to help a group in need in their community. You simply need to inform your community why you are doing the fundraiser and they will stand behind your cause.
  2. Engage your community in public where they spend the most time. They will not come to you.  Aside from going door-to-door, these are the types of places where your group will receive the most orders – a church, a restaurant, a place of business, etc.
  3. Communicate with the community using a variety of channels. Share information about your upcoming fundraiser on the events calendar of your group, school, and school district. Century Resources helps spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and via email. Share and Retweet these messages throughout your fundraiser for the best results.
  4. Inform the community about easy payment methods. Customers without cash? Not a problem! Customers can scan the QR code located in the back of every Century Resources brochure and pay with a credit card via smartphone.
  5. Whether you live in a small or large community, your personalized Web Store makes it easy for out-of-town family and friends. Simply pay online, and the products will be delivered directly to their door. Students still receive credit for their online orders and the group still receives its profit.
  6. Your community can order with confidence when all products are backed with a 100% quality guarantee. In the rare occurrence that a customer is dissatisfied with a product, Century will refund their payment and your group will retain 100% of the profit.
  7. Share your success! Achieving your goal is not the end of your fundraiser. Supporters want to know the outcome. Consider wrapping up your fundraiser by updating your supporters and expressing gratitude.  Reward your community for their involvement, invite them to the performance or event their funds helped produce, share pictures or anecdotes from your group, or host an event at the new facility they helped your group or school attain.

Follow these steps during your next fundraiser, you’ll be set up to reach your group’s goal!