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School Fundraising Made Easy: 24 Effective Ideas

Introduction

In the world of education, fundraising serves as the lifeblood, breathing vitality into school environments. For schools, fundraising acts as the essential bridge between tight budgets and the dream of delivering exceptional education. Nevertheless, the journey to fundraising success is often fraught with hurdles, from financial constraints to the quest for captivating concepts. In this extensive guide, we’re set to reveal 24 dynamic fundraising ideas, each strategically tailored to surmount these challenges. By the conclusion of this article, you’ll possess a versatile toolbox, ensuring that school fundraising becomes not just effective but also a unifying force within your community.
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Traditional Fundraising Ideas

1.1. Bake Sales

Bake sales are a beloved tradition in the world of fundraising. These delectable events bring together parents, students, and staff, inviting them to roll up their sleeves and whip up mouthwatering treats. The enticing aroma of freshly baked goods wafting through the school corridors is an irresistible invitation for everyone to indulge in a sweet or savory delight. Participants can purchase an assortment of cookies, brownies, pies, and other homemade treats, all contributing to the school’s fundraising goal.
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1.2. Car Wash Events

Car wash events are not only a fundraiser but also a hands-on learning experience. Students and volunteers enthusiastically engage in the art of car cleaning, using sponges, hoses, and soapy buckets. These events often attract a steady stream of customers looking to have their vehicles sparkling clean while supporting a noble cause. It’s a win-win situation, as car owners drive away with spotless vehicles, and the school generates funds to support various initiatives.
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1.3. Garage Sales

Garage sales breathe life into the age-old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Families within the school community, as well as local residents, can donate gently used items they no longer need. The school can then host a weekend event, transforming its grounds into a bustling marketplace. Shoppers come in search of hidden gems, from vintage furniture to preloved clothing and collectibles. Every purchase contributes not only to decluttering homes but also to enriching educational experiences.
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1.4. Raffle Tickets

Raffle ticket fundraisers add an element of excitement and anticipation to fundraising efforts. Schools can collaborate with local businesses to secure attractive prizes, ranging from gift certificates to electronic gadgets. Participants purchase raffle tickets with the hopes of winning these enticing rewards. The anticipation of whether their ticket number will be drawn adds an element of thrill to the fundraising event. Not only do donors get a shot at winning fantastic prizes, but they also contribute to the school’s financial well-being.
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1.5. School Carnivals

School carnivals are a time-honored tradition that blends entertainment, food, and fun for the whole family. These events typically feature a wide range of activities, including games, rides, food stalls, and live entertainment. Families within the school community and the local neighborhood flock to the carnival, purchasing tickets for rides and games, indulging in tasty treats, and enjoying the festive atmosphere. Sponsorships from local businesses and ticket sales create a multifaceted revenue stream that fuels the school’s financial aspirations.
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Product-Based Fundraisers

2.1. Fall Catalog Fundraisers

Fall catalog fundraisers embrace the spirit of giving that permeates the holiday season. Schools collaborate with fundraising companies to create catalogs brimming with a variety of items, from gourmet chocolates to kitchen gadgets and holiday decorations. Students and their families take on the role of salespeople, showcasing the catalog to friends, family, and neighbors. For every purchase, a portion of the proceeds goes towards the school’s fundraising goal. The holiday season becomes not only a time of giving but also an opportunity to support educational excellence.
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2.2. Spring Catalog Fundraisers

Spring catalog fundraisers offer a fresh take on product-based fundraising. As the season blooms with new life and vibrant colors, these fundraisers present an opportunity to engage donors with seasonal products. The catalogs may feature items such as flower bulbs, gardening tools, and outdoor accessories. Supporters can purchase items to usher in the spring season while contributing to the school’s financial well-being. It’s a delightful way to combine the joys of gardening with the satisfaction of supporting education.
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2.3. Cookie Dough Fundraisers

Cookie dough fundraisers tantalize the taste buds and ignite the passion for baking. Schools partner with companies that offer a variety of cookie dough flavors, from classic chocolate chip to creative concoctions like snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin. Parents and students take orders for these delectable treats, offering a convenient solution to those craving freshly baked cookies without the hassle of baking from scratch. Each tub of cookie dough sold not only promises the joy of baking but also contributes to the school’s fundraising efforts.
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2.4. Popcorn Fundraisers

Popcorn fundraisers pop with excitement, offering a savory twist to fundraising. These campaigns present a variety of gourmet popcorn flavors to entice supporters. Whether it’s classic buttery popcorn or exotic flavors like caramel and cheddar mix, popcorn appeals to a wide range of tastes. Supporters can purchase popcorn tins or bags, savoring the delightful crunch while knowing that their contribution supports the school’s initiatives. It’s a versatile product that adds a savory dimension to fundraising.
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2.5. Online Catalog Fundraisers

In the digital age, online catalog fundraisers open new doors to fundraising success. Schools can partner with companies that offer a wide array of products, from home decor to kitchen gadgets, all showcased in a user-friendly online catalog. Supporters browse the catalog from the comfort of their homes, selecting items that pique their interest. With just a few clicks, they can make purchases, and a percentage of the sales goes directly towards the school’s fundraising goal. Online catalog fundraisers expand the reach of fundraising efforts, making it convenient for supporters to contribute.
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Creative Fundraising Events

3.1. Talent Shows

Talent shows provide a stage for students to showcase their unique abilities while raising funds for the school. These events are not just about entertainment but also about celebrating the diverse talents within the school community. Students can sing, dance, perform magic tricks, or display any talent they possess. Participants and attendees purchase tickets to witness these captivating performances, with the proceeds directly benefiting the school. Talent shows foster a sense of pride and camaraderie while supporting educational initiatives.
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3.2. Art Auctions

Art auctions turn creativity into currency. Schools can invite parents, local artists, and students to donate artwork for auction. These pieces can range from paintings and sculptures to photography and crafts. Art enthusiasts and collectors within the school community and the broader local area attend the auction, bidding on their favorite pieces. The funds raised not only support the school but also nurture artistic expression and appreciation within the community.
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3.3. Dance-A-Thons

Dance-a-thons combine fitness, endurance, and philanthropy. Students and participants gather pledges from sponsors who commit to donating based on the hours or minutes they dance. Participants then hit the dance floor, grooving to the rhythm and pushing their limits. It’s not only an exhilarating physical activity but also an opportunity to engage the community in supporting the school. Dance-a-thons are high-energy events that infuse fundraising with fun and enthusiasm.
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3.4. Trivia Nights

Trivia nights are intellectually stimulating fundraisers that challenge participants’ knowledge while contributing to a noble cause. Teams come together to answer a series of trivia questions across various categories, from history to pop culture. Teams typically pay an entry fee, and winners can earn prizes. These events foster friendly competition, community engagement, and a sense of achievement. Trivia nights are an excellent way to raise funds while testing mental prowess.
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3.5. Costume Contests

Costume contests provide a unique twist on fundraising events. Schools can organize themed costume contests, such as “Decades Day,” “Superhero Spectacular,” or “Movie Characters Unleashed.” Participants dress up in creative costumes, paying an entry fee to showcase their imaginative attire. Judges or attendees can vote for the best costumes, and winners receive prizes. These contests promote creativity and a sense of fun while contributing to the school’s financial objectives.
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Donation-Based Fundraising

4.1. Crowdfunding Campaigns

Crowdfunding campaigns harness the power of digital platforms to reach a broader audience. Schools can create compelling online campaigns, sharing stories, images, and videos that illustrate their needs and the impact of contributions. Donors from the school community and beyond can make online contributions, either through fixed donations or flexible crowdfunding platforms. Crowdfunding campaigns provide a convenient and accessible way for supporters to contribute to specific projects or general school needs.
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4.2. Sponsorship Drives

Sponsorship drives involve seeking financial support from local businesses or individuals for various school activities and events. Businesses can sponsor sports teams, academic competitions, or specific school programs. In return, schools offer recognition through banners, announcements, and social media shoutouts. Sponsorship drives not only generate funds but also foster positive relationships between the school and local businesses, enhancing community support.
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4.3. Matching Gift Programs

Matching gift programs encourage donors to maximize their impact. Many employers offer to match their employees’ charitable donations, effectively doubling the contribution. Schools can promote this option to donors, ensuring that their financial support goes even further. Matching gift programs motivate donors by highlighting the multiplier effect of their generosity.
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4.4. Annual Giving Campaigns

Annual giving campaigns establish a steady stream of support from parents, alumni, and the community. These campaigns encourage regular, ongoing contributions to the school. By emphasizing the importance of consistent giving, schools can create a stable financial foundation for educational programs and initiatives. Annual giving campaigns are about nurturing a culture of sustained support.
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4.5. Alumni Donations

Alumni donations tap into the nostalgia and gratitude former students feel toward their alma mater. Alumni often have fond memories of their school years and are willing to give back. Schools can keep alumni connected through newsletters, alumni events, and engagement initiatives. By inviting alumni to contribute, schools can leverage their emotional connection to the institution, turning it into tangible support for current students.
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Fundraising through Services

5.1. School Cleaning Services

School cleaning services extend the school’s reach into the community. Students, staff, and volunteers offer cleaning services to homes, offices, and public spaces. These services can include tidying up, dusting, and maintaining cleanliness. Clients pay a fee for these services, which not only ensures a clean environment but also generates funds for the school. It’s a practical and impactful way to raise money while providing a valuable service to the community.
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5.2. Tutoring Sessions

Tutoring sessions leverage the academic prowess of students to offer personalized assistance. Schools can arrange tutoring services for subjects where students excel. Parents can enroll their children in these sessions, paying fees that support the school’s fundraising goals. Tutoring sessions not only provide academic support but also empower students to share their knowledge and skills.
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5.3. Babysitting Events

Babysitting events create a win-win scenario for parents and students. Schools organize supervised babysitting events where parents can drop off their children for a few hours of fun and play. The school charges an hourly rate for the service, and students gain valuable childcare experience. It’s a service that offers convenience to parents and raises funds while nurturing responsible student volunteers.
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5.4. Parent Workshops

Parent workshops offer educational opportunities for parents while contributing to fundraising efforts. Schools can host workshops on topics of interest to parents, such as parenting tips, financial planning, or wellness. Parents pay a registration fee to attend these workshops, gaining valuable knowledge and skills while supporting the school’s initiatives. It’s a two-fold benefit of education and fundraising.
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5.5. Yard Work Services

Yard work services tap into the energy of students and volunteers to provide valuable assistance to the community. Students can offer services such as lawn mowing, leaf raking, and landscaping. Homeowners and businesses pay for these services, knowing that their contribution not only beautifies their surroundings but also supports the school’s financial goals. Yard work services demonstrate the value of hard work and community involvement.
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Community Engagement

6.1. Local Business Partnerships

Local business partnerships are a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties. Schools can collaborate with nearby businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, and shops. These businesses can host fundraisers where a portion of the proceeds from their sales during designated periods goes to the school. It’s a simple yet effective way to foster community engagement while raising funds.
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6.2. Fundraising Walks/Runs

Fundraising walks or runs are not only about physical activity but also about promoting community health and well-being. Schools can organize charity walks or runs, inviting participants to register and gather sponsors. Participants enjoy a day of physical activity, and sponsors pledge donations for every mile walked or run. It’s a healthy way to engage the community in supporting the school’s initiatives.
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6.3. Food Drives

Food drives provide essential support to local charities and food banks while involving the school community and neighbors. Schools can coordinate food drives, encouraging students and their families to donate non-perishable food items. Collection points can be set up at strategic locations to involve the broader community. It’s a tangible way to make a difference while building bridges with neighbors.
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6.4. Host Community Events

Hosting community events on school grounds is a fantastic way to raise funds while bringing people together. Schools can organize fairs, picnics, cultural festivals, or themed events. Entry fees and proceeds from food, games, and activities contribute to the school’s financial goals. These events create a sense of belonging and enjoyment for all attendees while supporting educational initiatives.
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6.5. Neighborhood Outreach

Neighborhood outreach programs provide services to the local community in exchange for donations. Students and volunteers can offer assistance with tasks such as leaf raking, snow shoveling, or minor home repairs for elderly residents. Residents appreciate the help and make donations to the school in return. It’s a compassionate way to raise funds while making a positive impact on the community.
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Social Media and Online Tools

7.1. Effective Use of Social Media

Harnessing the power of social media platforms is essential in today’s digital age. Schools can use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to raise awareness about their fundraising efforts. Sharing compelling stories, impactful images, and engaging videos can captivate the community’s attention. Leveraging the reach of social media enables schools to connect with a broader audience and encourage donations.
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7.2. Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are a strategic way to communicate with donors and supporters. Schools can craft engaging emails that highlight their needs, success stories, and the impact of contributions. Regular updates and personalized messages keep donors informed and motivated to continue their support. Effective email campaigns ensure that fundraising efforts stay on the radar of potential contributors.
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7.3. School Fundraising Websites

Dedicated fundraising websites provide a central hub for sharing information about ongoing campaigns, success stories, and easy donation options. These user-friendly websites offer a professional and convenient way for donors to learn about the school’s initiatives and contribute. A well-designed fundraising website enhances the school’s online presence and showcases its commitment to transparency and accessibility.
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7.4. Webinars and Virtual Fundraisers

Adapting to the digital landscape, schools can host webinars and virtual fundraisers. These events offer informative sessions or entertaining experiences online, allowing participants to contribute from the comfort of their homes. Whether it’s a virtual auction, an educational webinar, or an interactive live stream, virtual fundraisers open up new possibilities for reaching and engaging supporters.
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7.5. Online Auctions

Online auctions provide a dynamic way to raise funds by auctioning unique items or experiences. Bidders from the school community and beyond can compete for exciting opportunities, from signed memorabilia to exclusive outings. The competitive spirit and the allure of winning create a sense of excitement, and the proceeds directly contribute to the school’s financial goals. Online auctions combine entertainment with fundraising, making it an engaging approach.
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Volunteer Driven Fundraising

8.1. Parent Volunteers

Parent volunteers are a valuable asset to any school’s fundraising efforts. Many parents are willing to donate their time, skills, and resources to support their child’s education. Schools can organize a parent volunteer network, coordinating their efforts in various fundraising campaigns and events. From planning and organizing fundraisers to assisting with administrative tasks, parent volunteers play a pivotal role in the success of school fundraising initiatives.
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8.2. Student Volunteers

Empowering students as volunteers not only instills a sense of responsibility but also fosters leadership skills. Schools can establish leadership programs where students take on active roles in planning, organizing, and leading fundraising initiatives. Encouraging students to spearhead their fundraising projects not only raises funds but also promotes teamwork, creativity, and community engagement among the student body.
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8.3. Alumni Volunteers

Alumni often have a deep connection to their alma mater and are eager to give back. Schools can engage alumni as volunteers, tapping into their unique skills and experiences. Alumni volunteers can assist with mentoring programs, organizing fundraising events, or providing guidance on fundraising strategies. Their involvement not only benefits current students but also strengthens the bond between alumni and the school.
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8.4. Community Volunteers

Expanding the pool of volunteers to include members of the broader community can amplify the impact of fundraising efforts. Schools can reach out to local organizations, service clubs, and individuals who are willing to contribute their time and talents. These community volunteers can assist with event planning, logistics, and execution, ensuring the success of fundraising activities while fostering a sense of unity between the school and the community.
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8.5. Coordination and Recognition

Efficiently coordinating volunteer efforts is essential for the smooth execution of fundraising activities. Schools can establish volunteer coordination teams or committees responsible for recruiting, organizing, and recognizing volunteers. Recognizing volunteers’ contributions through certificates, awards, or acknowledgment in school publications not only expresses gratitude but also motivates others to join in. Acknowledging their efforts and celebrating their dedication reinforces a culture of volunteerism within the school community.
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Leveraging Corporate Partnerships

9.1. Partnering with Local Businesses

Collaborating with local businesses creates mutually beneficial partnerships. Schools can approach local restaurants, cafes, shops, and service providers to explore opportunities for partnership. Businesses can sponsor school events, donate resources, or provide discounts to school families. In return, schools offer recognition through banners, announcements, and social media promotions. Such partnerships not only contribute to fundraising efforts but also strengthen ties between the school and the local business community.
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9.2. Corporate Sponsorships

Corporate sponsorships are an excellent source of support for schools. Larger companies interested in supporting education can be approached for sponsorships. Schools can develop sponsorship packages that offer businesses opportunities for branding, community involvement, and recognition. These sponsorships can extend to supporting specific events, programs, or projects, providing substantial financial backing for the school’s initiatives.
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9.3. Employee Giving Programs

Encouraging businesses to establish employee giving programs simplifies the process of charitable contributions. These programs enable employees to make automatic payroll deductions for their chosen charitable donations, including contributions to the school. Schools can engage with local businesses to promote employee giving programs, making it convenient for employees to support education. It’s a hassle-free way for employees to contribute while fostering corporate social responsibility within businesses.
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9.4. Cause Marketing Campaigns

Cause marketing campaigns are a win-win strategy for both businesses and schools. Businesses can align their marketing efforts with a social cause, such as education. They can pledge to donate a portion of their sales to the school for a specified period. This approach not only enhances the business’s reputation but also generates funds for the school. Cause marketing campaigns demonstrate how businesses can contribute to the betterment of their community while promoting their products or services.
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9.5. In-Kind Donations

In-kind donations are a valuable form of support for schools. These contributions can include office supplies, equipment, professional services, or expertise that the school would otherwise need to purchase. Schools can reach out to businesses and individuals within the community to secure in-kind donations. These donations help reduce operational costs and ensure that funds raised can be directed toward educational programs and initiatives.
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Setting Fundraising Goals

10.1. Defining Clear Objectives

The foundation of successful fundraising lies in setting clear and measurable objectives. Schools should begin their fundraising journey by defining precisely how much money is needed, what it will be used for, and the timeline for achieving these goals. Clear objectives provide focus and direction, guiding fundraising efforts toward specific targets.
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10.2. Budget Planning

Budget planning is a crucial step in fundraising. Schools must create comprehensive budgets that outline the expected expenses associated with each fundraising idea or campaign. This budgeting process factors in costs such as marketing materials, permits, venue rentals, and any other expenses incurred during fundraising activities.
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10.3. Timelines and Milestones

Timelines and milestones serve as roadmaps for fundraising campaigns. Schools should establish clear timelines that break down fundraising initiatives into manageable phases. These timelines help teams track progress and stay on schedule. Setting milestones allows for incremental achievements that build momentum throughout the fundraising journey.
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10.4. Monitoring Progress

Consistent monitoring and evaluation are essential to gauge the success of fundraising efforts. Schools should implement systems to track donations, expenses, and the overall financial status of each campaign. Regular progress reports enable schools to make data-driven decisions, adjust strategies when necessary, and celebrate achievements.
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10.5. Celebrating Achievements

Celebrating achievements not only recognizes the hard work and dedication of the school community but also inspires continued support. Schools should take the time to acknowledge and thank donors, volunteers, and sponsors. Publicly sharing the impact of their contributions and how they have helped advance the school’s mission reinforces the sense of community and encourages ongoing engagement.
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Conclusion

In conclusion, we’ve explored 24 effective fundraising ideas that encompass traditional approaches, product-based strategies, creative events, donation-based initiatives, service-driven campaigns, community engagement, online tools, volunteer-driven efforts, corporate partnerships, and the importance of setting clear fundraising goals. Each of these ideas provides a unique avenue for schools to raise funds while building stronger connections with their communities.

The key to successful school fundraising is to choose strategies that align with the school’s goals, resources, and the preferences of the school community. By implementing a diversified fundraising approach and following best practices, schools can alleviate financial constraints and ensure a brighter future for their students.

We encourage readers to take action and start fundraising to support their schools. Together, we can create a thriving educational environment that empowers the leaders of tomorrow.
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