Whether you’re the head of your PTO/PTA, a teacher, a parent volunteer, or a student, the fastest way to a successful fundraiser for your elementary or high school is to involve kids, parents, and your community.
Involve the kids
School fundraisers give you a chance to help young people understand the dynamics of raising funds as well as meet your fundraising goals. Moreover, participation helps build school pride in your students. Furthermore, kids like to succeed. If you’re clear about your goals and their jobs, you’ll easily put together a hard-working team.
Some fundraisers can be almost completely organized and conducted by high school students...
- Dress-down day: If your school has a dress code or kids wear uniforms, have a day when students can wear casual clothes. Charge each student who wants to participate. Make certain that you ask permission of your principal first. Use the same strategies for and Ugly Tie Day or Crazy Hat Day
- Band and choir concerts: Ask your school band or choir to donate their time by performing a benefit concert for your cause. Charge admission.
- Bag groceries: Ask a local grocery store if you can bag people’s groceries for donations. Be certain to put up a sign saying how the donation will be used.
- Spelling bee: Look through some books or in the dictionary and come up with a list of words of increasing difficulty. Charge admission to the event.
- Battle of the bands: Great for high schools. Every town has a couple of “garage” or “basement” bands that are waiting to debut! Bands can get pledges for the number of audience votes they receive. You can charge admission to a voting audience as well! The winning band receives a prize or trophy.
- Games night: Organize an evening of board games. (e.g. Monopoly, Backgammon, Chess… use your imagination!) Entrants pay to play. Winners receive a prize.
Parents can be a big help with school fundraising.
Involve the community
- Help sell products by taking brochures and catalogs to their workplace.
- Chaperone student events like car washes and benefit dances.
- Contribute their “Secret Family Recipe” to the class cookbook.
- Ask employers to match the amount the kids raise.
- Ask permission to leave donation cans in their workplace.
- Donate goods to bake sales, craft sales, garage sales, white elephant sales, etc.
- Donate to pot luck dinners
- Supervise events like spaghetti dinners, luncheons.
Although not everyone in a community has children is school, there are many ways you can turn school spirit into community spirit!
- Local businesses are often eager to show support for community schools and school activities in many ways.
- Monetary donations
- Space to host your bake or craft sale, hot dog stand, or car wash.
- Donations of big-ticket items for raffle prizes
- Donations of small prizes for carnivals and door prizes.
- Debate evening: Research a number of community or school related issues and invite various citizens to debate. Create a cover charge and/or take questions from the audience for a fee. (25 or 50 cents per question). The issues can be fun. For example, have your school principal argue that chewing gum during class enhances the learning process versus a student who argues against allowing gum chewing in class.
- Bingo: Host a bingo night in the school cafeteria.
- Progressive Dinners: Ask parents to cook specific foods, and then charge admission to a school dinner. Do this with ethnic recipes and make it international, each course priced a la carte. Alternatively, each course can be based on a subject (e.g. George Washington Cherry Pie for history, Hawaiian or Taco Pizza for Geography!) and served in the related room of your school.
- Put together a book of coupons donated by local business and sell them throughout the community.
- Host a pet show, flower show, etc. at your school. Charge entrants a fee.
More School Fundraising Ideas:
Frequently elementary and high school classes raise funds for trips and extra curricular activities by selling a product. Many companies specialize in working with schools, letting kids sell everything from candy bars to candles and Christmas Wreaths to Valentines cards.
The biggest problem with product sale fundraisers is safety. Discourage children from going door-to-door and encourage them to take orders only from friends, neighbors, and relatives even though prizes for the most sales may tempt them to go outside of their neighborhoods.
Many philanthropic organizations, large corporations, and government agencies do have grants available for specific school projects and needs. Use the Internet to research these opportunities.
As PTOs, PTAs and other school organizations become more sophisticated, many develop their own websites that advertise their fundraisers and take donations. In constructing a fund-raising web site, be sure to be specific about your fundraiser.
- The purpose of your fundraiser
- The duration of your fundraiser
- The goal you hope to achieve
In addition to taking donations, your fundraising web site can also sell products through the programs developed by one (or more) of the many on-line fundraising companies.
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