I never realized until my kids hit elementary school just how many fundraisers schools have each year. Usually organized by the PTA, fundraisers play an important role in how schools spend their money. They pay for playgrounds, school functions, class parties, field trips, materials and library books, and so much more. Since selling items door to door is no longer an option for most schools, you have to be a little more creative and involved when it comes to fundraising. Here is a list of the biggest “hits” for fundraising in my sons’ schools.
1. Book fairs are a great way to raise a few dollars. Scholastic hosts our book fairs, and a portion of all the proceeds go towards new books for the kids’ birthdays and for the library. Scholastic also donates a certain amount of books or dollars for all book orders that happen throughout the year. This is a win-win for most people. You help contribute to your children’s learning and loving books while also contributing indirectly to the school.
2. Math-a-thon is the biggest fundraiser my kids’ school does all year. The kids’ are given a 20 question test, and are asked a month or so in advance to get pledges. Pledges can be a flat number, or per problem, and it really motivates the kids’ to do well on their tests.
3. Have a Family Fun Night at your school. Our school has inflatables, cake walks, bobbing for apples, and a slew of other kid friendly activities. They sell tickets at the door for $.50 each, each activity is usually one or two tickets, and make a ton of money each year for the school. They also serve hot dogs and lemonade for tickets, and it is something the kids’ look forward to every year.
4. Collaborate with local businesses. Our local Wendy’s has been great working together with our school. About once a month, they set up a two hour block of time that a proceed of ALL sales goes towards our school. This is great because it doesn’t require a lot of time or commitment.
5. Have a school yard sale. The potential for money-making with this is huge, depending on your area and marketing. Where I live, yard sales are extremely popular and all you need are a few volunteers and a lot of donations.
6. Have a car wash at the school or get together with a local retailer. I know Hy-Vee in my area accepts reservations for its parking lot all spring and summer long for car washes. Make sure you have plenty of kids doing the work, people are suckers for seeing a hard-working tyke.
7. Sell something. This is not my favorite fundraiser, but if you sell enough it can be lucrative. You can sell candies, cookie dough, wrapping paper, or trash bags. The real drawback to this is the cost of the items. It can be difficult to sell someone on a $10 roll of wrapping paper, so make sure you research the cost and potential profits throughly.
8. Have a raffle or silent auction. There are many retailers and restaurants that gladly donate coupons, gift certificates, free movie passes, or free services. Don’t forget to involve all the parents(not just the PTA), they may be able to donate items that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.
9. Major saver cards/coupon books can be great, but are often times limited to a certain geographical location. These are impossible to sell to out of town relatives since most discounts and coupons are usually for your area only. However, if you live in a smaller area and have a lot of friends and relatives nearby they can offer great savings and have great earning potential.
10. Host a golf tournament or some other sporting competition. This is a great way to fundraise and a great way to get the Dad’s involved. You can sell tickets to event, sell food at event, and require an entry fee for all participants. Just make sure the venue you choose will allow you to serve your own food at their concession stands, otherwise you will not be able to serve food without a catering license.
Fundraisers are not only a great way to help out your schools, but they are also a great way to become a part of your community. No matter what your looking for, the key to any fundraiser is spending the least amount of money necessary to receive the greatest profits. Whatever you decide, remember its for the kids so make sure to involve them and HAVE FUN!