Elementary and high schools annually engage in more fundraising activities than any other group. School fundraisers are a necessary part of a school’s ability to raise money for extra curricular activities, classroom supplies, gym equipment, and more. Schools have been running successful fundraisers for decades. The keys to making it work are organization, preparation, and sticking to a realistic time frame.
How you prepare and proceed depends on the type of fundraiser you wish to execute. If students will be selling candy bars, you’ll need to have the candy bars there and ready to sell. Alternatively, if you’ll be hosting a special event at the school or in a local venue, you’ll need to make certain that you’ve gathered your resources and volunteers and everything is ready to set up and launch easily on the date you’ve set for the event. Last minute complications can be a nightmare. You and your volunteers need to create a well-organized, structured plan that includes as much detail as possible. Where will you host the event? What items or products will you need to have for it? What other resources will you need, such as tables, chairs, decoration, and so forth? How will you market the occasion? What will it all cost? Who are your volunteers and what can they offer? It’s important to know what steps you need to take to set up a successful affair.
Once your ideas, volunteers, budget, and strategy are all in place, how will get people to attend? With school fundraisers, not only can you get students to participate, but parents as well. By creating an exciting, relaxed, fun atmosphere, you’ll surely get a great turn out. Getting parents and the community involved is crucial. Most people, especially those with children, are more than happy to donate a few dollars to support local schools, so be easy on their wallet and offer them something they can afford. If you charge tickets or products that are over-priced, people may shy away from your event. Consider what types of events you might enjoy and how much you’d be willing to donate yourself.
Now, as far as your fundraiser is concerned, the first part of your event, during that initial rush, when people are arriving and have started to participate in activities and so forth, is the time in which you’ll probably receive the most donations. The end of your event is usually a good time, too, when those procrastinating donors finally make their last minute contributions.
The middle of the event is often where fundraisers can easily begin to lose steam. Most contributors have made their donations and the enthusiasm has begun to wear off.
During this period, it is a good idea to have predetermined targets so everyone involved knows how much money the school has raised thus far as well as what goal you’re trying to reach. Make an announcement, reminding partakers of the wonderful things their donations will support. If they know where their hard earned dollars are going, they’ll be more likely to offer more generous donations. Congratulate them for the progress they’ve made thus far and make them feel important, reminding them that every dollar they give does make a difference. Be positive and appreciative. After all, without them, you wouldn’t be able to raise any money at all. Now is the time to get people re-energized and motivated towards reaching your school’s fundraising goal.
Lastly, your fundraiser should have a suitable, specific ending time or date. Your event should be long enough so donors all have plenty of opportunities to contribute. However, don’t make it too long or participants may end up growing weary, bored, and ready to leave. By making certain that event attendees and volunteers alike are aware of when your fundraiser will end, you give everyone involved the ability to see a clear ending point to the event and how much time is left to reach the fundraiser’s financial goals. It also sparks a feeling of urgency towards the end of the event that can boost donations.
Using these tips can help your next fundraiser be a success. Good planning, strategy, and marketing, along with a reliable group of motivated volunteers, will keep your guests entertained and inspired to donate to your school’s fundraising efforts.
Here are some great fundraising ideas for your school to get you motivated and inspired.
Set up the school gymnasium or another place for a school gathering. Fill up the space with a couple hundred balloons. In 10% to 20% of the balloons, place slips of paper redeemable for cash or prizes. In the rest of the balloons, put a piece of paper that says “Good try!” or something along those lines, or just leave them empty. You can also have a “guess the number of balloons” game where patrons can write down their guess, along with their name and put it in a jar. Offer a prize to the person whose guess is the closest. Charge 50 cents or a dollar for every guess and for each balloon they want to pop. You can do several variations on this, too. Be imaginative.
Find a comfortable reclining chair or sofa to use for this event. Throughout the week, sell raffle tickets for a chance to win a day at school in this comfortable seat. The winner of the raffle drawing gets to spend their day comfortably lounging around and will have pizza and sodas (or other foods and beverages that are a treat to them) served to them for lunch.
Students can go door to door selling candy bars. Find a company that sells fundraising products, such as boxes of $1 candy bars, and purchase them for this event. Some companies will allow you to sell the candy bars first and pay for them afterwards. Offer prizes for top sellers to keep students motivated to sell.
A popular annual fundraising method is catalog or brochure sales. High school students may go through neighborhoods, door to door, and show a catalog with different merchandise potential supporters can order to help raise money for your school. Orders are written down on a detailed order form. The student then returns their order form to the school so the orders can be fulfilled. Once the products come, students then deliver and accept payment for the items from the customers who placed orders. Depending on your situation, students can collect payment upon ordering, if necessary.
You can offer computer game software and family board games in low-priced auctions that just about anyone can afford. Offer several auctions with different games, letting parents and donators know that proceeds for every game purchased are donated to the school. These types of auctions can either be sponsored at a single event, or ran online with our simple charity auction software.
Provide different colors of t-shirts and plenty of non toxic fabric paints and markers. Participants can purchase a t-shirt and decorate them with their friends and classmates. You could also add a twist by setting up a “splatter wall” where one lucky guest stands against the wall, with their head completely covered, while their friends splash paint at them or decorate their shirt. Alternatively, you could do a “blind man” game where students are blindfolded and decorate each other’s shirts.
You’ll need plenty of markers, white socks, music, and a place to run this event. Set up the gymnasium or other space and throw a sock hop where everyone decorates a pair of socks and dances away in them! Charge a small admittance fee at the door. Attendees will also purchase socks from you that they get to decorate for a “crazy sock” contest. Offer small prizes for different categories, such as “funniest feet,” “most unique,” and so forth and let all contestants vote. You can also have a sock hop “dance off” competition and offer prizes.
Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate cake, doughnuts, or other scrumptious dessert? Hold a fun dessert day. You can roll a bakery cart from class to class, allowing students to pay for a small, yummy dessert that they get to eat during class. This is an enticing way to raise money for youth programs or your school.
Have students dress up like their favorite movie characters. Pick a popular movie that most students have seen. Have them stand in front of everyone and let students and/or parents pay $1 to vote on the best look-alike.
Hold a raffle or other simple fundraiser, announcing a specific fundraising goal. If your school reaches its’ goal, the kids get to vote to have the principal dress up in any costume they wish.
Fill plastic Easter eggs with raffle numbers or slips stating “You Win!” or “Better luck next time.” Students and faculty buy as many eggs as they’d like for $1 each. Prize winners can pick up small, donated prizes at the principal’s office or other area.
Entertainment coupon books offer a great value for your donor’s contribution. Packed with coupons from a variety of merchants, your supporters can save hundreds of dollars with buy one get one free, 50% off, and other offers. Search online for available entertainment book fundraising options.
Students go door to door selling either fake or real flowers. Each flower has a small envelope attached to it. Put a $5 bill in some envelopes and a “thank you for your support” note or other message in others. Let donors choose their flower for a chance to win a small cash prize.
Set this event up with the school first to make sure teachers are agreeable and willing to participate. Sell raffle tickets for $1 each. Hold a drawing in which the winner gets an entire day’s worth of free “A” grades for all assignments from their classes that day. They don’t have to do the assignments or have any homework.
Offer raffle tickets for sale to students that allow the winner to take a free day off from study. Set up a comfortable area with a couch and/or some bean bags, along with some entertainment. Allow the winners to spend the entire school day lounging around, playing games, and socializing. Provide them with a special lunch and snacks, too.
Set up a week at your school where students and faculty can use a sign up sheet to buy a flower that they can offer as a surprise to their friends. On the sign up sheet, have them write their name in one column and the name of the person they want to give a flower to in another column. Have them pay for every flower they want to give when they sign up. Then, use part of the money to purchase wholesale flowers at our wholesale site. Once you’ve received them, set up a day to have someone dress up and deliver the flowers around school. Donate the rest of the proceeds to the school.
Fundraising for high schools can be done over the internet using a variety of methods. One way is to create a link on your high school or organization’s website that links visitors directly to the company hosting your online fundraising campaign. Encourage visitors to purchase products from the company through your high school’s personalized page and your high school keeps all of the profits.
Another method is to set up online auctions or a personalized high school fundraising website in which you can offer items for auction or sale to supporters. At CharityAuctionsToday.com, you can set up a free auction site and storefront and create as many auctions as you’d like with no listing fees or other out of pocket expense. You can also accept monetary donations through our secure payment options. See the Donation Pages tab to learn how you can sign up for free membership today!
You can also use the internet to market other types of fundraising events your high school can promote. By placing information on your school’s website, you can easily reach parents, students, faculty, and others in the community that you may otherwise not be able to reach. As an added bonus, you can do this with no extra costs, saving you a good deal of money that you might otherwise have to spend on printing full page flyers or other print or mailing materials.
Host a beach or swimming pool party for your youth team, club, or other school group. Set up some enjoyable activities, such as pool volleyball, Marco Polo, or pin the tail on the dolphin games that the kids will love. Charge a small admission fee and sell snacks and beverages to parents and youth to raise extra money.
Using a pledge form that can easily be created, students get pledges from donors that are willing to donate so much for each “A” or “B” on the student’s report card. When report cards come out, they bring them to their donors and collect money for their good grades.
Sell bumper stickers with your high school’s mascot, name, motto, or fun saying on them. You can use websites such as www.cafepress.com or others to take advantage of their free print-on-demand services, which allow you to design your stickers and purchase the quantities you want with so set up costs or minimums. You could also sell buttons, hats, magnets, or other items as well.
Set up a fake jail cell in which students can pay to have other students or willing faculty members incarcerated for short periods. Others can pay “bail” to get them out of jail.
Have kids and their parents come up with their child’s favorite, fun recipe. Collect all the recipes and assemble a cookbook. You can take the cookbook to a publishing company or go to www.cafepress.com or other websites to use their print-on-demand services, which require no money upfront and allow you to order as many copies as you need so you can successfully fill all of your orders. Once you’ve determined what price you’ll need to set, start taking orders ahead of time. Also, make sure you have plenty of copies on hand for those last minute purchases.
Hold a students’ karaoke competition and offer prizes for best and worst karaoke talent. Charge a small admission fee to students, parents, and others to attend. You could also set up a beverage and snack stand to bring in even more donations.
Hand out an unmarked envelope to everyone in your class. Ask every student to place a coin, note, drawing, or something else inside of the envelope, then seal it and hand it over. Then, staple all of the envelopes to a cardboard tree. Once they’re all on the tree, parents, students, and teachers can all pay a donation to choose an envelope and they win whatever is in the envelope.
This is a wonderful idea for the school as well as parents who need to buy instruments for their children for school band classes or band clubs. A win-win situation for all, offering instruments that students need at prices their parents can afford, is a great idea that can generate a lot of interest and savings.
We’ve all been caught passing notes to friends at school. Sneaking them past the trained, hawk eye of teachers is tricky. If you’re caught, you know the consequences. Either your note is thrown away, confiscated, or you encounter the dreadful horror of having it read aloud! You can raise some money by having a week where students can pay to have their notes delivered safely, with no threat from teachers. Simply create some stationary with a stamp or other mark that signifies that it has immunity and cannot be confiscated. Students pay 50 cents per note they wish to deliver to another student. A volunteer can deliver the notes each day.
Set up an area at the school where parents can pay to have babysitters at the school watch their kids on a Friday night. Get older students or others to volunteer as babysitters.
Hold a picnic in which parents can donate utensils, tables, chairs, food items, and beverages. During or after a delicious potluck lunch, have events set up in which parents compete against their children. Some fun races include potato sack races, horseshoes, an egg toss, pie throwing contest, tricycle races, and so on. Offer ribbons or small prizes to winners. You can charge an admission fee for this event as well as offer $1 raffle tickets or use other creative means of raising donations.
Fashion a wonderfully fun event for students by hosting a pet pageant. Students can sign up with their pet for a local pet show at an animal friendly locale where they can dress their pets up in costumes and show them off. Charge a small admission fee for attendees. You can offer prizes, ribbons, or sashes in several different, fun categories, such as “Cutest Pet”, “Silliest Pet”, “Best Costume”, and so forth.
Set up an evening to put on a potato bar. Offer baked potatoes with all of the goodies, like bacon bits, broccoli cheese, onion, and so forth that people can put on their potatoes. You can also find people to donate salads and desserts, if you’d like. Charge a small price to attend or accept donations. To make it fun, we heard of one group that actually had a man dress like Mr. Potato Head and walk around. Kids got to pull off and replace his different parts, which were attached to him using Velcro.
Students go door to door or have an area set up at school where students’ families and the public can drop off their glass bottles or aluminum cans for recycling. The school takes them to the recycling center to turn them in for cash.
Set up a small school carnival and charge students and their families to attend. They could also purchase tickets for games, like a ring toss, dunk the teacher game, pie throwing contest, and so forth. It doesn’t take a huge budget to pull off a fundraiser of this nature. With some simple items, such as glass bottles and plastic rings for a ring toss or finding volunteers who can donate a horse or tractor for pony or hay rides, you can come up with several enjoyable activities and games without breaking the bank. You can also ask for volunteers who are willing to help run, organize, and decorate for the event.
Different classes form teams that contend with other class teams in fun, competitive events at the school. Some possibilities for events include games, obstacle courses, jumping and running events, shot put throw, archery, 3-legged sack or other races, and so on. Winners can receive ribbons for first, second, and third place. Set up the event for a specific day and charge a small ticket price for those who wish to attend, letting the community know that your purpose is to raise money for the school. You can also use raffle tickets as your entrance tickets. By purchasing a ticket to attend, their name goes into a raffle drawing in which winners will be announced throughout the event.
Create a dance committee and set up a themed school dance where students pay an admission fee to attend. During the dance, hold a dance or other competition in which students can compete for prizes or ribbons.
Get parents, students, and teachers to donate small items for prizes in a raffle for your school. Charge a dollar for each raffle ticket. Depending on the number of prizes donated, you can do several raffle drawings, such as one a day for a week or two. At a specific time each day, an announcement of the winning number(s) is made over the school’s intercom. The winner goes to the office and picks up their prize.
Set up a slushy stand in the cafeteria. Students can purchase slushies all day long and drink them during classes, if they wish. Make sure the school administration and faculty agree to this beforehand. You could also do this with sodas, juices, or other beverages.
This is a no brainer! Purchase and then sell cans of soda to students during lunch every day for a specific period of time, such as a week or two, or longer if you wish. You can buy canned soda in bulk from places like Sam’s Club, Costco, and other similar types of merchants who specialize in bulk sales. The local grocery store works, too, although you may pay a little more. Mark the price up and keep the profits for your school. Remember to put out a recycling bin, too, for aluminum cans or bottles. This is a quick, easy way to raise money, requiring little effort.
Host a spaghetti dinner at the school one evening and charge for each plate. Ask parents to donate utensils, pasta, sauces, bread, and other items.
Students go door to door with spinners. Donors are asked to spin the spinner twice and donate the amounts that the arrow lands on. Give them a sheet of coupons as a thank you for their donation.
Find a teacher who is popular with the students who is willing to participate, and buy a few rolls of duct tape! On the designated day of the event, find a place where people pass by frequently. Push the side of a chair up to the wall and have the teacher stand on it with their back against the wall. Make sure you place gym mats or other padding around them for safety reasons. Offer duct tape for 50 cents per yard that the students and other faculty members can use to duct tape the teacher to the wall. Once the teacher is securely attached to the wall, stop selling duct tape and announce that you will now remove the chair to see how long the teacher will stay stuck to the wall.
Have the kids at your school put on a play or hold a fun talent show in which students may participate. Charge a ticket price for parents and others attending, letting them know about your fundraising mission and how their donations will help the school.
Ask children and parents to offer donations of small toys and gifts for students. Hold a tea party or other similar event during school, along with a special raffle, using the donated items as prizes for raffle winners. Ask parents to help purchase raffle tickets for their child, letting them know about your worthwhile cause.
This is a fun way for your school to raise money, involving students and faculty alike. Hold a competition in which the two classes that raise the most money get the opportunity to re-decorate the other’s classroom. First, talk to teachers to see which ones would like to participate. Then, give all of them a can or jar they can sit in their classroom. Students drop in their donations. At the end of each day, post a bulletin to let everyone know who’s in the lead and how much money has been raised so far.
At the end of the event, tally up the totals and announce the two winners. The students and teachers from these two classes get to then, with the help of art teachers or others, design and re-decorate the other winner’s classroom.
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