It doesn’t take long after a school year starts for the first fundraising brochure to show up in your child’s school backpack. You may never find it if you don’t dig deep but trust me if you haven’t found one yet you will sooner rather than later – even if you have to dig around a little.
So knowing that school fundraising is a necessary if unpleasant part of the school year we thought we would share 10 easy school fundraising ideas you might consider.
1. Hold a Read-a-thon: Readathons are perfectly suited for elementary or middle school students. Since the basis of the fundraiser is getting people to support reading efforts and since those are the grades in which students should master reading skills then it only makes sense that people will support reading efforts. There is an online company called www.read-a-thon.com that has brought the concept into the modern era so we strongly suggest you check that out.
2. Have a school wide garage sale. Every student’s family will have some gently used clothes or toys that they could contribute to the school. Have them bring all of their unwanted stuff up to the school parking lot on a Saturday and have a group sale with all proceeds going to the school or PTA. We’ve heard of schools raising thousands and thousands of dollars selling household items no longer be used. It helps your families do a little clean up and easily raises money for the school.
3. Create an online fundraising event. There are tons of great sites that facilitate online donation type fundraisers. One that comes to mind is GoFundMe. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up and then you use their tools to contact friends and family requesting donations. Some of those events can go viral very quickly.
4. Consider signing up for a recycling fundraising plan. There are companies out there that will pay you for used printer cartridges, old cell phones and more. The programs vary greatly so it’s best to do a little research. We do not feel comfortable suggesting any particular company. But the concept is very sound. Just get your families to remember to bring those items up to the school instead of tossing them into the trash.
5. Lollipop fundraisers. There’s probably no better item for an elementary school to sell. Lollipops are cheap and kids love them. Some schools and PTA’s set aside Fridays as lollipop day. They set up tables near school exits so the kids can purchase a couple of lollipops on their way home. It’s important to hold those days on a regular schedule so that parents know to send money to school with their students.
6. It takes a little work but how about a school talent show combined with a spaghetti dinner? There’s nothing like performing kids to draw a crowd into your school. So you might as well monetize the traffic by offering spaghetti or some other inexpensive dinner and sell tickets.
7. Partner with local restaurants. There are tons of local restaurants and you can even find some national chains that offer a percentage of sales on group nights. The percentage varies but some local stores can offer as much as 20% of the money spent that night. It’s an extremely easy way to raise money and all you have to do is promote the event and be on hand to greet your supporters.
8. Scrip fundraising can be a steady cash generator. If your school has never gotten involved with one of the scrip card companies let me explain how they work. Companies purchase gift cards in bulk and are able to sell them to your school at a deep enough discount that you can re sell them to your supporters and make a nice profit. Thousands of groups sell the cards and you will be impressed by the national retailers and restaurants that participate. The risk in the program is that you must purchase the cards so there’s always the chance that you might not be able to sell all the cards.
9. Cookie dough fundraisers. I know we started this column by taking about hidden brochures in back packs but if your school is going to sell a product it might as well choose one that’s very popular with children and families. The good thing about cookie dough fundraising is that there’s no cost to start your sale. It’s definitely a kid friendly product!