Have you noticed the information for the first bake sale of the new year inside the backpack of your child yet? Chances are if it isn’t in there yet, it will be, followed by many other fundraising requests throughout the year. Many schools are simply looking for ways to make up the deficit created by the latest recession to hit this country.
While we all wish that we could make enough donations to help the school systems recover, many families are already dealing with their own budgets stretched to their limits. For those parents who might be in charge of coming up with the next great fundraiser, it might be helpful to see which fundraisers have had the biggest success across the country. Many parents are more than willing to share their unique twists on traditional fundraising events, so whether you are running the event or planning on donating, here are nine creative fundraising ideas to share with fellow PTA members and parents.
1. Reaching Out Online
Trying to get people and local businesses to part with their money during a recession can be a challenge for any seasoned PTA member. Reach out for help online with a professional organization that specializes in developing fundraisers, and can provide step-by-step suggestions for increasing revenues.
2. Raffling Off a Teacher
Create an auction where you raffle off the services of teachers to students. Similar to a Chinese auction, teachers donate their time baking cookies, chaperoning a trip to a museum, dissecting frogs, teaching music, playing video games, or babysitting. Selling raffle tickets for only $1 each will generate a lot of interest, as children try to get to spend some quality time doing things with their favorite teachers outside the school environment.
3. Getting Cash for Some Trash
Recycling is still a viable source of raising money, except multiply those efforts by hundreds of students and their families and friends combined. Students and teachers can collect a variety of items, from aluminum cans, old computers, ink cartridges, and even old cell phones. These recycle drives can generate interest from local businesses who can also collect specified items and allow the parents and teachers to pick them up at each establishment. Empty soda cans and bottles can really add up quickly, especially in a school full of active kids.
4. Laughing at the Leader
Depending how cooperative the school principal might be towards the cause, develop a program in which money is raised in an effort to do something silly to the principal. For example, the principal can make the announcement to students that if $10,000 is raised, he will do the Polar Bear Plunge, allow himself to be duct taped to the goal post, participate in a dunk-tank, or paint their full body in school colors. Get the kids involved for some really creative ideas for this fundraising campaign.
5. Spelling Out Success
One of the reasons that academic fundraisers are so successful is that they get children excited to learn while raising the money the school is in desperate need of. Similar to fundraisers where students get parents to pledge depending on if certain tasks are accomplished, here the teachers choose a variety of difficult spelling words that are placed in a test. The children raise money dependent on how many of the words they can spell correctly on the day of the fundraising test. This can easily raise thousands for new equipment or supplies.
6. Carnival for the Community
Everyone loves a carnival! The school can host a carnival right on school grounds, complete with rides, games, food, raffles, tattoo booths, and crafts. The carnival is free to attend, except each ride and attraction costs tickets. Creating a unique theme can really inspire the town to come out in force, and if successful enough, can grow into an annual tradition that becomes one of the more successful fundraisers for the school.
7. Advertising Specialties
Chances are you have plenty of advertising specialties in your home that you don’t even realize. Things like mugs, calendars, caps, tee shirts, pillowcases, and pens, are all imprinted with the message of a local company or business looking to spread the word about their services. Take their lead and allow the kids to create artwork or designs that can be printed on mugs, shirts, or even caps, and then sold to parents or local businesses.
8. Hosting a Yard Sale
The school parking lot or playground can be pretty large in size, the perfect location for a community yard sale event. This type of fundraiser can raise money in one of several ways. One, students and parents collect slightly used goods from their homes that teachers and parents will sell at the yard sale. Second, tables can be rented to people in the community looking to sell their own goods. Third, local businesses can donate larger items or even services to their business that can be raffled off for $1 a ticket.
9. Kissing a Pig
Now this might seem like more fun than business, the truth of the matter is this little creative fundraising idea could outshine all the others by way of profit. The only thing needed here is the biggest pig that a local farm can afford to rent out for the day to the school. The premise here is that students from each grade level vote for the teacher they believe should have to kiss that pig. The way to vote, you must buy a $1 raffle ticket. When all the tickets are calculated, the teachers who received the most votes must first put on a little pig nose, then climb in the cage and kiss that giant pig on the nose. If the farm does not have a pig available, there are plenty of animals that will easily jump at the chance to be kissed by several teachers at the assembly.