Parents and teachers share creative ideas that go beyond raffles and car washes and keep the fun in fundraising. We teamed up with Family Fun Magazine to share these 5 ideas that you can recreate at your school!
Find some great ideas below and download the entire printable guide here: Best School Fundraiser Ideas
1. Send Your Teacher Packing
St. Bernadette’s Catholic School in Springfield, Virginia came up with the idea to have a Surprise Teacher Getaway Raffle. Nearly half the school’s 380 students entered their favorite teachers and staff into a drawing that featured a parent-donated four-day vacation. They received over $3000 toward interactive whiteboards.
Students decorated the raffle tickets with stickers, “Good Luck!” messages, and smiley faces. The tickets said “Please send on vacation.” Families bought them for $5 each, filled in a teacher’s name (and their own on the back), then entered them in the vacation drawing. With nearly half of school families participating, minimal work, and happy kids and teachers, this fund-raiser was truly a win-win solution.
The school expects it to become an annual event. “It’s just the perfect overall morale booster,” Mary Fedorochko says. “And you should have heard Mrs. Fellinger scream when her name was drawn!”
Mary’s tip: Invite the teachers to take a short break while a volunteer goes class to class explaining the raffle to students.
2. Keep On Truckin’
Cheverly Weekday Nursery School (and Mothers’ Day Out program) in Cheverly Maryland shares “The Cheverly Truck Touch” fundraiser idea. Kids buy $3 tickets to explore a fleet of construction, emergency, safety, and farm vehicles parked in the school lot. They raise about $3,000 a year toward lower tuition.
This is also great way to involve the community. Katie Troyner says ““I just drive around town, and whenever I see a cool vehicle, I ask the owner if he or she would be willing to bring it!” They had more than 30 garbage trucks, school buses, police cars, classic cars, ambulances, fire trucks, backhoes, and more. The event also offers games, prizes, and concessions, with almost everything donated.
Katie’s tips: Outfit volunteers with orange safety vests and walkie-talkies. Ask vehicle owners to stay with their trucks and to supervise the visiting children. Solicit donations of food and prizes from local businesses.
3. Write the Book on Local Fun
This fundraising idea from Woodland Montessori School in Harrisonburg, Virginia is called “Kids’ Community Guide: Cool Things to Do With Kids in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County”. The school publishes and gives away a 50-page family guidebook, raising money through ad sales. They raised $8,000 for playground equipment.
Eileen Frueh, chair of Kids’ Community Guide, says, “It serves three purposes: raising funds for the school, generating free PR for the school, and providing an essential resource for the community.”
The idea for the guide came to Eileen when she first moved to the area and was looking for activities for her two young children. With her background in publications development, she decided to share the answers she got, and raise money for her kids’ school in the process. An unpaid college intern interviewed parents for the guide’s content (in exchange for job experience and a great reference), Eileen edited entries for uniformity, and a committee sold more than 80 ads. The guide was then laid out by a professional graphic designer, and 5,000 copies were printed and distributed to local businesses, among other outlets.
Now families in Harrisonburg know where to turn for advice about local arts, sports, hiking, camping, and more. And a local school has a new playground. “It’s a fantastic fund-raiser,” Eileen says, “especially since it taps into a different money pool than the school parents.”
Eileen’s tip: Visit local businesses to sell ads face-to-face.
4. On With the Show
McKenzie Elementary School inWilmette, Illinois hosts an Annual Variety Show every year to raise money. Audiences filled the house five times last year (at $6 a head) to watch parents and school staff perform themed music and dance numbers. They received $13,000 toward PTA-sponsored enrichment activities.
This fundraising idea is entertaining to both the students and adults. You can also have a theme each year. One example from this school is “Ready, Set, Game!” which included a rap number about Quidditch, a football spoof called “Referee” (set to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”), a version of “We Are the Champions”, and an all-mom tap number. Including the volunteers who sold tickets, ushered, and worked on sets and costumes, more than a third of the school’s families played a role in the event.
“For weeks after the show, my kids sing the songs and reminisce about seeing their gym teacher dance,” volunteer Mande Mischler says. “Honestly, it’s as much a community builder as a money maker.”
Mande’s tips: Keep rehearsals to one night a week by splitting up the skits over five nights and asking adults to sign up accordingly. And don’t get too hung up on perfection: less talent means more laughs!
5. Walk Like a Tiger
Farmersville Elementary in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania shares their fundraiser idea called “The Tiger Trek”. Students earn pledge money by walking laps around the
school soccer fields for half an hour. Walkers who brought in $20 or more were entered in a drawing to win sports equipment. They raised $12,000 for the PTA to fund school upgrades and enrichment programs.
The Tiger Trek was named after the school’s mascot. The program raises funds, self-esteem, and fitness. “With all the talk about childhood obesity and body mass index, I knew a healthy walk would be the best fund-raiser for us,” Cathy Shay says. They had 557 walkers, and beat their goal of $10,000.
Volunteers designed the pledge-collection envelopes and lap-recording cards, picked
out a small sneaker charm for each walker, shopped for raffle prizes, and ordered T-shirts and water bottles for top walkers and pledge getters. On the day of the walk, 50 adults were on hand to mark off laps at checkpoints, run the water stops, direct classes to the proper fields, and take pictures.
Cathy’s tip: Maximize participation by planning the event for a school day.