School fundraising isn’t just about raising money. Administrators, teachers, parents, and students all benefit from the social aspects of fundraising, utilize problem-solving skills, develop a sense of community, and learn how to advocate for themselves. Fundraising may also help put some of the FUN back in school while raising valuable dollars for education. Here is a list of 10 fundraising ideas to try in your school.
Donor’s Choose allows teachers to write informal proposals (compared to grant writing) for classroom needs. Check the site for restrictions in your state. Break large financial requests into different proposals for a better chance of getting funded, and write as many requests as possible. Provide your faculty with information on Donor’s Choose, ask for a few moments to share at the next faculty meeting, or even request a block of time to hold your own professional development getting the entire staff to post at least one proposal. Even the most inaccessible faculty members have a wish list for their classrooms.
Art/Music/Drama Showcase and/or sales are not only worth a few dollars, but also promote school-home relationships. Try getting some faculty members to do a little dance or song; no student will want to miss his/her teacher acting a fool like these teachers dancing to Thriller on YouTube!
Walk/Run for books, computers, team uniforms, or other school needs. Get the community, friends, families, and students involved in a fitness activity for fundraising. Check to see if it would qualify for service learning credit.
Host a Happy Hour Party: Alcohol and education may not be conventional, but current education funding cutbacks require creative, out-of-the-classroom thinking. Check out local bars with all-inclusive food and drink packages, which charge a flat rate for parties. Why not add $5 to the rate and allow anyone entering the chance to join your “party” for a good cause. Set out a donation jar for those who don’t wish to participate, but have a few bucks to spare. You may even convince the management to lower their rate a few dollars for schoolbooks, to maximize earning potential. If you live in a large city, host a few parties in different areas to increase awareness of educational funding in jeopardy and bring in more dough.
Speaking of dough, why not hold a bake sale? Beginning of the school year, semester, or near the holidays, bake sales offer another occasion for school-home bonding at every level.
Have students write a book or make movies. Poetry, recipes, or holiday-based stories and images are a few ideas for student-generated books. Parents will cherish seeing their child’s (including teenagers) work highlighted among the school’s best and brightest. Have students create their own movies and hold a film festival. Students won’t even know they’re learning and researching while incorporating technology. Ask for parent judges and offer students a chance to buy tickets for a school day screening and one in the evening for families.
Find corporate sponsors. What a great lesson plan! Have students learn how to write formal letters while utilizing the writing process and making connections to the real world. Many businesses donate money for tax breaks, so why not make it a win-win opportunity. Offer publicity in the school paper, newsletter, at athletic events, in drama or dance programs, or letters home as an incentive. Don’t forget thank you notes as another learning opportunity.
In-school events like hat day, lunchroom relays, game days, movie day, poetry slams, and dance parties give students a voice in school decision making while building positive associations with their school. Allow students to show school spirit, do something fun while working as a team, build school community, and raise a few dollars for school needs. Charge a small fee-$1 to $2 once a month, make a goal chart and post it where everyone can see it, and promote student participation for maximum financial gain.
Raffles&Auctions: Ask for donations or volunteers to provide services. Getting students to volunteer to wash cars, clean houses, organize papers (I would love some students to help clean my classroom!), babysit, or whatever other talents you students possess, could bring in some money for your school. Of course, be cautious: have students work in teams or with a chaperone if providing a service outside of school.
Hold a Car Wash at your school. Instead of charging a set fee, accept donations; you may be surprised to see how generous people are when receiving a service and supporting education.
Fundraising for schools not only helps provide students with educational needs, but also builds school community, family relationships, and civic relationships. Whether your school needs art supplies or overhead projectors, there’s no need to wait for government funds when it comes to education. Show students how powerful they can be in building better schools through fundraising activities.