It may be a long-standing tradition at your school that in Term One you do a disco, a Fun Run in second term, a cake stall for Mothers’ Day, a hat parade for Book Week, a book stall for Fathers’ Day and Carols just before the end of Term Four – but have you ever stopped to think that perhaps everyone is bored with doing the same thing over and over… and over?
While traditions are fantastic and you should respect them, there is no reason why you can’t shake things up with the fundraising and events at your school and keep it fresh.
Here are some top tips to preventing fundraising boredom at your school:
- Although this may seem counter-intuitive, start a new tradition where each year there is a special reward if the school community reaches a fundraising target. The reward should change every year and could be as simple as a free dress day, making the teachers come to work in their pyjamas, being principal for a day, a whole-of-school lunchtime disco or a special pizza and movie lunch organised by the canteen or P&C.
- Don’t just re-use last year’s posters and letters, take the time to make changes and keep things new. If you have developed a logo for a particular event, keep using it, but is it time to freshen it up a little? Pausing to re-do the letters may help you see where events can be changed or improved.
- Want to keep the annual fete? That’s fine, but grab a handful of organisers from the previous years, and ask them: what would you do differently? Make sure you reach out to organisers from five years ago – as they will have a unique perspective on the event and how it has changed for the better (or worse).
- Do a simple straw poll at school (either with kids or parents) and ask them what events and fundraisers they want to see. If people are excited about something in particular, you will find that there are more people willing to volunteer and get involved. For kids, you can leave empty white boards parked in the playground or canteen and ask them to write their ideas on the boards, or add ticks to the ideas they like. For parents, design a really quick evaluation on Survey Monkey.
- If your Term One disco and Term Two fun run are successful and easy to plan, then shake things up by alternating the theme each year – one year the kids can dress as superheroes, the next year, everyone can wear only one colour. Make choosing the theme a reward for a child, class or year group who ‘wins’ a special contest (raising the most money, voted ‘most improved’, provides the most volunteers to help clean up the school yard etc). Here are some other great incentives for kids.
- Parents generally want to help their kid’s school, but sometimes they also want to help themselves. Why not organise a car boot sale on your school oval so families can sell their own unwanted toys and goods. Charge a $5 entry fee for sellers and a $2 entry fee for buyers, promote to the local community and you have a fun morning where everyone makes a few dollars.
- It’s simple – but don’t use the word ‘fundraiser’ when promoting an event. It’s okay to sell tickets to cover costs, and people are usually happy to spend some money on a sausage sizzle, cupcake or a cold drink, but if you are not asking people to constantly put their hand in their pocket, and instead promote events as a ‘community’ event, you will get a higher attendance (and probably still make plenty of money). Some suitable ideas are outdoor movies nights in summer and wintery story-telling nights.
- If you notice ticket sales dropping for a long-standing event, perhaps you just need to move it to alternate years and introduce a new idea. You can find hundreds of new ideas here on the Fundraising Mums ideas index.
What are other ways you can freshen things up at your school?