Fundraisers that centre around books have two-fold benefits: not only are they popular fundraisers with keepsake products that are long-lasting but they support improved literacy outcomes, and can be incorporated into the existing curriculum. Although this post is sponsored by one of my advertisers, all words and opinions are my own.
In a nutshell
Fundraising Ideas: Compilation Storybook where each child has their own story published into a professionally bound book
Suitable for: all schooling levels, remote schools
Profit: variable, from $3-$5 per book or more
Schoolyard Stories publishes books created by children, and get kids excited about reading and writing by allowing them to become published authors.
There are a number of different options available to schools who are looking for a literacy based fundraiser, such as the recipe book, but one of the most popular is the compilation storybook. Each child is able to write and submit their own story and artwork, which are then compiled and published into a professionally bound book. Depending on the size of the school, you can do a single book for each year group, or one for the whole school. The compilation book would make a great graduation project for students finishing primary or high school, and the flexibility in the format allows students to upload stories, poems, photos and artwork.
A compilation storybook is a great platform to showcase students’ talent and enable them to collaborate on a common goal. Kids love reading their friend’s stories and poems, and get excited about seeing their own work published in a real book.
Schoolyard Stories founder, Sophia is a qualified teacher and fellow fundraising volunteer. As a result, the program has been designed to fit into the school curriculum, and online publishing makes it easy for students, teachers and fundraising committee members, backed up with telephone support and online help and video tutorials.
Costs and Profit
The cost per book is dependent on the number of pages, whether it is colour or black and white and the quantities ordered. There is a minimum order of 50 books, although each can have a personalised cover at no extra cost, meaning that every child can have their own artwork on the cover.
A standard A5 compilation storybook with 100 pages, colour cover and black and white pages costs $12 each for 50 copies but reduces to $9.10 per book for orders of 100.
Books can be sold at any price of your choosing – but a reasonable suggestion would be $15-$20, making a minimum $150-$400 profit if you sold 50 basic books and $590-$1,090 profit if you sold 100 copies.
As you make the books larger, longer and with more personalised features such as colour printing inside, the price obviously increases, potentially reducing profitability, although making special keepsakes that would be highly valued.
The publishing process
On starting the fundraiser, the teachers and organisers gain access to the online publishing software, create a template and style (if desired) and then invite students to upload their stories directly to the program. The organisers are able to add chapters and edit stories throughout the process.
The software is easy to use, and can be done in-class with teachers, at home with parents, or older students could use library classes to upload their own stories. There are videos available to guide you through the process as well as a team you can call or email for support.
Personalised covers can be created online using an email link which the coordinator/teacher sends to families. The coordinator can either create a basic template into which students add their own names and images, or it can be left completely blank and students given complete control to design their own covers. It costs no extra for each child to have their own individual cover.
Another cover option is a mosaic (no extra charge) – where each child draws an image which is shrunk and compiled into a colourful tile cover. Templates are provided on the site for children to draw their image.
Schoolyard Stories offer a number of suggestions and ideas to kickstart your story, and you could select one for all students to use as their story starter, and base the entire book around a single theme.
A sample book will be sent on request to ensure you are satisfied with the finished product.
Once finalised, the books will take between two to four weeks to publish before being sent to the school for distribution.
The personalised covers are a great way to increase participation (and sales), and books can be ordered in any quantity meaning that each child can sell their own personalised version of the Compilation Storybook to as many family and friends as they can (as long as there is a minimum of 50 in total for the entire school).
To increase profitability, you could sell advertising space within the books, or ask local businesses to sponsor the campaign in return for having their logo or details printed in the book.
While it may not be the most profitable of fundraisers, it comes with a raft of other benefits and is unique in that it involves each student in a meaningful way, and the outcome is a common achievement that is both tangible and long-lasting.
Creating a school book also allows for a lot of creativity and fun – perfect for the school who wishes to have a fundraiser that gets kids excited and allows for collaboration between students, classes and even parents and teachers.
There are many options when it comes to selling the books. You can time the launch to coincide with Book Week, have a stall at your school fete or carnival, combine it with a read-a-thon or launch an online marketing campaign.
For more information
Visit the Schoolyard Stories website at http://www.schoolyardstories.com.au/