There are lots of reasons why a school may choose to avoid large-scale fundraising events such as fetes and quiz nights – but there are plenty of small-scale fundraisers which are easy to plan, easy to run and even though individually they might only make a small amount of money – lots of small things quickly begin to add up.
Running a major fundraising event is hard work: it can takes months of preparation, require substantial financial outlay, and rely on a cast of thousands of volunteers, donors, promoters and customers.
Many schools are choosing to hold a major event every two, four or even every five years, and in between hold a number of smaller events that are easily managed. Here are some small fundraising ideas that are quick and easy to run.
Silver Coin Challenge
Each classroom is given a glass jar and students encouraged to collect five, ten and twenty cent pieces from their parents and neighbours. Encourage them to ask parents to check their wallets and purses at least once a week – as well as the car – and bring the coins in regularly.
If you want something a little more exciting and strategic, why not check out my article on How to run a Penny War (Aussie style).
Gold Coin Free Dress Day
A free dress day once a term is an easy and fun way to raise hundreds of dollars (depending on the size of your school). If it becomes school tradition that the last day of term is free dress day, even a small school can raise $1,000 every year with very little effort. Click here for some more unusual alternatives to ‘free dress day.
Assembly cake stall
If your school assembly brings lots of parents out of the woodwork, then start holding a cake stall at the same time. Assign each class one or two assemblies per year and ask them to bring in a cake, cupcakes, slice or muffins that can be sold before/after assembly to parents. This will only work if you have a big audience for assemblies, and perhaps limit it to one or two assemblies each term so you don’t fatigue your potential customers. Click here for some tips on how to run a profitable cake stall and here are some great options for people who can’t bake.
Cashback Fundraising is a simple type of passive fundraising where making purchases online results in donations to your cause or charity. It is a form of affiliate marketing where online stores pay a commission for purchases that have been made after the shoppers are referred there via a specific site. There are a variety of sites offering cashback for fundraising groups, offering a small but steady stream of income that adds up over time. Read my article here.
Weekly cake raffle
Every Friday sell 50 cent raffle tickets to staff and students where the prize is a big, delicious freshly baked cake. If fifty students buy a raffle ticket each week, you will make $1,000 every year. All you need to do is find generous volunteers to bake the cakes.
Particularly popular in summer, buy bulk bags of icypoles and sell them for 50 cents or $1 every Friday lunch time in the summer months. For something a little more involved, why not consider a Friday Feast, and have classes take turns running a small tuck shop at lunch or straight after school. Learn more here. During the winter months, you can sell hot soup at lunchtime or hot chocolate before school.
Walk to school/Ride your bike
Not only does this encourage healthy activity, but by holding a walk/ride to school day every term, and charging students a gold coin donation to take part in a ‘decorate your bike’ fashion show, you will find that the money quickly adds up. You may be able to find sponsors from local sports shops or clubs who would be willing to donate a voucher for the winner each month.
End of term sausage sizzle
Make it a new tradition that the last day of term is a whole of school sausage sizzle. The size of your school will determine how you organise it, but if the year ones bring the bread, years 2-3 bring the sausages, year 4 bring the sauce and napkins etc, and you have a handful of parent volunteers come before lunch to set up some BBQs, by charging $2 for a sausage in a piece of bread, even a school of 150 kids will raise over $1,000 every year as well as have something fun to look forward to each term.
Sell space in your school newsletter to local businesses. Click here for more information.
Passive fundraisers have to be one of the easiest ways to raise money – the amounts may be small but they add up quickly over time. There are plenty of options from the IGA Community Chest to identity sticker sites and once set up, they require very little input apart from the occasional reminder in the newsletter. Click here for more information on passive fundraising options.
Jellybeans in the Jar
This could be set up as a regular fundraising event, whether it is weekly or held once a term, but it doesn’t have to be guessing jelly beans, there are plenty of other fun (and sugar-free) options. Each class can be responsible for providing a jar once a year, and by charging 50 cents a guess, it is a fun and easy way to raise a bit of money each year.