With the new school year finally here, parents across Australia know that one thing is inevitable: they will be asked for help to raise much needed funds for their schools. Some people dread the call for volunteers, but Fundraising Mums is here to make it easier for all Australian families.
The image of the high-achieving, bake-sale organising, P&C president who bullies other parents into giving up their precious time is popular in the movies and press, but I think the reality in most schools is very different. Since starting Fundraising Mums in 2015, I have found that parents are very generous with their time and ideas, and this site is about capturing and sharing that.
I have released my Top 5 Fundraising Ideas for 2017 and there is something for everyone.
- The all-rounder. Voucher books are a staple in most schools and with good reason. They are familiar, profitable and customers get value from them for a whole year. Voucher books are perfect for all groups from daycares and schools, sporting clubs and community groups. It doesn’t matter whether you are a big school or small, because you can easily sell to the general public and aren’t dependent on finding customers from only within your school community. Many voucher books now offer a choice of traditional book and the new phone app, and profits tend to be around 25%. The other bonus is that customers will keep coming back each year for a new copy.
- The keepsake. My other favourite is also suitable for all kinds of groups, not just schools. It requires a little creativity but the options are endless. Making a recipe book or book of short stories not only has the potential to raise lots of money, but you are also creating a memento that people can keep forever. A company like Schoolyard Stories makes the process easy and everything is done online. You can even make every child’s copy have a personalised cover. Every family can provide a favourite recipe or every student can write a short story. These are collated into a beautifully bound book of lasting memories. This is a great fundraiser for a special event, such as school anniversary or to celebrate graduation.
- The innovative. Number three on the list is for schools who want to take a few risks. Last year Secret Harbour Primary School held a Bieberthon, where they played a Justin Bieber song in all the classrooms, offices and undercover area before school, during the breaks and after school until the students and staff paid enough to get it turned off. I love these unique fundraising ideas – they are so much fun. You could set any financial goal you liked and choose any song you like. It’s definitely one for adventurous schools.
- The big picture. Number four of the Top Fundraising ideas is something very special I was fortunate enough to witness firsthand last year. It may not make as much money as some of the other ideas, but holding a Student Bazaar has lots of other benefits and teachers can tie it into the curriculum – maths, economics, art, social science. My daughter and her classmates each had to design a product they could sell, create a business with a plan and budget, produce the products, market it and then they held a huge bazaar where family and friends were invited to buy. As a parent it was both eye-opening and inspiring – the kids were told they could change the world, and they did in a small way by donating all of their profits to a charity of their choice.
- The traditional. The final in my Top 5 is time-honoured and a guaranteed money earner with the benefit of promoting healthy activity – the school fun run. Kids are sponsored for each lap they run, and this works for small and large schools. You can make it as exciting as you want by letting the kids wear costumes or alternate running laps with skipping or dancing. You can organise the event yourself or get a professional company to come in and run it for you.
What is your group’s failsafe fundraiser?
Updated October 2017