21 all-time favourite and a few new unique fundraising ideas for schools
From bake sales and auctions to carnivals and sleepovers, we've got all the fundraising ideas you'll need to have a successful school year.
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Schools are always looking for new and exciting ways to raise funds to improve the quality of education and facilities for our children. It's this time of year again where teachers and parents are wracking their brains trying to come up with ideas at this month’s PTA meeting before sending emails about upcoming fundraisers.

To make things just a little easier, we thought we’d round up a few fundraising ideas for schools that always prove to be successful, and a few others if you’re looking to get a little more creative this year.

1. Bake sale and market days

I’m sure your school has already had numerous bake sales, but we can’t deny the power of choc-chip cookies and the bake sale success rate of a really decadent slice of chocolate cake. Parents bake something delicious, send (read: donate) it to school and their kids sell it at their own little stall – it works every time! And kids are especially excited when you put a twist on the goods you’re selling.

Check out some of our bake sale ideas for creative and delicious treats:

Parents and teachers can also have a market day, having kids make DIY things at home to sell.

While DIY bloggers and pretty Pinterest will provide you with endless ideas, you can check out some of our DIY crafts for inspiration right here:

2. Field day

Fun runs, relay races and toddler triathlons for pre-schoolers – organise a full day in which classes can dress up and partake in a sports day, with each child buying "a ticket" to the day. Each student can participate in an activity, whether it’s swimming or running, while the rest of the class cheers them on. They can look forward to an awards ceremony and prizes (don't forget the "fun" awards) afterwards.

You can combine your sports day with a market day and sell goodies for their classmates. Ask parents to put up and man stalls to raise funds by making their family’s favourite lemonade recipe or boerewors rolls.

3. Carnival day

Carnival or bazaar day is a fun day out for the family, with a variety of activities – think apple bobbing and a three-legged race, bouncing castles, a petting zoo and a potjiekos competition – and you buy tickets that you trade to play games and buy food and drink. Tickets might be R2 each, for instance, and older kids will have to work out carefully how many games and treats they can buy with their allocation of tickets. But they’ll be more than excited to get into the whole spirit of carnival day.

You could even kick it up a notch and make it a carnival evening for the whole family, complete with local live entertainment or perhaps an outdoor screening of a family movie.

4. Raffle

Parents or local business can donate prizes for a school raffle. Have the kids sell as many raffle tickets as they can (whoever sells the most could get a prize as well) before drawing the lucky winners at the end of the fundraiser. It’s easy and simple, but it’s a great way to get the kids involved and excited about a little competition of their own. And we’re sure family and friends would love to help the little ones out.

5. Straw draw

An even simpler fundraising idea, reserved only for the kids and can be done soley at school, is the straw draw. Here’s how it works: kids come to school with a certain amount of money for the week which they can cash in at anytime for a straw. Teachers keep the straws in a glass on their desk with rewards attached to the bottom of each.

So every time a student cashes in and draws a straw they can either get, for instance, 15 minutes' extra playtime outside, get to leave earlier in the afternoon or they can choose a sweet from the sweet jar. You can, of course, tailor your benefits and rewards according to what works in your school and every teacher’s classroom, but it’s a fun game of “What will I get?” and an easy and quick way for the school to make a little extra money.

6. Themed no-uniform days

We all know the infamous civvies day: you bring your R5 and it’s bye-bye school uniform and the kids get to wear their favourite outfit for the day. But schools could make a little more money and make things more exciting for the kids too by letting them dress up the entire week, making every day a different themed no-uniform day.

Dressing in pyjamas, as your favourite book characters and even as your future self – the options are endless! Teachers can join in the fun as well, and take a picture of their class every day to remember what will be an entertaining week.

7. Auctioning off the kids's masterpieces

Teachers get the kids to paint, draw and doodle whatever they want, or per theme. Older kids can paint, sculpt, carve, weave, embroider or simply use their smartphone photography skills around a theme or in free expression. The school then hosts an exhibition in the school hall and sell or auction off the artworks. Because we’re sure all the moms and dads are just dying to buy a masterpiece by their little Van Gogh.

8. Principle/teacher games

Create a buzz around a principle/teacher challenge – a week- or month-long campaign for students to raise sufficient funds towards getting their principal and teacher to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Like shave their signature moustache, dye their hair pink or literally take a pie to the face. Each challenge (or embarrassing activity) will cost the students accordingly. The more embarrassing and extreme, the more money it might cost, but we have full faith that the kids will be able to raise the money in time.

9. School dance

Get the teachers, parents and students involved in organising a school dance. While there will be expenses involved in bringing everything together, tickets sale can take care of that while the remainder goes towards funds for the school. Parents can also agree to sponsor the evening – perhaps one dad can help with the lighting while another knows how to make beautiful snowflake decorations and voilà – you’ve got yourself a Winter Wonderland!

10. Fashion and talent shows

Another favourite school fundraiser is the always popular school fashion or talent show. Make it a yearly event and you'll see how excited the school community become in the build-up, and how eagerly the kids start practising for the talent show! The ticket sales can be a great fund-raiser.

11. Hike day

Here’s another great fundraising idea to get the kids out for the day. Just like a school outing, kids pay for a day out in the mountains, along the coast or in a beautiful forest (supervised by the best of hikers, of course) and explore the great outdoors. It’s a noble enough excuse to take a day off teaching: the kids get some fresh air and exercise, and apart from transport costs, it won’t cost the school a cent.

12. Engraved bricks

Students, particularly in high school, look forward to leaving their mark on the place they called home for 5 years. So why not let them? Each student, if they so wish, can pay for a brick, write a wonderful message and memory on it and sign it with their name. Once the fundraiser ends, the school can find a section of the school and build a wall, full of engraved bricks from the class of 2018. Similarly, parents can buy colourful tiles with their child's name and year on it, which get mounted on a special wall at school. Some schools charge R500 per child so this could be a big fundraiser.

13. Colour run

The Colour Run has become popular in recent years, with big crowds running from point A to B to C, having colour powder thrown at them at points. It’s a whole lot of fun, especially when they eventually make it to the end, covered from tip to toe in every colour of the rainbow.

A school colour run works exactly the same, the distance is just slightly shorter and it’s done in and around the school grounds. Students find family members and friends to sponsor their run, and teachers and parents volunteer at each colour point. Be sure to get the students to wear white so every colour shows. And of course, remember to take a before-and-after group photo of the madness!

14. The family cookbook

Another one of our favourite fundraising ideas is the family cookbook. Have each student go home and ask their mom or dad to write down their favourite family recipe, get a volunteer to collect all the recipes and compile it in a beautiful coffee table book. Teachers, parents and students can then buy the cookbook, complete with only the most delicious recipes from your collective school family.

15. Flower bulb fundraising

Flower bulb fundraising is a simple way to raise funds. All you do is buy different flower bulbs, package them in cute little packets, and put together a list of all the different bulbs you’ll be selling in a catalogue. Parents can then order the bulbs they’d like to buy, send the money through to the school and, soon enough, watch their flowers bloom.

16. Parent date night

Let’s be honest, fellow parents, we don’t get out enough, if at all. But we too deserve a night off. So the parent date night gives us the opportunity to get a babysitter, dress up and get out for a change. The school sets up the school hall, complete with candlelight, a delicious meal, student waiters and maybe even a little dancing and live entertainment.

The school could even throw in free babysitting so parents unable to arrange their own babysitter can bring the kids along, leaving them in the care of one of the teachers with a good movie and popcorn – sorted! A night out without even having to worry about getting a babysitter – sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

#valentinesdance for #parents of #cbcmountedmund pupils.

A post shared by CBC Mount Edmund (@cbcmountedmund) on

17. Parent game night

If schools want to do something a little less fancy than a date night, instead of a candlelit dinner, why not host a parent game or quiz night? Serve informal boerie rolls and chips and dip, add some board games like 30 Seconds and we’re guessing, a whole lot of laughter! For a quiz night, parents can form their own teams of 6 (or however many your tables seat) and register their name with the quiz master before the games start. The winning team gets a prize sponsored by a parent or local business!

18. Yard sale and flea market

Here’s an idea that costs nothing and turns that nothing into a lot of money for your school: a yard sale and flea market! Parents donate unwanted (but still in decent condition) goods to school, and the school hosts a yard sale, car-boot sale or flea market on a Saturday morning at the end of the month (hint hint). Parents, teachers and learner volunteers can man the different stalls.

All you need are a few tables on the day and some really good advertising in and around the town and on social media. You could even combine it with a market day, and have people buy a stall for the day to sell food so that it becomes a full fun market day for the whole family. Just watch that your kids don't buy back that tattered old toy you've been trying to get rid of!

19. Musical cakes

Parents bake or buy a cake and send it to school with the kids on Musical Cakes Day. After school, host a cake walk: make a huge ring on the field with the cakes and number each one. Whoever buys a ticket to play, gets to line the circle, and move around it as the music plays. When it stops, the principal will read out a number and if you happen to be standing by a particular number he reads out, you get to take the cake home. It’s kind of like musical chairs, but better… and with cake!

20. Haunted house

A haunted house does particularly well later in the year and is great for older high school kids and parents who enjoy a good scare. Parents and teachers can volunteer to set up and decorate the corridors to a budget supplied by the school, and they can act out the role of zombies, vampires or mad scientists. Set up food stalls and stations throughout the haunted house.

Check out some of our haunted house ideas:

21. School sleepover

You pick up the kids from a play date and find yourself having to pull them off the leg of the friend's dining room table, bribing them with ice cream so that they’d get in the car.

“Please can I sleepover at so and so? Pleeeease?”

Sounds familiar? We’ve all pretty much had to keep a stern face in those situations, but why not give the kids what they want and turn it into a school sleepover? The school can organise a movie, snacks and story time for the kids. Parents will get the night off and the kids will get to spend the night with their best friends – sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Sources: Double the donation, Sign Up Genius, Better fundraising ideas

Has your school come up with any unique fundraising ideas? Did you have a successful campaign that you'd like to share with us? We want to hear from you! Send us your ideas and images to chatback@parent24.com and we may share it with our readers. 

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