- The key to a successful fundraiser is in the planning.
- Bake sales, car washes, yard sales, oh my!
- Your signage can make or break your sale.
So you’ve decided to get involved with your kids’ school and you’ve generously donated your time to help with a fundraiser. That’s great news! Feel free to bask in the glow of good parenting, community involvement, and doing your part to improve our education system!
And now, to the task at hand. It turns out that saying “yes” to the nice PTA representative was the easy part. Now it’s time to deliver.
School Fundraiser Ideas
Keep calm. With a little bit of planning, you can not only raise those funds, but have fun doing it.
1. Organize a Bake Sale
Ah, yes. The old standby. But don’t dismiss it just because it’s been done a thousand times. Bake sales are a classic for a reason. They work!
In order to be successful, you’ll need to get parents and other volunteers to donate their time and ingredients. Bake sale items sell better when there’s a variety of them, they’re homemade, and you don’t have a set price. Studies show that people actually spend more on average if customers choose how much to donate.
Here’s a great tip. Put kids behind the table to help selling. Just imagine this: “How about a cupcake my mommy and I made? It’s for new books for our library!”
That’s how you make $5 on a cupcake.
2. Make a Splash with a Car Wash
Another oldie but a goodie, the car wash is all about location and promotion. Find a spot with lots of traffic and visibility, and don’t forget that you’ll need access to water. (So important, but often overlooked!)
You’ll want to divide your student volunteers into 3 teams: one to attract people with eye-catching signs, another team to wash and rinse, and a third team to dry.
9am to 3pm is the ideal time for a car wash. Keep the kids’ energy up by making sure shifts are no longer than 2 hours.
By the way, this is another great opportunity to try letting customers pay what they want. Advertise the car wash as free, then put out a nice, big tip jar! Be sure to put someone specifically in charge to take charge of those funds.
3. Get Dramatic
You’ll need some extra help from the faculty with this one, but it’s worth it.
Ask the drama or music teacher to help the kids write their own 10-20 minute play about why they’re raising money. Don’t worry about winning any awards!
Fairytales and other public domain stories are a great place to start. How about the school principal (played by a student, of course) gets visited by 3 spirits who show him how much better the school will be if only they can raise money to complete the new playground?
Now all you have to do is put out a few signs and charge for tickets. Parents and grandparents will be the first on board!
4. Lemonade Stand… with a Twist
The humble lemonade stand is already a great, inexpensive way to raise cash, but how about putting a twist on the location?
Instead of a street corner stand, get permission to set the little volunteers up by the high school stadium concessions. It’s almost too easy. People are already there and looking to buy snacks and drinks. Then they spot a local kid selling lemonade to raise money for a good cause. Who’s going to say no to that?
Don’t forget to make arrangements with the high school concessions so you won’t be taking too much from their sales. They’re trying to raise money too! You might be able to strike a deal to let your kids sell some of the concession stand’s existing product. Now all you need are some signs and a table.
5. The Mighty Yard Sale
Perhaps the mother of community fundraisers. All of the items are donated. Your cause gets all the cash. However, there are some important things to keep in mind.
You’ll want to put the word out early that you’re accepting yard sale donations. Have a convenient drop off location available.
Make sure that the bigger items are close enough to the street to draw attention from passing drivers. Other items can be grouped by type (all of the yard decorations together, etc.) or by price range.
Don’t worry if things aren’t perfectly organized. It’s also called a “rummage sale.” There’s a reason for that!
You Can Do This!
That brings us back to promotion. You’ll need a nice, big sign to draw customers.
That’s really the secret to making any of these ideas successful. You’ve got to get the word out! How many times have you driven past a kid with a floppy poster board sign with barely-visible lettering on it? It just doesn’t work.
That’s why you need to have good quality signs in the budget of any fundraiser.
If you want your fundraisers to succeed, you’ve got some real work ahead of you. But promotions? Leave that to eSigns.com.