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Fifteen Ideas for Fundraising Fun

Several years ago, an informal study of members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals revealed that 83 percent of principals said they had seen an increased need for raising outside cash to conduct school programs.

Education World has been surveying the methods used by schools to raise bucks to fund their needs. Last month we offered Fifteen Ideas for Fundraising Fun. Today we offer fifteen more!


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Rock-a-Thon. Rock for cash! For this fundraising activity, students gather pledges from neighbors, friends, and family. Then they bring their own rocking chairs to school. The chairs are set up in the gym or cafeteria and the students rock away. Special events -- such as movies and story readings -- might be set up in different parts of the facility so students don't get bored. Students who choose not to rock might pass out food or fill a chair when a participant needs to take a bathroom break. The event can last just a few hours or it can be an all-nighter. Local businesses might donate prizes for the most money raised, the best decorated chair, and other previously announced superlatives.

Guess-timation. Fill a container with beans, pennies, paper clips, or some other item. Have students guess how many are in the container. They pay a nickel for each guess-timate. The container might be displayed in a local business so the entire community can participate in the guessing. Solicit local businesses for prizes that will be awarded to those who guess closest to the actual number of items in the container.

Recycling for Cash. Companies such as Advantage Cartridge offer cash for recycled ink and toner cartridges as well as cell phones. Parents and students collect used cartridges from their homes and places of business and earn cash for them. Learn more about Advantage's program, Recycling for Kids.

Turkey Legs Contest. Have art students paint a large cartoony turkey on a sheet of plywood or canvas. Hang the turkey so that teachers can stand behind it; all that can be seen is their "turkey legs." Participants can wear their favorite socks or funny shoes and have their picture taken. Students then pay 25 cents to vote for the "best turkey legs." They might pay 25 cents more to fill out a sheet in which they match each photo to the name of the teacher whose legs they think they see in that photo. Solicit community businesses for prizes for the teacher with the most votes and the student who correctly matches the most teachers with their turkey-leg photos.

Lip Sync Contest. Invite students and staff alike to be part of this serious -- or hilarious -- fundraising event. Maybe parents want to get involved too. Participants lip sync to their favorite popular or novelty songs. They might even dress up as the singers who sang the songs. How many Elvis's will show up on contest night?


Tag Sale Saturday. Arrange a community-wide tag sale. "Rent" spaces in the school parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis. Advertise the special tag sale throughout the community. Seek student volunteers for cleanup duty. Raise additional money by selling cold drinks and snack or food items.

Sell Tupperware. Want to sell something practical? Many schools have earned money selling Tupperware. Learn more by contacting a local Tupperware representative -- perhaps one of your students' parents -- or go to the Tupperware Web site.

Photo Greetings. Plan a day -- a school day, a Saturday, or a weekday evening -- when parents and children can come to school to have their family photos taken. Arrange with a local photo shop to produce the photos for a cut-rate price in quantities of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. Purchase holiday photo-holder greeting card frames with envelopes in bulk. Prepare the cards for delivery to families right after Thanksgiving.

Car Wash. One of the most popular fundraisers is a car wash. Enlist a local business to provide its high-visibility location or have the car wash on the school grounds. Car washes are great fun, and excellent opportunities for student and family bonding.

Team Up with Local Stores. Check with local retailers, fast-food restaurants, and movie theaters in your community. Many of them offer ways to raise money for local school. For example, many schools participate in Target Stores' Take Charge of Education program. Many local fast-food restaurants offer ways for schools to raise money. If you aren't aware of the fundraising opportunities offered by businesses in your community, then you probably have not asked.


Plant Sale. Make arrangements with a local grower or supplier to sell plants for a profit. Christmas time is a great time for selling poinsettias. Mothers Day is another perfect holiday for plant sales.

Box Tops for Education. General Mills offers their popular Box Tops for Education program. The program includes several ways for schools to profit. You can read some schools' success stories on the Boxtops for Education Web Site. Maybe your school will soon be one of those success stories.

Goat Insurance. This fun activity might not work in schools as well as in other community organizations, but it is so much fun that we just had to share it. In this fundraiser, a goat is the bait. The goat is to be raffled off. For $10, a community member can send in three names. Letters are mailed to those three people. The letter explains that the goat will be raffled off to one person who receives the letter. Those who receive the letter can opt to buy "goat insurance" for $10. That $10 donation ensures the donator that he or she will not end up with the goat. Names of those who do not buy insurance are entered into the drawing. Of course, the "winner" is awarded the goat, which -- because this event is all about fun and community spirit -- can then be returned to its original owner.

Your-Town Monopoly. Create a MONOPOLY game for your own community. The Make Your Own Monopoly Game software makes that easy. Sell the game in your community and donate the profits to a school program or a community organization of the students' choice.

Fingerprint-a-Thon. The Kid Safe Child ID Network offers a Kid Safe Fingerprint-a-Thon community event idea. Find businesses willing to sponsor the event and 100 percent of the profit goes to your school. The biggest benefit is the peace of mind an event like this can provide for parents.


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Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
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