Your kids and students have so many activities that they want to participate in, and they should be able to. But there needs to be a source of funds for every event you support. Students, therefore, if they want to participate in the event, should be involved in the fundraising efforts.
Fundraising doesn’t have to bring with it a dark cloud of stress and challenges that you can’t see through. Fundraising can be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, including the students who participate.
Your fundraising ideas should be specifically geared toward student participation so some of the weight can be lifted off of your shoulders. As you consider your upcoming fundraising campaign strategies, you should aim to give the students a unique opportunity to have a hand in working to support the programs they love.
Fun events for your students to help lead to success include:
- Hosting a walk-a-thon.
- Selling merchandise.
- Holding a charity auction.
- Organizing a school carnival.
- Producing a talent show.
- Supporting a read-a-thon.
1. Hosting a walk-a-thon.Schools have long been taking advantage of walk-a-thons because they are a tried-and-true, effective way of raising money for schools. They allow students to be the driving factor behind the fundraiser and have a role in supporting their own program.
If you are unfamiliar with how walk-a-thons work, the process is simple:
- Step 1: The school plans where and when the event will take place.
- Step 2: Students promote the event.
- Step 3: Friends and family of the students donate or pledge money to the student’s individual fundraising campaign.
- Step 4: The walk-a-thon occurs (Make sure to keep track of distances walked by each student).
- Step 5: The event organizer determines how much the pledgors owe to each student’s campaign.
- Step 6: Collect the money and put it toward your school program!
Walk-a-thon software, like 99Pledges, will allow you to maximize the efficiency of your event so you can raise money but not your stress level. Your software should:
- Create unique, shareable fundraising pages for each student.
- Allow for personalization of each page.
- Automatically calculate the amounts due by pledgors.
- Send automatic thank-you notes to your supporters.
2. Selling merchandise.This is probably a well-known fact but in case you missed it: people love getting stuff. Oftentimes, it doesn’t really matter what it is, they just like the thought that goes into receiving something.
Your fundraiser should take advantage of this. For some donors and supporters, the thought of donating their money to a good cause is enough for them to become involved, but others may need more incentives.
Try enticing more people into donating by providing a tangible good in return for a donation. You can highlight that a good portion of the proceeds will go to support your school. Don’t forget to make sure you are not losing money with the product you chose to give your donors.
An excellent option for this fundraising strategy is to give them a custom-made t-shirt that advertises your school or program. Encouraging t-shirt fundraising enables your students to not only support their school programs but also learn valuable marketing and event promotion skills that will benefit them in the long run.
Your students will enjoy the satisfaction they gain by successfully completing a fundraising sale, while your community will love the merchandise you are selling—all for a good cause!
3. Holding a charity auction.An effective and well-organized charity auction is a great way to fundraise for your school event for a variety of reasons, such as:
- It enables your community to physically come together and get to know people with a similar passion for your school.
- Local businesses and organizations can also gain public visibility by donating auction items.
- Your school can really boost its revenue by hosting a fun community event.
- Your students can meet the people who are generous enough to support their favorite organizations.
- Step 1: Gather donated or other procured items from local businesses, organizations, or individuals.
- Step 2: Open the bidding with a minimum bid amount.
- Step 3: Allow additional bids to increase the value of the item by at least a predetermined minimum raise.
- Step 4: Close bidding either at a specific time or when a final, highest bid has been made on that item.
Don’t forget to allow the students to be involved. Depending on the age of your students, you could allow them to write letters to prominent community members asking for auction item donations!
4. Organizing a school carnival.Organizing a school carnival may take a little extra effort on your part, but that is because the potential revenue you can gain for this type of event would greatly benefit your school.
The first thing your school fundraising committee needs to do is decide on a theme for your carnival. Depending on the time of year, you will be able to host different themes. In the spring and summer, you could do a luau or a barbecue, while in the fall and winter, you can host a haunted Halloween or winter holiday festival. This will help you decide how to decorate and promote your event.
Your carnival or festival should have plenty of games and activities for people of all ages to enjoy. You should include games like:
- Ring toss.
- Bobbing for apples.
- Bean bag toss.
- Ring the bell.
- Duck race.
5. Producing a talent show.Most of your kids and students have a skill or talent that excites them and you should give them the opportunity to show it off. Let your students shine on a stage and showcase their talents, all while raising money to support your school and their favorite programs.
You can charge for tickets to the event, concessions like popcorn and candy, and DVD copies of the performances.
For an added bonus, you should print a program to your event that contains:
- A summary of what the money from the fundraiser is going to accomplish.
- A list of the students and a brief description of their talent.
- A statement of each student’s favorite program that the fundraiser is going to benefit and why it is important to them.
Your school talent show will be fun for all participants and bring the community together to support their loved ones and your school.
For information on software that might help you with your fundraising plan, click here.
6. Supporting a read-a-thon.If you want to incorporate an academic-based fundraising idea into your strategy, you should consider supporting a school-wide read-a-thon. There are multiple ways you can go about organizing your read-a-thon. You can accept pledges based on:
- Number of pages a student reads.
- Number of books a student reads.
- Number of chapters a student reads.
Your avid readers will love this event and your community members will be excited to support extra enrichment for students with their donations and pledges.
If you want to see more fun and easy fundraising ideas for schools, check out this list.
Don’t let your school fundraising campaign overwhelm you. Fundraising can be enjoyable for all involved if you host unique, creative events and encourage your students to remain invested throughout the process.
This post was contributed by Brad Dowhaniuk.
Brad Dowhaniuk is the co-founder of 99Pledges, which provides schools and teams with an easy-to-use, web-based fundraising solution to manage and drive success in Fun Runs, jog-a-thons, baseball hit-a-thons, and much more.