Schools, whether public or private, seem to be in perpetual need of extra money. Children are often sent home with brochures to sell bells, books and candles, popcorn and candy, stuffed animals and calendars. It seems to be a never-ending parade of stuff to sell. If parents don’t want their children going around the neighborhood, and feel strange about putting the touch on co-workers, how can children and parents help with school fundraising?
One of the easiest ideas for school fundraising is the car wash. Held in warm weather, these are usually popular and easy and have a high profit margin. Parents and children can bring their own buckets, rags, soap and hoses from home. Many businesses, such as banks, allow schools and youth groups to have car washes and use their water supply, for free or for a nominal charge.
The investment for supplies is generally small, and children of all ages can do something at a car wash. They can clean windshields, scrub tires or rinse vehicles with the hose. Clean-up is easy too, since the parking lot just needs spraying down and all cleaning supplies must be taken away.
Another good idea for school fundraising is a bake sale. This is an easy idea, since parents can bake or buy items for the sale and can set their own prices according to how much they have invested in it. One variation on this school fundraising idea is a “bakeless bake sale.” Participants are asked to calculate how much money they would normally spend on ingredients to bake something or on store bought items, or how much they would be willing to pay for a baked item, and to donate that amount in cash to the school. The advantage is that busy parents don’t have to bake anything, and everything the school gets is pure profit. Participants may be given little paper cupcakes with “Thank you from XXXX School” written on them, as acknowledgement of their donation.
Easy school fundraising may also be accomplished through a “student auction.” This is usually best for small schools, or for a single class where the parents know all the other parents. It is a good school fundraiser for middle and high-school students. Students stand up and the parents bid on the student’s services for a particular job, such as mowing the lawn, painting shutters, doing laundry or other odd jobs. This particular event should be cleared with the parents of all participating students, however.
“Spirit” cards are another school fundraising idea. Some companies contact businesses to have them advertise on credit-card sized cards, with discounts for food or services. The cards are sold for a flat fee and are more popular than merchandise, since they are discounts people actually use.
A computer repair fair is another easy way of school fundraising, especially for high school students. Many people don’t know how to do fix their computers, but many students are knowledgeable enough to make basic repairs. Customers can either bring their computers to the school for repair or make an appointment for a student/parent or student/teacher team to come to their homes. The customers can be charged a flat fee, and most of the profit goes to the school.
School fundraising can be accomplished with some imagination and cooperation from parents and the community. They like to see their dollars at work, so the school should always specify how the money will be spent. This raises more funds and helps ensure the integrity of the process.