“I’ll write you a check, but don’t ask me for my time,” is what I said to our oldest daughter’s Assistant Principal when we met the summer before she entered high school. I already serve as PTO president for the twins’ elementary school, and I am a voting member of the SAEC committee for both the elementary and middle schools.
I’m already volunteered out, and I don’t have more time. I don’t participate in fundraisers, either. But I will write you a check for the promise of being left alone all year, and it works. In fact, it is a fundraising idea I’ve been trying to get people to fall for over the years – so far only a few takers (that would be those of us who donate to all the things, all the time, no matter what).
Fundraising is no one’s favorite thing, and it’s happening all the time. I don’t want your generic popcorn, your candles, or your other items (the only fundraiser I’m all about is the Butter Braid fundraiser. CALL ME….I love those things).
I don’t want someone’s kid washing my car. I just want to give you some money and be left alone. However, fundraisers are big, and they are everywhere. Kids need money for their sports, activities, and the fun they have with their teams, and I get that. I also have a few ideas for fundraisers that aren’t the worst ever, so hear me out.
1. Christmas Gift Wrapping Services
Here’s a great idea. No one has time – or wants to, if we are being honest – to wrap a million Christmas gifts every year. Why not have your kids and their teammates set up a station in the mall or at their school or wherever you have permission, and let them wrap gifts for those who are willing to pay. It’s a great concept, and it’s simple. People will flock to this one.
2. Holiday Candy Grams
Have your team sell candy grams for $1 during the holidays. Other students and teachers and parents write a sweet message to their kids or friends, and your kid’s attach a piece of holiday candy to the candy gram, and have it delivered to the recipient on the holiday.
3. School Birthday Balloons
If you have a school team or group, let them sell balloons. Other kids can come to them to write down an order for balloons, and they can have them sent to friends or teachers on their birthdays. For $1 per balloon, people can come to you to have a balloon sent to their friends on their special day. it’s a cute way to make people happy, and it’s a cute way to make some money. Balloons are cheap, helium is cheap, and all you need is time to deliver them on the designated days.
4. Balloon Pop
If you are at a local event or festival, why not set up a booth with a balloon pop? Each balloon is filled with one piece of paper with a number, but only one of them is the grand prize. You can choose a grand prize of some sort, and then the person who pops the balloon with the grand prize in it wins (but do not announce the grand prize winner until the end of the night). Each attempt to pop a balloon to secure a number costs $1.
5. Guess The Number
You can do this at a local business, the front office of the kids’ school, or a festival or some sort. Just fill a jar with something fun – M&Ms are always popular – but do count them first. Let people guess how many they think are in the jar. Charge $.50 per guess, and let the winner keep the jar. It’s a cute way to earn some money, and people love to guess.
6. Cookies With Santa
A cute way to make money for your child and their team or group is to have a Santa night at Christmas. Hire a Santa – or let a parent volunteer for the role – and charge people admission to meet with Santa and have cookies with him. Charge $3 per person. Many local bakeries and supermarkets are willing to offer a discount on cookies, too, so you’re not spending a ton of money on things. You can charge more, too, and offer photos with Santa.
7. Pumpkin Silent Auction
A cute way to raise some money is with a pumpkin auction. Have kids carve or decorate their own pumpkins, and then let everyone bid on them via silent auction. Everyone wins something – if they bid high enough – and the funds that come in are great!
8. Art Silent Auction
If you are an art club or a 4H club of some sort, you might be able to create cool art and auction it online to those around you. It’s a sweet way to make money.
9. Lottery Auction
This one will make you so much money. You can use social media to advertise, and you might make a lot of money via venmo or whatever. Have each child on the team or in the club get their parents to donate a lottery ticket. It can be $1 or $20 or whatever. Just make sure you have enough tickets to make a lottery tree, and then let people bid on it. The bigger the lottery tree, the more money you’ll make. People love stuff like this.
10. Host the Olympics
This will be more like a field day, but it works. Have your team advertise and spread the word about a special athletics day. To enter, you pay a registration fee. Be sure to have prizes for the winners, and make it a good one. It’s like hosting a 5K but with fun games and activities for kids to participate in.
11. The Classic Car Wash
You can’t go wrong with this one, and mostly because people will likely drive by and offer you a few dollars and not even get their cars washed. It’s a good spring or summer fundraiser. Ask a local business – bonus points if your child’s team includes a parent with a business of their own – to use their parking lot for the fundraiser. There’s very little overhead on this one.
12. The Leave Me Alone Fundraiser
People do not love it when they’re being hit up for money all the time, but they will probably give you money not to ask. How about a fundraiser in which you send home a form with your kids’ and their teammates to send to their friends and family that asks people to pay them not to ask again. It can be a contract of sorts “If you don’t ask me again until the new year, I’ll give you $50,” “If you don’t ask me again until after this entire school year is over, I’ll pay you $100,” or “If you never ask me again, I’ll give $250 or more,” and let people choose.
13. Tee Shirt Advertisements
Local printing companies can easily make tee shirts that are cheap to order. Our PTO buys shirts for $10 per shirt from our local printing company with the school name and colors and a cute saying, and we sell them for a fundraiser throughout the school year.
Your child and their team can purchase tee shirts with advertisements. Local families or businesses can spend a certain dollar amount to have their name on the back of the shirt.
Perhaps try $300 or more donations for the biggest font at the top of the list. $100 donations for a medium font, and $50 for the smallest font. With shirts costing only a few dollars, you’re making a lot of money.
14. Restaurant Night
I don’t know about you, but our local restaurants do this all the time for different teams, clubs, and activities around the local schools. They have a night where everyone who goes into the restaurant during specific hours gets to eat for their regular price, but 50% of the money made is given to the local team that the restaurant is working with.
15. School Pajama Day
If your school allows it, why not sell the option to participate in pajama day? Everyone loves a pajama day, so sell tickets for $5. Everyone who purchases a ticket can wear their pajamas on that day without being dress coded.
16. Tape the Principal to the Wall
A friend of ours who is a principal is always doing fun stuff like this. He doesn’t charge money for it, but he does let kids earn points. If you sell tickets for it, you can make some money. Kids can buy tickets to tape their principal to the wall, and it might be awesome. They can spend $1 per piece of tape – and they can buy as many pieces as they want. What a fun thing to get kids involved in.
Have your kids ask people in their lives to sponsor them to read books. The child is then required to read books, but the more they read, the more money they make. The sponsors offer a certain amount per minute read before a certain date.
For example, I might sponsor a child for $1 per minute of books read. If they read 300 minutes that week, I’ll give them $300. People can sponsor as much or as little as they want. What’s important, though, is that your kids are making money and also reading is so important.
18. Set Up A Concession Stand
Our freshman is a varsity cheerleader, and we spend eleventy billion dollars a year on concession stand snacks on Friday nights during football season (for our three little kids). Our daughter just started playing flag football, and we attended her first game last night.
They don’t do concession stands for the flag football girls. Why not ask the school if you can set up your own concession stand and sell beverages, snacks, and candy to those who attend? Our kids would have mad it worth your while. See if the school will offer permission for this.
19. Calendar Dollar Amount
This is a cute one. Have your kids create a virtual calendar online, and then share it. People pay an amount to have their name written on the calendar.
For example, they pay $1 to have their name written on the first of the month, or $30 to have their name written on the 30th of the month. The goal is to get each day filled out by donors – and you can earn a lot of money that way. You can earn up to $465 on a 30 day calendar.
20. Host a Camp
If your child belongs to a team, you can make this work. For example, our daughter is a varsity cheerleader, and her squad hosts a cheer camp every summer for kids aged 4-eighth grade. They charge $60 per camper.
Each camper gets a snack and a drink each day, plus four hours of learning. They also get a tee shirt for their Friday performance. They have hundreds of kids show up each summer for their five-day camp.
They do it from 8 am until noon each day, and they break down the campers into ages. Fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, etc. Each group has several cheerleaders working with them to teach them cheers, chants, jumps, and dances, and they host a performance on the final day for families. It’s HUGE. What can your team host?
21. Kids Versus Parents
Betting, I think, is kind of illegal? Or maybe that’s gambling, specifically. Either way, though, one awesome thing you can do is have people bet on a big game. The game is kids versus parents. Then have a big game. Sell snacks and foods, too, and then let people bet. What a fun day for everyone, too.
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