Coming up with some fun and inventive fundraising ideas is harder than it sounds, and that’s why we are here to help. It’s so easy to get caught up in doing the same things over and over, leaving enthusiasm and collection totals below where they ought to be. We think you deserve to reach your full fundraising potential so here is our handy list of ideas to get you started. From September to July – be it sun, rain or snow – Bonfire Night, to Christmas, to Easter and beyond; here are plenty of great ideas to see you through the school year.
- 1. The calendar of ideas
- 1.0.1 – Back to school – September and October
- 1.0.2 – Things get festive – November, December and Christmas
- 1.0.3 – Fresh starts – January and February
- 1.0.4 – Spring springs – March to May
- 1.0.5 – Step into Summer – June and July
- 1.0.6 – Year-round ideas and easy earners
- 1.0.7 – Run raffles and lotteries
- 1.0.8 – Make and sell personalised products
- 1.0.9 – Earn pocket money
- 1.0.10 – Recycle
- 1.0.11 – Boost the curriculum
- 1.0.12 – Go shopping
- 1.0.13 – Get cooking
- 1.0.14 – Get the teachers involved
- 1.0.15 – Entertain the parents
- 1.0.16 – Get the whole community talking
The calendar of ideas
Back to school – September and October
You know your children will be asking for a whole host of new kit – pencil cases, bags, shoes. Put back to school kits together and sell them yourself. Advertise them through the parent network and make them available through the Reception before school starts. Link your product with your target – every back to school pencil case kit will raise £5 towards the school building fund. fundraiser companies for schools
Why not run evening get fit classes and charge for them? Max out on the feeling of being at the beginning of something. Aspirations will be high – it’s a new school year, new opportunities.
Do a deal with your uniform provider. For every few jumpers sold, ask if they could donate the profit on one to the school’s fundraising target. Think about how you can make it worth it for them and they might be more interested in talking to you, could you match their marketing emails and encourage parents to buy by the deadline. Easy2name run a really good fundraising scheme. They produce all kinds of name labels for school uniform, equipment and more. You’ll earn commission based on the number of orders, and they send you a fundraising pack to make it super easy.
If you’ve been proactive, you could have asked last year’s leavers to donate any unwanted items of school uniform. At the beginning of the new school year you could then hold a second hand uniform sale. Parents will really love this as they can save some money while doing good for the school and recycling clothing that’s no longer needed!
Things get festive – November, December and Christmas
Bonfire night. Put on an event; a light or firework show. Charge for tickets, sell hot drinks, add some merchandise like glowsticks and sparklers. If you’re thinking of selling alcohol, you’ll need to keep it legal – check the PTA+ website for some really helpful info. Catherine Fitzmaurice, part of Mummy’s Gin Fund, says her school’s firework show is a fantastic earner – we agree.
While the weather’s cold and the evenings are dark, it’s best to do something indoors that won’t be ruined by our much-loved British weather. A mobile disco or karaoke for the parents should go down a treat. If you are doing events like these for the parents, get the most social, persuasive person at the helm and you’ll see a good turnout and great support.
Make money through your Christmas play. Ideally take your time planning this and get a committee on it. Advertise the event online and locally. Get good quality posters made – we like the Charity Print Shop – or get a talented parent involved and blag some cheap/free local printing. Plan to sell everything from interval treats and post show goodies, to pictures of the cast or something that could be bought as a Christmas present for Grandma.
Pick a star of the show, perhaps they’ll be external as – while people like to see their children perform and that’s a big pull – a bit of professionalism might pull more than just parents from the local community. Go all out – consider this your one big event of the autumn/winter term and focus your efforts on reaching that target.
Donation statistics show that we Brits are ready to be philanthropic at this time of year so it’s no surprise that Christmas is a big opportunity for many schools – fairs, balls, parties – monetise them to make the most of the festive feelings! Many people see this time of year as a good moment to donate, so if you have a target for the year – now’s the time to talk about it!
Artificial mobile ice rinks suit the season and are sure to take any winter fair fundraiser to the next level. Available in various sizes, charging the kids a small fee to have a skate should see you turn a good profit.
Fresh starts – January and February
Have some new year’s resolution inspired sponsored challenges. Why not convince the teachers to do a dry January? Push it further and ask parents to get involved and donate the money they would have spent on alcohol to the school. Alcohol Concern have a really great impact calculator to inspire you.
A January Jumble sale – get all that unwanted Christmas clutter out of the way and make a small profit for the school. You could arrange a ‘swap shop’ – get people to bring in unwanted Christmas gifts and trade them with each other for a small donation.
It’s Popcorn day on the 19th January! Sell bags, salty or sweet, at a school movie night while the nights are cold. You can undercut the local cinema; the kids will love it!
Let’s not give up on giving up yet, since Lent begins in February. This time target the kids. Can you challenge a class to go 40 days screen free? Parents will certainly support you with that and will be falling over themselves to donate. You could impose a 20p penalty for every time those digital natives trip up!
Valentine’s Day. Ask the kids to design cards and sell them, sell roses in the playground, host a dinner in the canteen in partnership with a local pop up kitchen, go Pinterest crazy. Don’t lose site of your messaging and target. Maybe print a photo of your dilapidated playground, ‘someone’s not feeling the love, help us raise £2k this Valentines. Roses for sale after school’.
When the weather’s not so great, you want to be thinking about holding events that are indoors, or under cover at the very least. Touring productions such as Happy’s Circus promise fun by the bucket-load in the protection of a big top.
Pancake Day also falls during February. You could get the parents making pancakes en-masse and selling them to pupils and teachers! Think of all cheap-to-purchase extras you could charge for, such as marshmallows and strawberries.
Spring springs – March to May
March is mid-way through the term, and the kids will be just back from a week off. You’re halfway through your year, so how is your target looking? It might be the time to pounce for fundraisers to keep you on track. From the Chelsea Flower show to the London Marathon – max out on March’s cultural events and host your own versions closer to home.
Easter – sell Easter eggs. Sound too simple? Jazz it up if you can – why not try an Easter Egg decorating competition? Get the Head Teacher to dress up as the Easter Bunny, offering a lucky dip for £2; or you could host a competition featuring healthy alternatives to Easter treats. You could really run with this, get a local vegan business in to run a healthy treats session for parents – ask if they’ll do it for free but charge £10 to attend.
Have any of your parents got a spot in the London Marathon? Why not see if they will fundraise for you? Start putting feelers out for this as soon as possible.
It’s end of year review and bonus season. If you are seasoned at the game of fundraising and you’re good at getting some big earners involved, why not sound them out for a bigger donation when their bonus comes in?
Step into Summer – June and July
With the weather improving, outdoor activities are much more viable as options. Why not hire fete games and run a summer fair? Invite the whole community – pupils, parents and neighbours alike. Think about how you could increase earnings. Ticketing is an obvious answer, but you could go one further. Pair it up with a raffle of donated prizes, let the kids pay to sponge a teacher (with the better weather, said teacher might not mind so much!), sell food and drink.
With the school year coming to a close, your Year 6 leavers pose a great opportunity for fundraising. Is there a way you could make money from the leavers ball? Perhaps you make some memory and message books and sell them to the leavers. Get a professional photographer in to take some great and inventive photos of the students, then frame them nicely and sell to parents – they’ll love it!
With a much better chance of a sunny day, why not plan a school barbecue? You could run it after school, so that parents arriving to pick up their kids would almost certainly get involved and stop by for a burger. You could make loads of money by selling cheap-to-purchase extras. Could you get huge packs of juice cartons and sell them for several times their cost?
Summer is a great time to throw a food festival. There should be plenty of local vendors and businesses up for getting involved, or parents who fancy having a go at making their own fare. While the stallholders will make their own profits, you could ask for a donation from them, charge for tickets (it helps if you offer something with these, such as a snack or glass of bubbly on arrival) or hold a raffle. Perhaps the raffle prizes could be vouchers donated by the businesses and stall holders involved?
Over the summer holidays, the pupils are bound to have plenty of time on their hands. Why not send them off with a charity challenge? It’ll help keep them occupied and gives them a goal to focus on while away from the classroom.
The months of June and July are primetime for major sporting events. What’s happening this year? Are the Olympics on, the Football World Cup, the Euros? Capitalise on them by holding screenings, where you could sell tickets, food and drink. Could you follow it with your own mini-tournament in their image? Why not invite everyone from the local community to enter and compete for prizes?
Year-round ideas and easy earners
Of course, not all fundraising has to be in the swing of the season. There’s plenty of easy earners to keep your fundraising calendar maxed out no matter the time of year.
Run raffles and lotteries
Raffles and lotteries are speedy money-makers and are super easy to pull off. You can either ask people to donate prizes, or purchase some yourself. If you do invest in the prizes, you want something that’s going to draw people to enter without costing an arm and a leg, as this will eat into the earnings. If you need some help getting your hands on affordable prizes, try In Kind Direct who receive and collect donated goods from companies across the UK.
Your School Lottery is a really handy website that allows parents to sign up to weekly draws, paying as little as £1 each time for the chance to win a whole pot of cash. If you can get loads of parents in on this, it could be a great little earner.
Sarah Smith says that, at her school, they’re able to get local businesses to sponsor and pay for really big grand prizes – such as iPads and iPods. As a result, ‘people went nuts for it!’ and a ton of tickets were sold. Why not get ambitious with your raffle prizes too?
Make and sell personalised products
People simply love personalised products, particularly for their kids. Getting mugs, calendars, tea towels and bags printed with school logos, names and photographs is really easy, and could be very affordable indeed if you order in bulk. You might even have a go at doing it yourself if you’re creatively minded. DigiPrint Graphics run some fantastic personalised-product fundraising schemes, and will do most of the work for you.
Earn pocket money
Many children will get a few pounds a week from their parents, and will be delighted to have something fun or delicious to spend it on. By running Friday treats, you’ll raise money every single week while keeping the kids happy. You could have hot chocolates in winter and ice lollies in summer. Why not add an element of surprise with a 50p lucky dip to end the week? Amy Louise says her school manages to get lollies in bulk for very little money – but they’re so popular they always sell out!
You could also throw cheap, easy-to-manage events for the pupils on a regular basis. Why not have a film night or games evening once a month, and charge the children a couple of pounds to join in?
Kids also love to share, compare and trade collectables. Why not regularly sell badges and stickers that they can buy with their own loose change?
Dawn McClure says her school’s annual disco is the highlight of the pupils’ year and raises lots of funds in the process. Why not take it the extra mile and arrange for a candy floss stall, a popcorn machine or a soda fountain? That way the kids can bring along some loose change and spend it on treats while you maximise the fundraising. Candy-buffets.co.uk are a great option for anyone wanting to hire these.
Non-uniform days are a real easy earner, and tend to get the pupils excited. Ask each pupil for a £1 donation. If you want to take it to the next level, turn it into a fancy dress competition! For those who wish to enter, ask for a few pounds and reward the winner with a prize. Perhaps you could even sell craft sets and fabrics donated by local businesses in the run up to the day, so that the children can make their costumes.