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I am the fundraising chair for my son’s preschool. We have a few solid fundraisers that we love and are successful, but we are always looking to branch out and try something different. Our school is a non-profit, parent coop, so fundraising is a very critical part of our operation. We do a restaurant fundraiser, online silent auction, and a “touch-a-truck” day in the spring.
Have you had success with other fundraisers? I’d love to hear what other parents and schools have had success with. Thanks!
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Bless you for volunteering for this time-consuming activity.
I think that diversity is the key to fundraisers.
Have one "sale" of items such as wrapping paper, one activity, and one food-related fundraiser.
Nothing is worse than having to repeatedly sell items that they will never use to the same people.
As a grandparent, I am being bombarded now that my grands are in many activities. If we can eat the fundraiser item, we feel like we at least get our money's worth (and I don't have to cook). Our favorites are chicken bar-b-ques, pretzel subs, and whoopie pies. Popcorn is not bad, but we dislike most of the cookie dough that you can buy.
Our church makes a load of money at our annual chicken bar-b-que, which is a great fundraiser for any group.
I also work in a preschool and the most successful fundraisers that we had involved families coming into the centre to do something together. We had movie nights on a big screen and 'story nights' as well as a sports day event. These things were all very highly attended and we made a lot of money out of them.
Being involved with my daughters' preschool, also a non-profit, we had year-round fundraisers, as well as targeted ones.
One of the year-round ones was a candle sale. We had partnered with a local artesian, who offered a substantial discount on his candles, so we could sell at a reasonable cost, and realize a profit. This was one of our most successful efforts, considering people always want to keep their supply of candles stocked! You could do this with other artesian products, like organic baby and kid care, and sauces/spices.
We also loved the wrapping paper/greeting card fundraisers. During those years, I never bought either from a store, because the quality of the products was always so good, and it lasted a long time.
Another one we really enjoyed was utilizing a local photographer who came to the school to do dress-up photos for the kids. They would offer a wide range of outfits the kids could choose from, and they always had such fun that whole day. When they got their pictures back, they loved seeing themselves in a spacesuit or a princess costume.
Have fun planning!
I think that one of the secrets to fundraising is to make sure that you are not always targeting the same groups of people or organisations for donations. The more broadly you can appeal to a wider group of people, the more you can be sure of raising funds even when times are tough.
Having done fundraising for both schools and NGO's I have found the following fundraising initiatives quite successful:
1. Golf Days. If properly planned and executed, golf days are a great way of raising funds. You can include a dinner after the event to include non-golfers and you can incorporate ideas such as an auction into the day. Not only will people pay to participate, but you should be able to onboard sponsors for each hole - they can either contribute towards prizes for the event, or make a donation to your fund in exchange for the opportunity to advertise their brand.
2. Fundraising via competing in well-know sporting events. If you have an annual marathon, cycling event, or other such sports event close by, fundraisers can enter the event and raise funds on your behalf. They can be sponsored per mile/kilometre or simply for participating. You can also arrange a friendly sports match between a local sports team and your school's parents.
3. Workshops. If you have parents at the school with a creative skill who are willing to donate their time, you can offer workshops within the community. This works even better if you can get a local craft or hardware store onboard to donate the raw materials needed.
4. A craft fair. Parents and other community members can host a craft fair, each vendor will pay to have a stall and you can charge a small entry fee. Apart from local arts and crafts, you can have food stalls, and activities like face painting and a children's magician or balloon artist to ensure that everyone in the family can be included in the day.
Good luck with your fundraising endeavours.
Very interesting question.
Having been associated with a non-profit organization for such a longtime, I sure can understand how interesting yet challenging it can be to plan and execute a fundraiser.
Here are few tried and tested ideas which might work for you.
• Fundraising matches in collaboration with sports clubs or sports organizations.
• School/college/university campaign: we reach out to different academic institutes, educate students about vision of our organization and student bodies of those institutions plan fundraising events for us.
• Bake sale: we have had few very successful bake sales in collaboration with volunteers.
• Art & craft exhibition: we organize open days where people from local community are invited to art & craft exhibition (art pieces prepared by our students) and they can buy those items.
• Fund raising concert: I have experienced that artists are usually very kindhearted people, you can take few renowned music artists onboard as volunteers and plan fundraising concert.
• In kind donation campaign: we have also run focused campaigns for meeting a specific requirement of our organization e.g. we needed to procure dozens of ceiling fans for our classrooms. We submitted requests to local manufacturers and a big brand provided us those fans on highly subsidized rates.
Best of luck.