22 Fun Ways to Fundraise

Here are some innovative ideas to put the FUN back into fundraising for your child’s school
By Chareen Boake

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1. A Night with the Stars
Children arrive at school just before sunset, there’s lots of excitement and chatter and the smell of popcorn and hotdogs fills the air. Just like at a movie theatre, the pre-purchased tickets are handed in at the door and moviegoers make their way to their seats, the school hall is darkened and the big screen flickers into action. You can make this a themed night by showing some children’s favourites like High School Musical or a Disney classic, children are encouraged to dress-up as their favourite character and the hall is decorated according to the theme. An all-night movie marathon on the school field is also a great option for hot summer nights. You’ll need to get permission from the movie’s distributor before your big showing.
fund facts: just like a real movie theatre, children buy tickets for the show. Additional money is raised through the sale of refreshments.
2. Back to Front Day
Have you ever put your T-shirt on back to front or inside out and only realised something was amiss when strangers started looking at you a little oddly? Well, this idea gives you licence to sport an entire wrong-way-round outfit – it’s a really easy way to raise funds and will cause lots of laughs, too.
fund facts: you’ll have to charge a fee for the privilege of wearing clothes back to front or inside out.
3. Bag a Book
Ask parents and teachers to donate their used books. Advertise your book sale in local shops, through community forums and by making large posters to hang outside the school. You’ll be amazed at the number of people keen to snap up an armful of second-hand books.
fund facts: charge a fee for the books and rent tables to people selling crafts
4. Bring and Buy
Advertise the event well in advance and approach local crafts people to sell their goods. In addition, ask families to donate good quality used goods and sell these on a jumble-sale basis – after all, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
fund facts: charge a table-rental fee; since used goods are donated, all the profit will go towards your fundraising.
5. Cupid’s Corner
If they don’t receive a gift from a secret admirer, children can feel very left out on Valentine’s Day. But you can make this a happy occasion for everybody. Sell different coloured ribbons – white for friendship, red for love, blue for the funniest person in class and whatever else you can think of. Attach a card to each ribbon so children can write their own messages.
fund facts: sell each ribbon for a set price
6. How Does Your Garden Grow?
Ask parents to donate egg cartons and empty tins as well as packets of seeds or bulbs. Alternatively, they can donate a cash amount and you can purchase the seeds or bulbs. Plant the seeds in the holders and watch them grow. This fundraiser will need some forward planning so that your plants have time to grow to a decent size before you sell them.
fund facts: hold a plant sale at the school or ask your local shopping centre if you can set up a table and sell the plants there on a Saturday morning. This would work well around themed days like Arbour Day or Mother’s Day.
7. Ready, Steady Cook
All the children have to submit their favourite recipes, the younger children might have to dictate theirs, but the older children can write their responses down as follows: the recipe’s name; ingredients; how to prepare the dish and the cooking instructions. Take the responses down exactly as they tell you. Then get the children to draw a picture of the meal. Compile the recipe book using the children’s own writing and pictures where possible. It’ll make for some hilarious reading and is a great keepsake. You can also adapt this to make a more “serious” recipe book by asking parents to submit their recipes. A parent I know admits that she still uses the recipe book compiled when her children were at preschool, more than 20 years ago.
fund facts: the recipe books are sold for a set price
8. Mom, Dad, You’re Embarrassing Me!
For a fun take on karaoke, pit learners against parents, choosing the music of popular preteen favourites such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Locnville. Make the event really challenging by getting the youngsters to sing music from our teenager years, bet they’ve never heard of Rick Astley, Wham! and Vanilla Ice were. Step aside Justin Bieber!
fund facts: Like all good karaoke spots, a cover charge is payable. Earn extra money by selling refreshments.
9. Calling All Triathle-Tots
A toddler triathlon is a great idea for a preschool fundraiser, plus it’s really cute and makes for a fantastic family fun day. First of all, get your “triathle-tots” to stand at the starting line, when the whistle blows, they’ll set off on the gruelling 20-metre run. The great thing about this triathlon is that everyone sets off from each transition point together. When they’ve all completed their run, line them up again for the 100-metre cycling leg. Bicycles, tricycles, plastic scooters are all legal for this event and no “triathle-tot” will be disqualified for sporting fairy wheels. The third leg of the event is a treasure hunt. The athletes each search for a token and, once they’ve found it, dash for the finish line. Of course their eager seconds have been advised where the tokens are hidden so help is on hand. The token is then exchanged for their medal or certificate and everybody is an “Iron-tot”.
fund facts: children collect sponsorship for each leg completed. We’re sure Granny and Grandpa will be keen to cheer them on, literally and financially speaking that is. Selling food and drinks is always a money-spinner.
10. Restaurant Takeover
Approach some of the family-friendly restaurants in your area and ask whether they’d consider allowing a “takeover” during which the older children play waitron. The children assist the waiters serving dinner and the tips they receive are then donated to the school kitty. Send invitations to the parents and ask them to forward these to their friends. A school in Johannesburg holds a “takeover” four times a year and managed to raise almost R10 000 during a year. Hint: don’t request their busiest nights like a Friday or Saturday because they’ll probably turn you down, rather suggest a quieter night like a Monday or Tuesday.
fund facts: the school collects the tips that the children receive. Some restaurants may even offer to contribute a percentage of the night’s takings.
11. Sun, Suds and Fun
A wash-a-car-athon is a really festive occasion. Music plays through the school’s speaker system; wors for the boerewors rolls sizzles on the braai; there’s a stand selling cold drinks – and the teacher’s parking area is transformed into the coolest car wash in the suburb. Classes can split into groups of five car washers. You can even have a competition to see who washes the most cars.
fund facts: charge a car-wash fee of about R25 per car. If five groups wash five cars at R25 per car, that’s a grand total of R625 per group.
12. Teacher Torture
The headmaster selects five teachers to be tortured. Each teacher is assigned a “torturous” activity, such as tinting their hair purple, dressing up like a clown or coming to school in their pyjamas. The teachers are each assigned a money jar and children, parents and other teachers can vote them into the torture “chamber” by placing R5 into that teacher’s jar. The votes are counted and the three teachers with the most money in their jars have to complete their activity. Select a day and hold a special assembly where the “winning” teachers have to make their appearance in front of the school. Just a warning though: laughter may reach seriously thunderous levels.
fund facts: votes are cast at R5 each. You’ll need jars or money boxes in which to collect this.
13. So You Think You Can Dance? A dance marathon is lots of fun, especially if you dedicate different musical themes – think “Night Fever”, “Bollywood” or modern day hits – to allotted times. Each grade can be allocated a theme and dress accordingly. Watching your children shimmying to the golden oldies can be entertaining.
fund facts: the dancers receive sponsorship for every 20 minutes of dancing.
14. Race to Riches
This is a one-year challenge for all athletic parents and children who participate in racing or endurance events. Each competitor gets a sponsorship form from the school stating that they are raising funds for the school for that particular year. You could even have T-shirts or caps made with your school logo on them, so competitors stand out at races. Incentivise the challenge by offering a grand prize at the end of the year to the person who raises the most money. You could even approach local businesses about donating a prize. Mike, a marathon runner, ran every race with a pet rock. When people asked why he was doing it, he explained it was to raise funds for animal welfare. At the end of a year he and his rock had raised almost R4000.
fund facts: challengers are sponsored for each of the events in which they participate. At the end of the year they collect sponsorship money for the number of events completed.
15. Techno Savvy
This one might take a bit of extra planning as you’d need to design a suitable site and have a pay-to-download facility. Design screensavers and wallpapers, load them onto your school website and have a download facility. You could even include this as an assignment in a computer science class. Who knows, you could have a future Bill Gates in your very own classroom?
fund facts: you’ll need to install a pay-to-download facility on your website.
16. The Amazing Race
You can take over the neighbourhood, or arrange this event at your school campus (if it’s large enough) or at a big park. The other option is to find an event planner that hosts Amazing Race and Survivor parties. You’ll have checkpoints where competitors have to complete a task or answer a question. Before leaving a checkpoint they will be given a clue that’ll get them to the next checkpoint. The first team home wins.
fund facts: competitors approach sponsors and raise funds for every checkpoint they complete.
17. The Wacky World of Fashion
Ask parents and teachers to donate any old or barely used clothes. Hold a wacky fashion show – clashy outfits, back-to-front, eighties, space-age, mullet: party on top, casual on the bottom, and so on. After the show, you can sell the clothing, whatever you don’t sell can be donated to charity.
fund facts: advertise the event at your local shopping centre, through the school newsletter or community newspaper. Charge a small entry fee to watch the show and then charge for the sale of the clothes.
18. The Weakest Link
This is a take on the golden oldie quiz night, and it’s a really challenging but fun way to raise money. You can consider approaching event organisers, who will be able to assist you with technical quiz night setups, or you can compile your own questions and answers – there are lots of websites that’ll give you ideas. Consider approaching a local restaurant or pub that hosts pub nights and ask whether you could use their facilities for your quiz night.
fund facts: charge a cover fee at the door.
19. Toner Towers
Many companies pay cash for empty printer and copier cartridges. Ask parents to donate their empty cartridges to the school. You can even hold a class competition, awarding the class that collects the largest number of empty cartridges.
fund facts: find a company in your city that pays cash for empty toner cartridges.
20. Turn-Around Day
Wouldn’t the children love to get out of bed and go straight to school without so much as brushing their hair? Even the teachers have to participate in this one, and prizes are given for the weirdest, wackiest and ugliest pyjamas and slippers.
fund facts: children pay R5 to wear their pjs.
21. Wine and Dime
Approach your local supermarkets, delis or wineries and ask them to donate a few bottles of wine and delicacies such as cheese, olives and chocolate for your tasting evening.
fund facts: each taster has to purchase a glass and a plate. You could even have your school logo branded on these.
22. Who’s that Baby?
All the teachers provide a photo of themselves as babies, the photos are blown up to A4 and pinned on a board. The children have to try and match the photos correctly. The correct entries are all placed into a draw, the true identities of the babies are revealed and the winner receives their prize. Make this even more fun by giving clues. For example, if the teacher was sucking a dummy in their photo, they could wear a dummy on a ribbon around their neck.
fund facts: each child enters the competition by buying an answer sheet.


Brigette wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Awesome ideas :)

Shade wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Thanks so much, you guys rule.

Julie wrote 4 years 39 weeks ago

Wow, great suggestions. I love to see people being innovative with fundraising. And I'd also love to see some of my past teachers having to dress up like clowns and dye their hair purple.

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