Best School Fundraisers

Mary Gormandy White
Fundraising Ideas
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The best school fundraisers not only earn money to support school programs, but they also create a school community where teachers, parents, and students work together supporting education. There are several keys to choosing a good fundraiser, including:

  • Earning Potential: Can the fundraiser earn the needed amount? What alternative plans are there to raise additional money?
  • Participation: Are parents and students willing and able to participate in the event? Will there be enough volunteers to make the event successful?
  • Planning: Is there enough time and assistance to plan the event and anticipate changes or adaptations?

The best school fundraisers are fun, memorable, and profitable. Which fundraiser meets the school's expectations will vary for each community and grade level, but earning money to support school programs such as reading incentives, after-school clubs, equipment purchases, teacher appreciation, drug awareness, anti-bullying, and cultural heritage studies is always a priceless ambition.

1. Box Tops for Education

Box Tops for Education is an easy program gives participating schools 10 cents per eligible box top donated. There are hundreds of products to choose from, including many kids' favorites and healthy options, and schools can earn thousands of dollars each year from products that families already purchase, so no additional money or strenuous effort is required.

2. Local Store Partnerships

Nationwide stores such as Target and Office Depot as well as regional grocery stores and local merchants offer partnerships with interested schools. Schools can earn money when registered patrons shop using their customer values cards, or if the school collects receipts from the store. Some stores will offer a credit to the school as a percentage of the sale, while others present regular checks for accumulated earnings.

3. Campbell’s Soup Labels

It's not just cans anymore - a wide variety of Campbell's products are eligible for the Labels for Education program, and they have been earning money for schools for generations. Many schools collect labels in each classroom or in the main office, and as of November 1, 2006, the entire label does not need to be returned - just the proof of purchase and promotional icon, making it even simpler to earn free supplies and equipment for school programs.

4. Cartridges for Kids

The Cartridges for Kids program encourages responsible citizenship through recycling even as it pays schools for used printer ink cartridges, cell phones, iPods, PDAs, laptop computers, and other personal electronic equipment.

5. Rummage Sale

Organizing a school-wide rummage sale takes only minimal effort compared to large scale fundraising events, and it's a fun opportunity for families to clean out old toys, clothes, and other items from garages, attics, and closets. The items remaining after the sale can be donated to local charities, giving students a valuable lesson not only about money but about helping others.

6. Gift and Candy Sales

Order forms and quaint gift items are a staple fundraiser for many schools, and the wide variety of options makes these some of the best school fundraisers available. From simple sucker sales at the school to hefty catalogs of gift wrap, candles, chocolates, cookie dough, seasonal merchandise, and other gifts and trinkets, there is a gift and candy sale fundraiser suitable for every school.

7. School Carnivals

Annual carnivals are a hefty project to organize but also have some of the greatest earning potential for individual schools. Themes such as round-ups, fall festivals, and spring flings give order to multiple booths, games, and activities for the whole family. Either an admission charge or individual tickets can be sold to raise funds, and silent auctions, cake walks, and refreshment sales generate additional revenue at the event.

8. Refreshments at Events

Selling popcorn, candy, or soda at sports games or other community events is a great school fundraiser. Individual schools can offer refreshments at their own gatherings - parent conferences, book fairs, recitals, concerts, etc. - or they can team up with other schools such as the high school or junior high in order to offer treats at one event or a series of events.

9. Pledge Sponsorships

Getting sponsors to pledge particular amounts of money for cumulative events is a long-standing school fundraiser. Walk-a-thons, spelling bees, reading programs, and jump rope marathons are classic events that generate sponsors, and even small pledges can add up to big bucks for a school.

10. Magazine Drives

Renewing magazine subscriptions and selling issues to new customers is a popular fundraiser for junior high and high school students. Patrons can purchase something they would already be interested in - often at significant savings - and help support local schools at the same time. Furthermore, selling magazines helps encourage literacy outside the classroom, bringing reading into every student's home.

Best School Fundraisers