Our school is looking to replace the old playground and is looking for some new fundraising ideas. Can anyone help us out with some ideas?
Whatever you do Please don't have the kids sell the overprice chocolate candy. I think that is the worst fundrasier the school my children went to ever had :o)
I have a little experience with this kind of project. Acutally, a lot of experience, but that is another story. First some marketing suggestions.
Having even a rough sketch or schematic of the playground will help in your efforts. It is a great marketing tool, show it sponsors and post it to keep a visual reminder in parents' faces everyday. From that, make a list of the major and semi-major components. Swing bays, slides, monkey bars, you get the idea. Set a price for each component, round up. Then break up your fundraising efforts into one component at a time.
Then take that schematic to local businesses and community service organizations (Kiawanis, Rotary Club, etc.) Ask each group to "adopt" a part of the playground. You'll get a lot of "no" but even a couple "yes" are worth the rejections. You will need to set a way in which each group will be recognized for the donation. Remind them that a school is a 501(c)3 and the donation is tax deductable. That is what they want out of it: tax write off and local publicity. If you already have some funds, that will help convince them of your committment. If/when you get some sponsors be sure to have some kids color and write a real cute thank you not to the sponsor, the love to post that sort of thing in a business where customers see it. If you do that approach, have yourself together before going into with a written request and a list of the components available to sponsor, and any other sponsors already on board. Parents of students in your school who have family businesses might like to get involved with this one if they get even a little recogniztion for it.
Then make fundraisers that will raise funds for one or two components at a time. That way you can publicize "proceeds will purchase the monkey bars" or whatever. When the fundraiser is over, it will raise morale more when you can say "YEAH! It was a success we raised enough to purchase the monkey bars" instead of "We are getting closer to the playground total." Also post a graphic of the funds raised somewhere very visual in the school. You could do a thermometer thing, or a complete picture of the playground next to one of only the components funded, adding them as they are funded.
Final marketing tip, get the students really excited about it. The more they talk about the new playground, the more the parents hear about it, the more they pay attention (and contribute). It has to be put in front of them constantly.
Some of the events we held to actually raise money:
Penny/Coin drive -raised about $1500, the gimmick was to fill the bed of a pick-up truck
Sold parts with kids names on it -bricks in a sidewalk might be the easiest thing at a school. Parents love to put their kids name on something permanent. We sold bricks for $100, but only paid around $15 for them engraved. So that leaves you a lot of room to reduce the price of your bricks if it suits your school better. Remember to budget for a contractor to install them, though.
Something called "flocking" involving individuals paying to have a friend, relative or neighbor's front yard filled with pink, plastic flamingos over night. It was a riot, raised about $1500. If that sounds interesting, email me I'll tell you the details of how it worked.
McDonalds will not outright give money to this kind of thing. Most, however, will let you have a fundraiser at a restaurant. I suppose it might vary between franchises, but our allowed to have a "Voucher Night." We distributed vouchers to be turned in during specific hours of a given date. A certain percentage of the sales with vouchers came back to our cause. We even got the local paper to print a voucher in the paper for that week. If you play your cards right, you might be able to get your local McD's to schedule Ronald for that night. If not, maybe you can get a magician or clown to donate his/her time for entertainment. At the same time, you might be able to get a local business to donate at item for raffle. We did all those things at our "Voucher Nights" to increase traffic into the event and to increase sales. I mean, given a choice, a lot of people get their food to go. If there is entertainment for the kids, they stick around, order dessert, sales go up. Every little bit helps.
Then of course, the traditional raffles and bake sales. I like these things because there is little or no cost involved. Unlike the candy sales or other gift sales fundraising companies get schools to do. They can be good fundraisers, but also require a lot of volunteer time and the biggest profit is made by the company. The hardest part of a raffle is getting the prizes donated. But, if you go to businesses to sponsor a component and they tell you "we can't" then you can pull the prize card, they might be more able to give an item than cash. You could have a dinner and involve the students by having musical groups perform, or having them help with serving and clean up.
Whatever you do, don't forget to invite the local paper or even news channel. A lot of times, they have bigger stories, but call them every single time and they might show up once or twice. A little press coverage goes a long way. They prefer events involving kids, it gets better ratings I guess.
Ask your core group of parents for help. It's amazing once you starts asking people for things, what resources are out there. Somebody might have done a silent auction before, get them to do one for this cause. Or a golf tournement. List out a bunch of ideas for fundraisers, knowing that you can't do all of them, and see who steps up to chair what. You might find some hidden talent in someone you thought had none :o)
Things to get the kids involved without selling, any -a-thon. Walk, bowl, how about a swing a thon at another playground? Pet wash, car wash. The best washes that I've seen sell "advance tickets." OMG, what a genious who came up with this! The kids sold the advance tickets, to neighbors or whatever, to come a couple weeks later and get your car washed. Though on that date, you could still drive up and pay for a wash. But they had to have sold hundreds of those advance tickets, and I bet half of them were never redeemed. I would always forget to redeem mine! At $5 each, that is just plain profit!! I still want to shake the hand of the person who thought that up!
I'll stop there for now. The playground I led was a community playground, we raised over $250,000, it took about two years, then we had to get almost 10,000 volunteer hours to build it. It was hard work, but turned out very successful. Probably a different kind of project from what you're talking about right now. But I hope some what I said can be adapted to help you build your school's playground. Email me if I can be of further help.
Would every child selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts help? If you have a place around you that makes them. I can remember in the line up to get the kids different organizations with large stack of these doughnuts selling them to cars as they lined up to pick up the kids. Better yet, though take orders or bring them to work to sell.
Just an idea. As Krispy Kreme doughnuts have been a fundraising idea for everything under the sun around here for at least 40 years.
Our little school PTO's most successful past fundraisers have always been carnivals. We have had the most success by selling raffle tickets ahead of the carnival for a small tv which was drawn for that night. Silent auctions are also fun.
This winter we did two fundraisers - candy bars and Avon. The average raised per student selling candy bars was about $17. With Avon the students averaged nearly $25 each! It was our first time to do an Avon fundraiser and we were pleasantly surprised.
Passive fundraisers include percentage rebates from Kmart, GFS and Schwan's simply for buying their products. Marketday is another popular one around here.
With so many kids looking a little like round balls these days, our school is staying away from chocolate bars. One of the posters above mentioned passive fund-raisers. Here are a few other ideas in the southern California area:
Office Depot - passive
Albertsons' Community Partners - passive
WalMart - for these, you collect the plastic bags that groceries and store items come in, and bring them to WalMart in big huge bags (that they will supply). They give you $5 per bag of plastic bags. Our school raised $800 last year in bags and we got a very late start. Provide some containers around school, get the word out, and have a few volunteers to contain the bags and get them to your local WalMart.
Plastic bottles and cans - recycling. Provide some bins.
Cookbook - have families contribute a favorite recipe, compile them, and sell them as the "(blank) School Cookbook".
Our PTA has two "big" fundraisers every year. In the fall, they do Innisbrook - mostly wrapping paper but a few gift things and chocolate in it. In the spring, there's a walk/jog-a-thon.
We needed a playground at our school and our Principal was very creative. She approached the city about helping us since the neighborhood children would use the playground after school, on weekends, and during the summer. They matched funds that the county school system alloted, assembled the equipment and installed it and they maintain the mulch around it. They also put in plants around the fenceline and they put in the trashcans,etc.
So that the children felt they were helping, the PTA ran a campaign called "Nickels for Playground." Our Principal's name was Dr. Nickell so it fit in perfectly. The children brought in nickels (other coins too) and were responsible for counting and tallying the amounts as an educational experience.