By Martha Beach
Schools have been holding bake sales, dance-a-thons, read-a-thons, and bottle drives forever. They are reliable ways to raise funds for much-loved causes, but these fundraising ideas are also boring and a bit tired. However, there are other great projects that are creative and inspiring, Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Monitor for the day: Older Grades
Homeroom classes will fundraise for a week. The class that produces the most money will have a student monitor for the day instead of their teacher. For an entire day, the winning class is free to do whatever they want for example, watch movies, eat candy, play cards, play soccer, draw, or listen to music, with their student monitor looking on.
This fundraiser requires little organization and planning on the teacher’s part.
Gingerbread Design Contest and Raffle: All Grades
During holiday season, each homeroom class can design and create gingerbread houses. Students in each class can work in groups of three to four people. As a group, students will draw plans, gather materials, and assign jobs. A time limit should be placed on the construction period, for example, one period a day for three days. The morning of the raffle, all of the houses will be displayed in a hallway, the library, or the gym, with an empty slit-top box in front of them. Students will then sell raffle tickets for 25 cents each. Students and teachers can take turns visiting the houses and placing their raffle tickets in the boxes of their favourites. The number of raffle tickets sold to each person can be unlimited because the goal is to sell as many tickets as possible. The tickets are tallied at the end of the day and whoever puts in the most tickets per house wins that house to take home.
Mosaic Frames: Older Grades
Inexpensive pre-cut wooden frames can be bought at IKEA, craft stores, or dollar stores. Students can bring in old pieces of glass, beads, metal, etc., that they can use to decorate the frames. When complete, the frames will be covered in a translucent, shiny paint or gloss (sold at craft stores). The completed frames will be displayed without the artist’s name for a silent auction. This type of fundraising works especially well when a school concert is held or during parent-teacher interviews. Parents can bid on photo frames while they’re waiting.
Some planning is required of teachers and some time is needed to buy frames and glue for this project. Schools may provide money for the project depending on school funding.
Class Quilt: Younger Grades
This is a traditional idea, but is also a good addition to a class studying pioneer history. Students will sew/create one square of a quilt. They can use scrap fabric or felt. They can glue material or sew it, depending on their grade level. When all the students have finished, teachers can collect their squares and sew them together to create a class quilt. When complete, hang the quilt in the hallway and raffle it off.
This fundraise requires quite a bit of work by teachers as they must be able to stitch the quilt squares together. Depending on the grade level, students may be able to help with this part.
Photography Contest and Exhibit: All Grades
Digital and disposable cameras are easy to use and come by; most families own a digital camera and disposable cameras are inexpensive to buy. Students will take photos either in pairs or individually. They can go around the classroom or depending on the availability of supervisors, they can go around the school or even spend some time outdoors taking photos. For digital photos, simply print them in black and white in the class or computer lab. For disposable cameras, have them developed, scan the ones students want enlarged, and print them in the class or computer lab. Make frames for the prints out of colourful paper and hang them around the classroom. Invite parents and students to vote for the best five photos and have them bid on the ones they like best.
This activity should coincide with parent-teacher interviews or some other event where parents come into the school like a spring concert or a school play. The photography contest takes some teacher supervision and it also takes time to pick and choose photos for printing. If disposable cameras are needed, the project cost will be approximately twenty dollars for cameras and photo paper. If digital cameras are used, the project cost will be approximately ten dollars for photo paper.
These suggestions represent some easy and stimulating ways to fundraise. Students are able to participate fully, be creative, and innovative. Some time and effort is required of the teacher, but the project outcomes and the money they raise are well worth it.
What are your favourite class fundraisers? What were some of the causes?