20 great fundraising ideas for schools

From reception through to sixth form, as your children move up the school, one thing remains constant: the endless need for funds. If the thought of another bake-sale makes your heart sink, take courage: Mumsnetters have come up with a range of easy, entertaining ways to keep the cash rolling in

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1. Try a bit of oom-pah-pah

"Our PTA has a German beerfest evening with a band and food every couple of years which does well."

2. Catch 'em when they're keen

"We have a few evenings for year six pupils and parents to come in and meet their new form tutor. The PTA sell three times as many raffle tickets on those evenings as during the rest of the school events put together. Prospective parents are always keener..."

3. Take the plunge

"Hire your local swimming pool for an hour one evening and sell family tickets. Our pool, for example, costs £80 per hour including lifeguards. The PTA sell family tickets for £5 - a bargain for a family of four. You have a great early evening out as a family; the kids get to play with their friends in the pool and - as an added bonus - they all sleep really well that night."

4. Pledge allegiance

"My "Have an auction of promises donated by parents - two hours' gardening, an evening's babysitting, use of holiday home/caravan, making a cake, etc."

5. Get them sitting comfortably

"Story evenings. Charge £2.50 for kids to come back to school in their PJs at 6pm. Teachers (also in PJs) read bedtime stories with a mug of cocoa and biscuit. Have a best-dressed teddy competition and a raffle for a bedtime hamper (donated stuff: books, toothbrush, flannel, hot water bottle), and send everyone home at 7pm. It's really easy and fun; the second time we had 100 children (our school only has 125)."

6. Sing it loud

"The best thing we ever did was Teacher Karaoke. The teachers all sang, usually in groups, one lunchtime and the pupils paid £1 each to come and see them. We made a fortune! You just have to persuade the teachers to do it..."

7. Camp out

"How about a family camping night if you have a reasonable sized school field? Put on burgers for dinner and bacon rolls for breakfast and charge per pitch."

8. Place your fingers on the buzzers

"My daughter's secondary school had a quiz night at which the head teacher had a team made up entirely of teachers. The idea, of course, was to beat them..."

9. Send 'em packing

"School groups are always packing bags in my local Morrisons in return for a contribution from the shopper."

10. Lather up


"Have a £5 car wash - with the cars washed by adults - every few months on a Saturday morning."

11. Employ scare tactics


"We hold a Hallowe'en party for all the kids under 12 ... lots of sweets, food, dancing, party games. Stops them trailing the roads trick-or-treating, so parents love it."

12. Sign 'em up


"My son's school runs a 50:50 club. You set up a standing order for £1 a month; half of the amount raised is given in prizes ,and half goes into PTA funds."

13. Check your calendars


"We do class calendars in December. These are a big seller. Every child in each class draws a portrait which is then scanned onto a calendar showing the entire class, with all the school holidays and training days printed on it for the coming year. It's a nice keepsake, seeing your child's self-portrait change from wobbly reception drawing to young artist!"

14. Match what you make


"Parents who work for bigger companies may have access to matched funding opportunities (Barclays, IBM and lots of others do them as part of their corporate responsibility schemes). If you can get a parent involved in an event (and pick the events that are big earners) they can claim a matched amount of money to double the amount raised. Very lucrative, minimal effort, and saves you from having to tap cash-strapped parents for money."

15. Treat yourself


""We had a pamper night; very popular. You get a bunch of therapists to offer various treatments or samples, and charge them a pitch fee. Bring in a bunch of stallholders selling candles, jewellery etc. Charge a door fee, have a raffle and sell cake and tea. Lots of work but you'll see a healthy return (we made £700)."

16. Light up the sky


"My son's school doesn't do a Christmas Fair; instead they run a fabulous firework night in November and charge for tickets. It's a proper display by an external pyrotechnic company; just a few volunteers are needed to man the barbecue and bar. It makes more money for less effort than the fair ever did."

17. Get the word on the street


"Approach a local estate agents for sponsorship of your school fair. For every board someone displays that names them as sponsor, they'll give you a sum of money."

18. Park it


"We ran a car boot sale on the school car park. We charged £10 a car with free entry to buyers. We also had a refreshment stand (which raised over £500) and our own stall with items donated by parents. We raised over £1000."

19. Ready, steady, cook!


"Our school did a recipe book, with the children submitting their favourite recipes. The booklet was laminated and divided into breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Went down very well."

20. Shop till you drop


"Offer late-night Christmas shopping babysitting. Parents pay £5 (or so) for a few hours on a late night shopping evening close to Christmas. School hall is open with PTA volunteers and play equipment and craft stuff out, then a snack and a drink is provided - all at a minimal cost."

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Last updated: over 1 year ago