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3 Fundraising Ideas for Elementary Schools

Whether for school supplies, special equipment, or for an educational field trip, funds aren’t often easy to come by in public school districts. And, with the majority of American families still recovering financially from the 2008 economic recession, raising funds among families isn’t an easy task for a lot of students.

This is when fundraising comes into play. With a bit of drive and determination, classrooms can organize fundraiser events that can yield large profits.

Elementary school students have several things working in their favor when holding a fundraising event. First, many people like helping kids, so the success rate is perhaps greater than if it were a high school classroom organizing such an event. Furthermore, most donors feel good supporting and investing in the students and their community.

Here are some fundraising ideas for schools, ranked from simple to organize, to fundraisers that require more advanced planning.

Simple Elementary Fundraisers

  • Can Drive. In some states, such as Michigan, there’s a 10 cent deposit that must be paid when purchasing soda in cans or bottles. One fundraiser idea, in the states where it’s applicable, is for students to host a can drive. By doing so, they can pair up and go door-to-door in various neighborhoods asking for people to donate cans so that they may collect the return deposit. In fact, by passing out flyers in advance of the collection dates, students can raise further awareness and help prepare area residents. Students can also set up collection bins in the school in case students from other grades want to help their cause.
  • Coupon Books. Several companies will partner with schools for coupon book fundraisers. Under such agreements, the companies have students sell the books to their families, friends, etc. and the students receive a portion of the funds.
  • Candy. Similar to the aforementioned example, a candy fundraiser consists of students selling candy to friends and family members, with the school keeping a portion of the profits from the amount sold.

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Moderate Elementary Fundraisers

  • Car Wash. A car wash is a fundraiser that has a very large potential for profit. Consider hosting one either in the school parking lot or at a venue that generates a lot of passerby traffic. With just a few basic supplies (sponges, soap, towels, etc.) and by asking people not to pay a fixed price but to make a donation (generally this generates more money as people are more generous and likely to give more than say, a price of $5), this can create lots of fundraising revenue.
  • Movie Night. A movie night fundraiser consists of hosting a special after school movie presentation at the school, typically in the library, auditorium, gym or any other venue that can support a large crowd. Make sure to reserve a large enough screen and then sell tickets, popcorn and other snacks for admission. Try to select a movie that’s applicable for all ages, as it will be likely to generate a larger crowd than one that is genre specific. Promote the movie night by making posters and hanging them throughout the school.

Advanced Elementary Fundraisers

  • Festivals. Everybody loves a fun festival. And they can help turn a large profit if planned well. However, they’re very complicated to organize, with food, drinks, entertainment, and more to consider. But the admission ticket prices, concessions and prices to charge for other events like games and such can help put a class on the fast track to success in terms of reaching their fundraising goals.
  • Special Assembly. Another effort to raise funds that requires a tad more planning than what some classrooms may have the time for is hosting a special assembly. This may consist of a play, concert, talent show or even trying to network to bring in a popular figure, such as a local athlete or celebrity. Such a special assembly can be held after school hours and tickets can be sold for the event. If a special assembly doesn’t work, consider trying to organize a students vs. teachers basketball or softball game as a fundraising attempt.
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