It seems like every time a parent turns around their kid is selling something for a fundraiser. School fundraisers shouldn’t add stress to families. They shouldn’t require overworked teachers to do more work. Fundraising can be incorporated into the classroom to teach kids valuable lessons about giving back. They can be student-led and provide important leadership experiences. Use fundraising opportunities to bring communities together and get people excited about opening their wallets for a good cause. It should be an amazing experience for everyone involved–teachers, students and their parents.
These days, it might seem like a penny or dime doesn’t go very far. Don’t let idea fool you – loose change can still make an impact! Have your students search their couch cushions, underneath the seats in their family car and the laundry room for spare change to collect and donate. All that change can add up. Make it a competition. Classrooms, grades or even schools can compete to see who can collect the most change. Incorporate the change wars into math lessons on money, addition, multiplication and budgeting. Just be careful the students don’t cause a change shortage!
Walk or Run
Get kids motivated and literally moving with a walk-a- thon or fun run! Take advantage of your school track and local walking paths, encourage students to walk to school or up the ante in gym class! Students can collect donations or pledges from a sponsor for measurable goals, like distance or time increments. If walking or running aren’t a good fit for your school, host a different type of marathon. It
can be a bike-a- thon, dance-a- thon or read-a- thon. Cater the activity to what your students can do best so they stay motivated and enjoy themselves while fundraising for your cause.
Spirit Week or Field Day
Incorporate fundraising into the school’s spirit week or field day. Add another level of competition by having the classes or grades fundraise during spirit week or leading up to field day activities. The class or grade that raises the most money can win incentives during the field competitions. For example, during a kickball game the grade or class that raises the most money can earn a bye game or an extra out in an
Make athletic accomplishments count off the scoreboard. Student athletes can fundraise using their own accomplishments. They can raise money through donations and pledges for their athletic achievements in their respective sports, whether it’s kicking an extra point in football, hitting home runs or a goalie counting their saves. Student athletes find it brings extra meaning to their sport and accomplishments while raising funds and awareness for their cause.
Principals, teachers or other school staff can incentivize their students toward reaching their fundraising potential. As long as staff members don’t mind a little fun at their expense, students will be motivated to see their principal or teacher spend the night on a roof, dye their hair a bright color or take a pie to the face.
Philanthropic School Clubs
Student-run philanthropic clubs are a great way for the students to take the lead to support a cause they are passionate about. Students form the club, plan fundraising events and execute the events during the school year. Students take a hands-on approach to the decision making, rather than being told by the school what fundraiser they will participate in. Similar to other school clubs, they can have an executive
board and members. In addition to raising money and awareness for a great cause, the students will build leadership, social and decision-making skills.
What is more student friendly than an old fashioned, all-American lemonade stand? Valuable lessons can be learned while fundraising. Students use social skills to interact with customers. They use business and math skills to figure out what supplies they will need, how much everything will cost and how much profit they will be able to donate to the cause.
Set students up for fundraising success with activities they actually want to participate in. Invite feedback or collaborate with the students. They might have creative and successful fundraising ideas that adults never would have dreamed of! Kids want to give back. Sometimes all they need is a spark to their imagination and they’ll figure out a great way to support their cause.
Annie Korp is the PR Specialist for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a national childhood cancer nonprofit. She works to spread awareness about childhood cancer research, ALSF programs and special events. Are you looking for a cause for your school to rally behind? ALSF is a great fit for schools and has countless fundraising ideas. Visit AlexsLemonade.org/schools for more information.