The MOMS Club I belong to hires a photographer every year to do a family photo shoot session at a beach or park. Members sign up for time slots, and half of the proceeds from the shoot go directly back to our club. It's an easy way to raise funds; we get great photos with our families; and everything is ready in time for us to order copies for the holidays. A win-win for all!
Laguna Niguel, CA
During football season, a local furniture store donates a recliner that my kids' school raffles off as "the best seat in the house." The chair sits on the sidelines near the 50-yard line, and before each home game, the schoolkids sell tickets for a chance to sit there and eat free food delivered from the concession stand. At the end of the season, the chair is raffled off, too.
Our school hosted book fairs at the local Barnes & Noble, which gave a percentage of the sales back to the school. I found the best time to schedule a fair was close to the holidays, so we could encourage our supporters to buy books as holiday gifts. To make the fair fun, we always asked the children to dress up as their favorite storybook characters. Princesses, action heroes, and sports figures were always popular, as well as Harry Potter and Hermione. One of the best costumes I recall was Captain Underpants -- he carried a plunger and wore a homemade cape.
In our rural part of southwest Ohio, traditional fundraisers, such as selling candy bars door-to-door, are not feasible. Instead, my daughter's school held a farmers market. Each family donated goods to sell: homegrown flowers, fruits, and veggies; local meat and honey; handmade cutting boards; hand-sewn winter hats; and so on. (Our family set up a baked-goods booth.) It was a great way to raise money, and many parents said afterward how much they liked spending time making and selling the items with their children.
We had a pancake breakfast for a swim team fundraiser. Everyone was involved. The moms and dads were in the kitchen making the pancakes, while the kids did the serving. People from all over came out to support the team. It was so much fun!
Las Vegas, NV
My daughter's school held a triathlon, with each grade choosing to run, swim, or bike. People pledged donations for each lap completed or gave a flat donation. I loved that there was a direct tie-in with a healthy activity, and I was not stuck with candy bars, cookie dough, or the like.
The one thing we've taught our daughters as they've raised money over the years is how to set themselves up for their next fundraiser. We want them to make a positive, lasting impression on their supporters. So, after an event, the girls give them homemade brownies or cookies, a thank-you note, and a photo of themselves. The next time the girls need to ask for donations or make a sale, they are remembered.
Santa Barbara, CA
Copyright © 2014 Meredith Corporation.
Originally published in the November 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.