Guest post by Jessica Sanders, Director of Social Outreach at Whooo’s Reading
Fundraising is often seen as a necessary evil for schools. But fundraising isn’t the problem—the traditional way of raising money is. Selling candy bars, cookie dough and wrapping paper is not only time consuming, but the only value is monetary. This transforms fundraising into a burden that sits on the shoulders of teachers who want to keep the focus on education, parents who don’t have time to sell products, and PTOs and PTAs who find it nearly impossible to get anyone on board for the event.
When your fundraiser focuses on education, not only will more people be supportive, but everyone involved wins. Consider trying one of these education-focused fundraisers.
School-Wide Flea Market
This type of fundraiser is a non-traditional way of promoting education, giving teachers a chance to teach students about marketing, economics and community involvement. Task each class with a different flea market duty to give everyone an opportunity to learn and be involved. For example, classes could be assigned with:
- Designing promotional flyers: This is a fun way to bring educational technology into your lesson. Use free programs like Easel.ly to avoid spending money on expensive software. It’s also a great opportunity to teach students about marketing.
- Writing email templates for parents or businesses: An informational letter will be much more powerful coming from the students that will benefit.
- Keeping track of sales: Allow a small group of students to be the “bankers,” keeping track of the money raised during the event. Afterward they can create a power point to show the school how much money was raised.
You can organize a community-wide flea market or keep it small, with just students and their families. Items to be sold can include arts and crafts, garage sale items or services.
Motivate students to read more with the friendly competition of a read-a-thon. Teachers can promote this fundraiser by building more reading time into their lesson plans and parents can get involved by reading at home with their kids and suggesting new books.
Try Whooo’s Reading Read-a-Thon, an online read-a-thon platform. Students earn pledges per total books or total minutes read, while socializing with their peers through a secure social platform. You’d be amazed at how excited your students get to read every day.
“I have had so many parents come up to me and tell me how L2E got their kids excited about reading. The money is fantastic but knowing that really makes it all worthwhile,” said Julie M., PTA coordinator for Sabal Point Elementary, a school that ran a fundraiser with Learn2Earn.
Recycling is more important than ever, so make fundraising an opportunity to teach students about how important it is and how to do it properly. You can organize this yourself or work with a company like Planet Green Recycle.
With this program, your school collects e-waste items, like empty print cartridges, old MP3 players, old cell phones and video game consoles, sends at least 20 items per box to Planet Green (shipping is paid for), and earns money for every item sent.
If your school is located near Los Angeles, students can go to the Planet Green Recycle headquarters where they’ll learn about the entire recycling process. If not, you can give your own recycling lesson. Find recycling lesson plan ideas at EducationWorld.com.
Student Craft Sale
Most teachers will agree: art is a critical aspect of every child’s education and learning process. “Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up,” according to PBS.org.
Raise money for your school while giving children the opportunity to express their creativity in any way they want. The idea is simple: students create and collect their arts, crafts and creations to be sold at an end of the year fundraiser. These hand-made items can be sold for a small cost, ranging from $.50 to a few dollars, and include:
- Handmade candles
- Knit items
- Clay products: mugs, bowls and containers
- Christmas ornaments
Get students excited about spelling with a simple spell-a-thon fundraiser at your school. While there’s not one company that offers this as a fundraiser, it’s simple to create and organize on your own, even with just a few volunteers. Here’s how:
- Create and distribute pledge sheets that donors can use to specify their donation amount per word spelled correctly. Suggest that people donate a meaningful amount, regardless of how well their student does in the spell-a-thon.
- Get local businesses to donate student incentives like gift cards or movie tickets. Local restaurants could also provide food and beverage for the spelling competition.
- Choose a time and date to host your spell-a-thon event.
Teachers can use spelling lessons as “prep-time,” getting students excited for the competition.
There are many ways your school can fundraise. Though selling products is what many school administrators are used to, it is far from the best option for your students and your community. Find an education-based fundraiser, try one of these ideas, or create your own.
Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Whooo’s Reading. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her.