Fund Raising Ideas For Your Child's PreSchool

Some Ideas

All three of my children went to Head Start preschool, a school program that prepares kids for school, and also works with parents so that they are more able to work, and also keep up with a child's educational skills.  Head Start program teaches social skills, as well as the beginning fundamental skills that are needed to be able to begin reading and writing.  It gives the kids a very good jump start to help them be ahead of the rest of the class.

The Head Start program schools are partially funded by the government, but expect the parents to volunteer one day per month in the classroom or to be an active participant in the parent school board.  I being the president of the parent board of the school located in Santa Barbara, Ca. and was expected to help the school with raising funds, among other things.  I did this for 2 school years, and the school said that the years I spent organizing their fundraisers were the most profitable that they had ever had. 

I am going to tell you what fund raisers they had done in the past, which ones I dropped, and why, and what fund raisers I held and what the results were.  When it is necessary to raise money for programs like these, it is always a good idea to get information on what works and what doesn't and what you don't want to do, for the money you are playing around with is not yours, and sometimes you must spend money to make money. 

One of the school's favorite fund raisers was to hold a carnival.  I saw problems with this right away for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it takes a lot of parent participation to run all the booths.  The second problem is that in order to make money in this way you must buy a lot of little gifts that will be used as prizes when someone wins at any given booth.  They are also a lot of work and take most of a day.  They year before they made about $440. after they subtracted money spent towards the setting it up.

Everybody really wanted to do the carnival, for they did it every year.  It took quite a bit of convincing to do a different idea.  Instead I convinced the parents that if they did not have to spend any cash on the event, all money brought in would be pure profit.  I suggested a raffle instead, and one where all the winners won things that were donated, both by parents and by the community.  Some moms got on the phone and got restaurants to donate dinners for two.  Car washes also donated, and so did florists, and many other local businesses, for it was all good advertising for them.  Then we had parents who had businesses who also donated prizes, like one man donated his time to paint a room, another man who worked on cars, donated an oil change and lub, and another donated housecleaning.  A local printer printed up the coupons used for winnings, and the tickets. 

It was quite a bit of work, but it was a complete success, and the kids helped by selling the tickets, so we had whole families participating.  In the end, we made a whopping $1200+ the most they had ever made in just one event.

The other event that they were fond of doing was a dinner that the parents had to purchase and then other parents cooked and served.  They served a steak extravaganza, so that they could charge a good amount per plate.  This I felt was hard on some of the parents, who were not as financially equipped to buy an expensive dinner for two or four people.  Also, again, they had to spend money on food so there was a deduction from the profit in the end to put back the money spent on food.

That event I did away with, for again, I could not see the point of spending money to make money when the parents were paying for it no matter how you looked at it.  Besides that, I felt that it was not a family event but more of an adult event.  I replaced it with a .25 a dip spaghetti pot luck, which every family brought their dinner for five spaghetti family recipe, and we placed them all on a table.  Kids, grandparents, anyone who wanted brought their change, and the salad and bread was provided.  Nobody minded the quarter a dip and we had a great turnout that lasted several hours.  We brought in over $900.  on that occasion.

The other fund raiser that we did was alright, but not as successful as the others was a neighborhood dog wash, which we charged three dollars for a wash and three dollars for a blow dry.    That was a lot of work and I would decide not to do that again.

In raising funds the main things to remember are, try not to spend money on the event, for parent participation and donations will usually cover any needs.  Use you imagination and try to come up with ideas that are fun to set up as well as fun to do.  If possible, try to get the community involved.  The more time you spend on the phone talking to people, the more success you will have in your endeavor to make money for your organization.

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