10 Fundraising Ideas for School Extracurricular Clubs and Groups
For the last several years, I have been advising and working with the drama club students and families at my school. Each year, we take on the challenge of raising an enormous amount of money in order to participate in a regional Shakespeare Festival. Even though this program is not cheap, it is worth every single penny, as it allows our students to participate in a phenomenal Shakespeare program. Here are ten ideas that have worked for us to help us raise the money we need to participate year after year.
1. Program Ads and Donations
Since we are a drama club, we put together two or three drama productions a year. For each production, we have a program that we give out to each audience member. In September, my students approach local businesses, family, teachers and friends to give them the opportunity to place a message or advertisement in our program for the year. We sell the fact that their ad or message will be featured in more than one production. We give them options of ad sizes starting at $25.00 for a business card size to $100.00 for a full page.
This is our best fundraiser every year. Students form teams that go out on a Saturday with a pile of ad message reservation forms in hand. They speak to local business owners and network, which is a great life skill. Our local businesses have always been very generous. Sometimes, if it isn’t in their advertising budget, they will offer us a service in exchange. For example, we have had a printing business print our production posters in exchange for a full page ad. We had another business offer to print our program covers in color in exchange for a full page ad, with their ad on the inside back cover in color. Take these exchange deals, as it is good networking business for your club or organization.
Parents, friends and teachers love to place program messages for the actors who will be on stage. Our teacher’s union and administrators love to show their support with a “break a leg” message. The possibilities are endless…and profitable!
We all drink it, or at least a lot of people do. Coffee fundraisers can be very popular and easy. Americans drink a lot of coffee. We also like related products, such as cakes, teas, and cocoa. If you choose the right company, you will be able to offer many products to your customers. We have worked with a company called WeCareCoffee Company. They have so many options, including catalog sales and online sales.
3. Holiday Wreaths
Our first drama production each year is the Shakespeare production that our students create for the festival. The festival falls in November, right before Thanksgiving. It is a perfect time of year for one of our cheeriest fundraisers. We sell decorated holiday wreaths. So many people and businesses purchase wreaths for the entrances to their homes and shops. We order undecorated wreaths and dress them up with ribbons and pine cones. We pre-sell wreaths with order forms, knowing that we have preordered a set amount, which is necessary with this fresh product. If we have some left over when we get to delivery weekend, a small group usually sets up a table outside the local grocery store. They are happy to have our smiling students greeting guests outside their door while they help support a local school group.
Which method of fundraising will you try out?
4. Citrus Fruit
As we sell holiday wreaths, we gear ourselves up for the next winter fundraiser: citrus fruit! Living in the northeast, it is nice to get a box of fresh, awesome smelling citrus fruit from Florida in the middle of the cold winter. This is a no brainer. Families love this healthy fundraiser. So do school administrators, who are always pushing for the healthy choices. This is a fundraiser that will allow you to build a customer base over time. People will look forward to it year to year.
Enough said, right? A teenager with a box of $1.00 chocolate bars is a guaranteed profitable fundraiser. We have met challenges with this fundraiser with the expectations in school for healthy choices. However, students are easily able to sell to their friends and families off campus after school and on the weekends. Parents have had a lot of success by taking a box to the office and setting it out in the break room. People love chocolate, and with $1.00 bars, it is a cheap and delicious way for them to support your organization. There are a lot of great companies out there. We have had success with Niagara Chocolate.
6. Valentine’s Day Chocolate Buffet
That’s right, more chocolate! For two years we had a brilliant fundraiser right before Valentine’s Day that we called our Chocolate Buffet. Our club’s families would create an array of delicious chocolate desserts to donate. We would set up a section of our school atrium to be a fancy buffet dining space. Our drama students would dress nicely to be servers. We would split the proceeds with our jazz band, who would come in and play to add to add ambiance. Tickets were presold and available at the door for this all you can eat buffet. It is a great idea that doesn’t fit so well with the push for healthy in our schools, so we had to abandon it. However, if it fits your group’s guidelines, this is a fantastic fundraiser.
7. Renaissance Fair
For a few years, we raised funds with a late spring Renaissance Fair. Be warned, this one can be a lot of work. It is also really fun. What do you need for a Renaissance Fair? We organized a vending area, which included local artisans, craft sellers, and food vendors. We set up a few craft and game booths, which our drama students would run. These might include face painting, cardboard medieval shield or sword decorating and theater games. We had a stage area, of course. Our drama students would perform short plays based on Aesop’s Fables for the kids. They would also perform Shakespeare scenes and monologues. We had singing groups and period relevant dancers performing as well. All of our performers were students and recent alumni, which means we didn’t have to pay them to perform. We had wandering entertainers as well. These could include musicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, etc. One of the most exciting parts of our Renaissance Fair was the Jousting. We hired a professional jousting group to come in and perform. Although this cost money, it was a fantastic way to pull in our customers for a great family day out. Huzzah!
8. 5K Run
Last year we started our first annual 5K Run. If you can snag a day that is free from other 5K runs, you can have success with this fundraiser. Contact a local runners club to find out when your regional runs are, well, running for the year. You will need to have prizes, a sign up and registration area, water, timers, and a start and finish line. We were lucky to be able to start and loop around to finish near our school campus. We relied on an experienced runner from our school to help us with the set up details. This was a fun, healthy event that we will continue for years to come to help us raise much needed funds.
9. Local Restaurant Partnerships
Both chain and local restaurants are happy to support your group’s fundraising cause. Applebee’s has been a great partner. They allow us to host dinner nights, where we urge community members to eat there, and they give us a percentage of that night’s takings. We have also worked with them to run pancake breakfasts. Pancake breakfasts are great fundraisers, but they take a lot of organization, space, materials, know-how, etc. Working with Applebee’s, or a local restaurant, could be the way to go, as it allows you to have a great breakfast fundraiser without the hassle.
One of our local pizza restaurants is willing to work with us in a similar manner. We are going to pick a night this summer, urge community members to get a pizza, and rake in the profits. This is a no-brainer.
Need more fundraising ideas? Check out this article by sharynsslant:
- How to Organize a Gift Basket Raffle Fundraiser
Organizing a gift basket raffle is a great way to make money for any fundraising event. Here you will find everything you need to know including creative basket theme ideas.
10. Bake Sales and Concessions, of course!
Food always sells. We know that we need to raise a lot of money every year, so we set up to do some well placed bake sales and concession stands throughout the year. Of course, we sell baked goods and concessions at our drama performances. We make sure to include an intermission during the show, so that the audience can buy a cup of coffee and a brownie. Setting up at sporting events is also a great idea. At our school, the senior class has great success with concessions at football games. Our drama club takes over the concessions for one big track meet invitational each spring. During that event, there are several schools with hungry athletes on campus, so it is a guarantee that the concession stand will be a popular spot during the event.
Whether your group needs to raise a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars, maybe these ideas will be profitable for you. Happy fundraising!
© 2012 Donna Hilbrandt