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Fund-raising for schools

Most schools these days seem to be constantly fund-raising. I’m sure if I added up every extra penny that I shell out to my children’s school on an annual basis it would come to a sizeable amount. I’m not talking extras for things like after-school clubs or trips here, I’m talking about the regular notifications we get about different fund-raising projects to improve aspects of the school. Of course this isn’t limited to schools, it extends to all of their extra-curricular activities as well – Brownies, Scouts, Cubs, Gym Clubs as so on, and as parents it can make us feel stretched to the financial limit.

An idea that my children’s school ran this term that really appealed to me was ‘The Coin Race’. An incredibly simple idea (always good), every class had a 2-litre bottle with a coin slot cut out. All the children were encouraged to take in shrapnel to fill the bottle – 1p, 2p and 5p pieces only – and the race was to see which class could raise the most, but also which class could collect the MOST coins. We always have great intentions about changing up all of our coins, but we rarely do it, so here was an idea to rid our drawers of loose change, didn’t cost us a fortune, and the kids enjoyed the competitive element of seeing if their class would win. Over a 4-week period they raised around £1000 with very little effort involved.

So what are the fund-raising ideas that everyone else loves and hates? For this post I sought out the opinions of the twitter hive mind and was not disappointed. Seems that everyone is feeling the pinch and the constant demands for cash can be hard to bear. So what’s good and what’s not? With thanks to @liveotherwise, @mum_themadhouse, @littlestuff, @carrotsandkids, @robsynd, @barenakedmummy, @madyline, @lesleyanneweir, for sharing their thoughts.

Things we love:
Imaginative ideas – not weekly requests
Treasure hunts
Mugs / tea towels created using the children’s artwork
Ideas that involve the wider community – Xmas & summer fairs
Enterprise, artwork, anything the children have worked on
Unusual craft items and presents that can be put away ‘for the grandparents’
The booze bottle tombola

Things we don’t:
Endless cake sales
Quiz nights
Kids art sold back to us in cheap frames
Tea towels / mugs
Overpriced DVDs of the school play
Mufty Day
Any kind of tat!

Hmmm, there’s some cross-over there isn’t there? So we can conclude that you definitely can’t please everybody all the time. What we can clearly hear is a call for creative fund-raising ideas that sparks the imagination, as well as a plea to reach out to the wider community rather than to ask the same people to dig deep every time.

We’d suggest that a fundamental is to ask the parents – what do they want to see the school doing to raise funds, and what would they be prepared to help with. Bigger events that galvanize and involve the wider community were very welcome, summer and Christmas fairs that offer something beyond a request for money – entertainment and added value for the community, including involvement from local businesses.

Thursday, 16th February 2012

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