Some of the most standout moments in the school calendar come courtesy of the charity events tied into the big dates of the year. In fact, school terms lend themselves to marking major events, so it makes sense to incorporate fundraising activity into Christmas, Halloween, and other key days. Plus, people are in the mood to celebrate already – just make sure they make merry at your school!
Before you begin fundraising:
Plan: organise your seasonal fundraising events into the school calendar nice and early, so everyone’s well prepared. Setting a target for the year helps focus both organisers and parents. Keep a ‘thermometer’ where people can see the difference they’re making as funds mount up. And don’t forget to collect Gift Aid declarations where possible, so every donation counts where it can.
Strategise: what’s important at your school? Plan a balance of large events and smaller initiatives to make the most of each term. Prioritise the activities that will get large numbers of parents involved, so your efforts are guaranteed to get bigger results.
Evaluate: record the outcome of each activity so you’ll know what to repeat, and what to ditch for future charity events.
Read on for easy seasonal school fundraisers:
Seasonal fundraising ideas and events list
- Pre-term uniform sale – cash in as people are clearing out wardrobes!
- Second-hand uniform sale
- Bulbs and plant sale
- Fun run – a great, quick activity to get students back into the swing of school sports
- Oktoberfest – hold a beer festival over a weekend. Anything that doesn’t sell can be used for the bar at the Christmas fair
- Winter Warmers recipe book – ask each family to send in a recipe for a favourite family recipe, and create a recipe book to sell at the Christmas Fair
- James Bond Day (5 October) – host a Bond themed cocktail evening for parents
- Halloween events
o Fancy dress disco
o Harry Potter day – dress up/quiz/guided reading/literacy/lunch
o Pumpkin carving competition – sell the decorated pumpkins to the local neighbourhood for their doorsteps on the night
o Trick or treat night/spooky sleepover/movie night
o Prison Break event for older students or adults
- Beaujolais Nouveau – cheese and wine night
- Guy Fawkes – can tie into a history lesson
o Fireworks or bonfire if you have space
o Sausage sizzle
o Make and sell toffee apples, parkin or treacle toffee
o Apple bobbing competition
o Penny for the Guy competition
- Christmas Fair – this is a key event in the year and can really make a difference to your fundraising total.
- Parent’s Winter ball or Christmas party
- Christmas concert
- Coffee and carols morning – invite parents for coffee and mince pies while the choir sings. Donation on the door
- Christmas shopping evening – set up the school hall and get local businesses to pay for a stall to sell gift items. Sell mulled wine and mince pies on the evening
- Design a card/mug/coaster – get kids to create their own design and let parents order personalised items for Christmas cards and gifts
- Letters to Santa – put a festive post box in the hall and let children write letters to Santa, to receive one back. Charge £1 for a letter.
- Sell Christmas trees and wreaths – some sellers will give a commission for sales organised via a school
- Cards and wrapping paper sales – use organisations such as Phoenix trading for commissions on sales.
- Burns night celebration
- Chinese New Year – parents takeaway and quiz night or run a Chinese auction
- Valentines disco or wear red to school day
- Valentine’s themed bring and buy sale with themed refreshements
- Shrove Tuesday – sell pancakes after school
- World Book Day readathon
- Crufts: hold a dog show with silly categories – best biscuit-catcher, waggiest tail, etc.
- St David’s day – sell a daffodil for mum
- St Patrick’s day – Irish themed celebration
- Mother’s Day – hold a pamper evening for mums with local businesses providing taster mini-treatments. Great for prosecco sales!
- Revision fundraiser – students are getting ready for exams, so this is a fun way to get some practice in and break the tedium of revision. Hold a test where friends and family pledge an amount per correct answer for their student. Sell refreshments after the test and make a night of it
- World Art Day (15 April) – put on an art exhibition by the students; sell or auction framed artwork
- Summer plants/hanging baskets sale
- Easter bake sale or home made crafts stall
- Easter egg hunt
- Easter sponsored ‘bunny hop’ obstacle course for young children
- St George’s day – non-uniform
- Shakespeare day – dress as your favourite character/put on a play for parents
- Spring celebration – Pimms picnic and a maypole over the bank holiday
- Father’s day secret gifts – let children pick a small gift for £2 that’s then wrapped for them to take home for the big day
- Queen’s birthday – red, white and blue bake sale
- Sports day – charge a donation to enter the parent’s race
- Wimbedon – sponsored tennis relay
- Tour de France – use exercise bikes for a sponsored cycle
- Summer fair – this is a big one, and people get busier on summer weekends, so start your advertising early in the year. Let people know how much you have left to raise on your target for the year, and give them regular updates on how close you are. Think about adding a music festival to extend festivities into the evening.
Advertise: Make sure you communicate your event well. Let people know what you’ll be doing, and what you’re fundraising for. Your school is a great cause, and the kids deserve a top-notch learning environment. Your Christmas Fair or annual summer barbeque will help make that happen, so ask the local community to attend, as well as the parents.
Say thanks: Ongoing communication is the key to keeping people involved. Follow up each activity with thanks, and news on what you’re doing with the money raised. Think of it as a child’s thank you note to Granny for a birthday present – it raises a smile, and makes her think more kindly of you next time!
Maximise: don’t forget to sign up to easyfundraising, and share your link to parents. Seasonal fundraising events usually require some purchases – think Christmas decorations and candy floss sticks! All your supplies can be purchased online through easyfundraising, where you’ll get free donations for your school from major retailers.
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