Coming up with some fun and inventive fundraising ideas is harder than it sounds, and that’s why we are here to help. It’s so easy to get caught up in doing the same things over and over, leaving enthusiasm and collection totals below where they ought to be. We think you deserve to reach your full fundraising potential so here is our handy list of ideas to get you started. From September to July – be it sun, rain or snow – Bonfire Night, to Christmas, to Easter and beyond; here are plenty of great ideas to see you through the school year.
The calendar of ideas
Back to school – September and October
You know your children will be asking for a whole host of new kit – pencil cases, bags, shoes. Put back to school kits together and sell them yourself. Advertise them through the parent network and make them available through the Reception before school starts. Link your product with your target – every back to school pencil case kit will raise £5 towards the school building fund.
Why not run evening get fit classes and charge for them? Max out on the feeling of being at the beginning of something. Aspirations will be high – it’s a new school year, new opportunities.
Do a deal with your uniform provider. For every few jumpers sold, ask if they could donate the profit on one to the school’s fundraising target. Think about how you can make it worth it for them and they might be more interested in talking to you, could you match their marketing emails and encourage parents to buy by the deadline. Easy2name run a really good fundraising scheme. They produce all kinds of name labels for school uniform, equipment and more. You’ll earn commission based on the number of orders, and they send you a fundraising pack to make it super easy.
If you’ve been proactive, you could have asked last year’s leavers to donate any unwanted items of school uniform. At the beginning of the new school year you could then hold a second hand uniform sale. Parents will really love this as they can save some money while doing good for the school and recycling clothing that’s no longer needed!
Things get festive – November, December and Christmas
Bonfire night. Put on an event; a light or firework show. Charge for tickets, sell hot drinks, add some merchandise like glowsticks and sparklers. If you’re thinking of selling alcohol, you’ll need to keep it legal – check the PTA+ website for some really helpful info. Catherine Fitzmaurice, part of Mummy’s Gin Fund, says her school’s firework show is a fantastic earner – we agree.
While the weather’s cold and the evenings are dark, it’s best to do something indoors that won’t be ruined by our much-loved British weather. A mobile disco or karaoke for the parents should go down a treat. If you are doing events like these for the parents, get the most social, persuasive person at the helm and you’ll see a good turnout and great support.
Make money through your Christmas play. Ideally take your time planning this and get a committee on it. Advertise the event online and locally. Get good quality posters made – we like the Charity Print Shop – or get a talented parent involved and blag some cheap/free local printing. Plan to sell everything from interval treats and post show goodies, to pictures of the cast or something that could be bought as a Christmas present for Grandma.
Pick a star of the show, perhaps they’ll be external as – while people like to see their children perform and that’s a big pull – a bit of professionalism might pull more than just parents from the local community. Go all out – consider this your one big event of the autumn/winter term and focus your efforts on reaching that target.
Donation statistics show that we Brits are ready to be philanthropic at this time of year so it’s no surprise that Christmas is a big opportunity for many schools – fairs, balls, parties – monetise them to make the most of the festive feelings! Many people see this time of year as a good moment to donate, so if you have a target for the year – now’s the time to talk about it!
Artificial mobile ice rinks suit the season and are sure to take any winter fair fundraiser to the next level. Available in various sizes, charging the kids a small fee to have a skate should see you turn a good profit.
Fresh starts – January and February
Have some new year’s resolution inspired sponsored challenges. Why not convince the teachers to do a dry January? Push it further and ask parents to get involved and donate the money they would have spent on alcohol to the school. Alcohol Concern have a really great impact calculator to inspire you.
A January Jumble sale – get all that unwanted Christmas clutter out of the way and make a small profit for the school. You could arrange a ‘swap shop’ – get people to bring in unwanted Christmas gifts and trade them with each other for a small donation.
It’s Popcorn day on the 19th January! Sell bags, salty or sweet, at a school movie night while the nights are cold. You can undercut the local cinema; the kids will love it!
Let’s not give up on giving up yet, since Lent begins in February. This time target the kids. Can you challenge a class to go 40 days screen free? Parents will certainly support you with that and will be falling over themselves to donate. You could impose a 20p penalty for every time those digital natives trip up!
Valentine’s Day. Ask the kids to design cards and sell them, sell roses in the playground, host a dinner in the canteen in partnership with a local pop up kitchen, go Pinterest crazy. Don’t lose site of your messaging and target. Maybe print a photo of your dilapidated playground, ‘someone’s not feeling the love, help us raise £2k this Valentines. Roses for sale after school’.
When the weather’s not so great, you want to be thinking about holding events that are indoors, or under cover at the very least. Touring productions such as Happy’s Circus promise fun by the bucket-load in the protection of a big top.
Pancake Day also falls during February. You could get the parents making pancakes en-masse and selling them to pupils and teachers! Think of all cheap-to-purchase extras you could charge for, such as marshmallows and strawberries.
Spring springs – March to May
March is mid-way through the term, and the kids will be just back from a week off. You’re halfway through your year, so how is your target looking? It might be the time to pounce for fundraisers to keep you on track. From the Chelsea Flower show to the London Marathon – max out on March’s cultural events and host your own versions closer to home.
Easter – sell Easter eggs. Sound too simple? Jazz it up if you can – why not try an Easter Egg decorating competition? Get the Head Teacher to dress up as the Easter Bunny, offering a lucky dip for £2; or you could host a competition featuring healthy alternatives to Easter treats. You could really run with this, get a local vegan business in to run a healthy treats session for parents – ask if they’ll do it for free but charge £10 to attend.
Have any of your parents got a spot in the London Marathon? Why not see if they will fundraise for you? Start putting feelers out for this as soon as possible.
It’s end of year review and bonus season. If you are seasoned at the game of fundraising and you’re good at getting some big earners involved, why not sound them out for a bigger donation when their bonus comes in?
Step into Summer – June and July
With the weather improving, outdoor activities are much more viable as options. Why not hire fete games and run a summer fair? Invite the whole community – pupils, parents and neighbours alike. Think about how you could increase earnings. Ticketing is an obvious answer, but you could go one further. Pair it up with a raffle of donated prizes, let the kids pay to sponge a teacher (with the better weather, said teacher might not mind so much!), sell food and drink.
With the school year coming to a close, your Year 6 leavers pose a great opportunity for fundraising. Is there a way you could make money from the leavers ball? Perhaps you make some memory and message books and sell them to the leavers. Get a professional photographer in to take some great and inventive photos of the students, then frame them nicely and sell to parents – they’ll love it!
With a much better chance of a sunny day, why not plan a school barbecue? You could run it after school, so that parents arriving to pick up their kids would almost certainly get involved and stop by for a burger. You could make loads of money by selling cheap-to-purchase extras. Could you get huge packs of juice cartons and sell them for several times their cost?
Summer is a great time to throw a food festival. There should be plenty of local vendors and businesses up for getting involved, or parents who fancy having a go at making their own fare. While the stallholders will make their own profits, you could ask for a donation from them, charge for tickets (it helps if you offer something with these, such as a snack or glass of bubbly on arrival) or hold a raffle. Perhaps the raffle prizes could be vouchers donated by the businesses and stall holders involved?
Over the summer holidays, the pupils are bound to have plenty of time on their hands. Why not send them off with a charity challenge? It’ll help keep them occupied and gives them a goal to focus on while away from the classroom.
The months of June and July are primetime for major sporting events. What’s happening this year? Are the Olympics on, the Football World Cup, the Euros? Capitalise on them by holding screenings, where you could sell tickets, food and drink. Could you follow it with your own mini-tournament in their image? Why not invite everyone from the local community to enter and compete for prizes?
Year-round ideas and easy earners
Of course, not all fundraising has to be in the swing of the season. There’s plenty of easy earners to keep your fundraising calendar maxed out no matter the time of year.
Run raffles and lotteries
Raffles and lotteries are speedy money-makers and are super easy to pull off. You can either ask people to donate prizes, or purchase some yourself. If you do invest in the prizes, you want something that’s going to draw people to enter without costing an arm and a leg, as this will eat into the earnings. If you need some help getting your hands on affordable prizes, try In Kind Direct who receive and collect donated goods from companies across the UK.
Your School Lottery is a really handy website that allows parents to sign up to weekly draws, paying as little as £1 each time for the chance to win a whole pot of cash. If you can get loads of parents in on this, it could be a great little earner.
Sarah Smith says that, at her school, they’re able to get local businesses to sponsor and pay for really big grand prizes – such as iPads and iPods. As a result, ‘people went nuts for it!’ and a ton of tickets were sold. Why not get ambitious with your raffle prizes too?
Make and sell personalised products
People simply love personalised products, particularly for their kids. Getting mugs, calendars, tea towels and bags printed with school logos, names and photographs is really easy, and could be very affordable indeed if you order in bulk. You might even have a go at doing it yourself if you’re creatively minded. DigiPrint Graphics run some fantastic personalised-product fundraising schemes, and will do most of the work for you.
Earn pocket money
Many children will get a few pounds a week from their parents, and will be delighted to have something fun or delicious to spend it on. By running Friday treats, you’ll raise money every single week while keeping the kids happy. You could have hot chocolates in winter and ice lollies in summer. Why not add an element of surprise with a 50p lucky dip to end the week? Amy Louise says her school manages to get lollies in bulk for very little money – but they’re so popular they always sell out!
You could also throw cheap, easy-to-manage events for the pupils on a regular basis. Why not have a film night or games evening once a month, and charge the children a couple of pounds to join in?
Kids also love to share, compare and trade collectables. Why not regularly sell badges and stickers that they can buy with their own loose change?
Dawn McClure says her school’s annual disco is the highlight of the pupils’ year and raises lots of funds in the process. Why not take it the extra mile and arrange for a candy floss stall, a popcorn machine or a soda fountain? That way the kids can bring along some loose change and spend it on treats while you maximise the fundraising. Candy-buffets.co.uk are a great option for anyone wanting to hire these.
Non-uniform days are a real easy earner, and tend to get the pupils excited. Ask each pupil for a £1 donation. If you want to take it to the next level, turn it into a fancy dress competition! For those who wish to enter, ask for a few pounds and reward the winner with a prize. Perhaps you could even sell craft sets and fabrics donated by local businesses in the run up to the day, so that the children can make their costumes.
Recycling is a fantastic way of making some money and doing good for the world around us, teaching children valuable life lessons in the process.
Rags 2 Riches for Schools collect old and unwanted clothing and turn it into cash for your school. For every kilo of clothing they receive, you’ll get 50p in return.
There’s also plenty of money to be made in recycling stamps. Stamp recycling schemes can pay up to £20 for a kilogram of stamps, which should be an easy goal to hit if you get most of the kids and their parents on board. Why not set a competition to see which child can bring in the most?
Helping people to recycle common but hard-to-dispose-of household items can become a real money spinner. Examples include micro-scooters and printer ink cartridges. You could set up collection points in the school grounds.
Boost the curriculum
If only there were a way to teach and wow the school’s pupils while raising money for it all the while? Turns out there is. There’s a whole host of one-off educational workshops that you could arrange. The best bit is that they’ll take care of all the hard stuff on the day, so you just have to make the booking and sell the tickets!
Wild Science workshops bring all manner of exciting animals into school, fascinating and inspiring children along the way. From hedgehogs and hamsters to pythons and giant African snails, by charging a fee for the experience you could make a tidy sum to reinvest in the school.
Why not get the children exercising and learning a new skill with a dance workshop? Dance Days teach styles from every corner of the globe in schools. Why not pair this up with a themed day or evening, where kids can sample international food and have a go at moving their feet?
Did you know you could raise money for charity just by shopping? Schemes like easyfundraising collect free donations every time you spend. When you join and register your cause, we’ll collect commission from our 3,276 shops and sites – at absolutely no extra cost to you.
We’re all spending a lot of time on our smartphones, and no doubt you pay for a mobile phone network provider. When you switch to The People’s Operator, they donate 10% of your monthly spend to a good cause each month. Why not see how many parents you can get signed up?
Okay, so you might think it’s been done to death – but you really can’t go wrong with a good cake sale. With GBBO filling our screens, baking’s all the rage. Aside from this though, there’s no reason you can’t cook and sell all manner of things.
From breakfast to lunches and dinners, people love to sample delicious and exciting food. See what unusual ideas you can conjure up for food-based fundraising.
Rather than the typical drab buns and cookies, why not get a competition going – and ask for the most creative of entries? In a school community, you’re likely to get tons of entries from parents, pupils and teachers alike.
Barbara Elliot says that instead of charging the standard 20p or 50p for a bun or slice of cake, they simply ask people to pay what they think the treats are worth. This might sound counter-intuitive; you could end up giving stuff away for free or for pennies, but in her experience this method raised much more! Those who truly appreciated the goods paid £1, £2, even £3.
We all know what the buns, cakes and treats that usually turn up look like. Of course they’re delicious, but it’s not always much to get excited about. Why not supercharge your cake sale? Ideas like these on Pinterest will have people wowed and throwing money at you to try a bite! Get a local cake maker involved, and have them put an amazing cake together to set an example.
Get the teachers involved
Any teacher wants to see their school thrive and their pupils succeed. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the school staff in on the action – it’s for a good cause after all.
Host a teachers vs teachers – or even teachers vs pupils – sports event. Great examples of this include a rounders match, a game of volleyball or a table tennis tournament. Why not get parents to enter a sweepstake, with prizes for those who back the winner?
Why not get a teacher to partake in an extreme sport? There’s sure to be one who fancies doing something new and once-in-a-lifetime – you could even be the person to do it! Skydiving can be expensive to arrange but is a sure-fire way to bring in money.
Entertain the parents
While there’s no doubt everyone loves to come to school events set up to entertain their children, sometimes the mums and dads will want some fun of their own! Depending where you live; theatre, comedy and spectacle might be few and far between. If that’s the case – make your school the star of the show!
Everyone loves a quiz night. See if you can get a parent or teacher to host the event for free. Then ask for small donations for entry, and get a local business to donate a prize. If you can pull this off – the only cost involved will be printing the quiz sheets! You could make even more money from selling food and drink in the school hall. You might even want to make the event super competitive to catch parents’ eye! Which class has the brainiest mums and dads?
We all love a laugh, but how often do you get to a comedy show? Bring a laughter spectacular to your community. Maria Higgard says her school recently did this and raised over £3000! You’d be surprised how easy it can be to book a couple of local comedians, and sites like Stand Up Comedy Nights are a great place to start. Offset the costs and raise funds through ticket fees, and then double up on your fundraising by selling food, drinks and treats on the night.
Vicki Storey says her school host regular film nights. It can be difficult to get people off their sofa’s and away from their TV streaming services in today’s world – so think how you could make this event unique. Why not run a ‘Secret Cinema’ style event? Decorate the school hall to suit the movie and ask attendees to dress up! Serve themed food and drink and hire entertainers. If you include all of this in the ticket price and offer a real experience, you could be charging up to £30-40 a ticket.
We love Barbara Elliot’s grown-up pick-a-bag idea. She gets parents to donate prizes such as bottles of fizz, and gets local businesses to gift vouchers. She then randomly sorts the prizes into hundreds of paper bags, and asks parents to pay £5 to buy one. The excitement of the draw sees these sell out, with some really fab prizes being awarded. If everything included in the bags is donated, selling 300 or so could make lots of money indeed.
Every parent loves a bit of style and sophistication! Why not host a cheese and wine evening? If you can find a local cheesemonger or winery, they might offer you discounts in return for promoting their produce. They might even want to come along to the event to talk to the guests about what they do!
It doesn’t have to be cheese and wine, either! Is there a piemaker’s nearby? Or a specialist deli? Think about what your area or region produces and run with it!
Get the whole community talking
Occasions that get the whole community talking are great ways to draw attention to your cause, and could boost involvement in future events. Think of something really attention-grabbing; something that gets coverage in the local paper and will be shared on Facebook.
Why not try to break a world record? This is sure to garner loads of publicity. When you’ve come up with an idea for a new record – or have found one you think you can beat – get in touch with Guinness World Records online. If they like your idea, they’ll send one of their officials to observe your record break, and you’ll get a certificate to proudly display in the school hall when you succeed.
Online challenges are all the rage. Recently, the ice-bucket challenge and the no-makeup selfie have taken off, with participants posting a photo or video of them completing the task and either asking for donations or donating themselves. These aren’t huge money makers, but they’re quick and easy to do – and if you take part at the height of the challenge’s online popularity – you’ll get tons of likes, comments and shares. Keep an eye out for these when they emerge.
Whichever of these fantastic ideas you choose to run with, it’s important to remember that it isn’t so much about what you do as how you do it. Refer to our eight steps to success and make sure you’re getting the most out of every cake sale, raffle and summer fair. Most importantly of all, it’s about having the confidence to get it done and get it done well. When you use this as your guide, you’ll have the know-how and gusto to succeed at primary school fundraising.