by Nic Enright-Morin
Once your kid begins school, no matter where they’re going to be educated, you can guarantee that fundraisers will become a staple in your life.
Most schools in BC have a Parents Advisory Council (PAC), which, as well as discussing ideas and issues regarding the school, also plays a big role in raising money for activities and supplies needed to enhance the educational experience.
The reality is, the PAC is a volunteer job, and here in the Lower Mainland, busy parents are already time-poor. As a result, PACs need fundraisers that are fast, fun, and sure to generate much-needed funds for their school.
After speaking with PAC members across the Lower Mainland, and researching school fundraising ideas from around the world, I’ve put together a list of the some of the best ways to raised funds for your school. Whether you’re looking for new ideas, or tried-and-tested ones, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here – not only to raise money for your school, but also to build a community – one fundraiser at a time.
FALL FUNDRAISING IDEAS
Who doesn’t love carving pumpkins during the Halloween season? This is a fun fundraising activity, and a great community event that kids love.
A slice of pie on a crisp fall day? Yum. There are several local pie companies with great fundraisers that will take the hard work out of this one – all you have to do is order the sweet stuff.
WAYS TO RAISE FUNDS IN WINTER
Christmas Craft Fair
Craft fairs are a perennial favourite. At Christmas, some schools host fairs that are just for kids to gather gifts for their family. All you need is an army of Pinterest parents, and you’re good to go! Not able to host an outdoor fair at school? Consider bringing it online!
Related: Read our Back To School issue now!
Kids art work immortalized on a holiday card? Adorable.
There are plenty of places to order cards and artsy keepsakes online. Shop around for the best deal.
FRESH FUNDRAISERS FOR SPRING
Early spring is the best time to buy bulbs. Gardeners will love having easy access to an assortment of bulbs while also giving back to school, and with online ordering available at some garden centres, this one can be easy to execute.
Family Photo Night
Even in our digital age, a good family photo is still coveted. Snag a parent with a good camera to take the snaps, or cut a deal with a local studio.
GET THEM SPENDING IN SUMMER
All that’s needed to host a walkathon are running shoes, and sponsor forms. A great way to show school spirit and get the whole community involved in a healthy and fun outdoor activity while spending time outside and being active.
Find a qualified parent who knows how to move into a cobra from a downward dog, and add some eager parents with yoga mats. Ohm!
LOW INTENSITY FUNDRAISING IDEAS
T-Shirt Design Competition
Nothing shouts school spirit like swanky school apparel! Host a design competition and choose the best one. Then print the winning design on t-shirts and sell them to students.
Planning a bake sale? Check the online guide for recipes that are BC school approved on the Healthy Schools BC website.
Get donations from local businesses and ask around your school community – silent auctions are always fantastic money makers, and easy to execute online, too.
Finally, don’t forget fundraisers such as coupon books, yearbooks, paint nights, as well as money makers that require zero effort, such as ordering groceries online with Spud, or in-store purchases at Cobs bread – both donate partial proceeds to the school of your choice.
Remember that some businesses give out freebies for school events, and that your school community is much more likely to participate in fundraising efforts if they know that the money will go towards some much-needed resources for their children.
Note: this story originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue.