The child of two teachers, I know a thing or two about fundraisers. I was the taste tester for every batch of fairy bread, coloured popcorn, and those weird muffin things filled with what I can only assume was literal melted sugar (seriously, how did that become an Australian staple?).
There are some fundraisers that were tolerable, and some that were so unbearable that it probably left a few scars in my teenage psyche.
Some fundraisers, however, were actually pretty good – they left my parents and their colleagues happy and only minimally stressed, and as well as a day of fun, my friends and I were rewarded with a new cricket pitch or a bathroom upgrade.
There are three that stand out to me as the best across the board.
1. Slave Auction
This is pure, unadulterated fun. When I was in Year 7, my friends and I pooled our cash and bought a senior student dressed like a cow for $150. He wheelbarrowed us to class, did push ups on command, and provided endless entertainment. The best part is, all the teachers need to do the plan the time and hype it up ahead of time – the students will do the rest. To really launch this off the ground, give the “slaves” plenty of time to prepare their costumes (because of course you need costumes).
2. Wacky Dress Day
This was a favorite of my parents because they didn’t have to do anything, and they got to laugh at all the ridiculous costumes of their students. You might lose concentration for a day, but what a day it will be! One gold coin donation should suffice. Alternatives include pyjama day, or just classic mufti.
3. Outdoor Movie Night
This has got to be the easiest and most fun of the fundraisers. Some of my best childhood memories come from these nights: snuggled up in a nest of pillows and blankets; my friends scattered near me, somehow feeling like we were all a little closer than when we walked in; the security of having my parents close by; the excitement of the movie, and all those little things – the popcorn, the darkness, the fairy lights, the glow of the screen – these all left an imprint on my mind. The feeling of community and togetherness as we all laughed and gasped in unison. Walking to the car afterwards, giggling sleepily as you waved to your friends.
It’s the kind of event that brings communities together. Unlike other events, the movie night is unique because it’s focused around families, not just kids – it provides a great opportunity for parents to meet other parents and teachers in an informal setting and be more involved in the school. The right movie will have the whole neighbourhood turn out.
It’s also easy to add to your bottom line without frustrating any frugal parents. A food stand, some sponsors with pre-movie ads, and a VIP section can double or triple your funds.
Find our recommendation for the best outdoor cinema company for school fundraising here.