Search This Blog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

School Fund-raising Tips and Contest

Most of you don't know but my first book was a non-fiction book, "Beyond the Bake Sale, the Ultimate School Fund-Raising Book" published in 2003 by St. Martin's Press. (See details at the end of the blog on how you can win a paperback copy of this book.)

This book was a labor of love, culled from 10 years of hard-core, hands-on school fund-raising experience at P.S. 87 in Manhattan. Our school raised $250,000 every year and did it with fun, love and joy for the kids. So though I write about love now in my fiction works, really my first book came from love, too. Love for my children translated into love for their school and that translated into raising money. Through my fund-raising I met many ordinary people who did extraordinary things. 

So on this biggest cyber shopping day of the year, instead of selling you something, I'd like to share five ideas I learned about school fund-raising so you can help raise money for your child's school.

1) Most voting is done in schools. We always had a bake sale on Election Day. Voters bought cupcakes, sandwiches and our biggest seller at Brooklyn Technical High School was bananas! This was an opportunity to raise funds from pockets that didn't belong solely to our parents. At P.S. 87, we raised over $800 on presidential Election Day bake sales. It helps to put up a sign saying what the money will be used for. The kids were out of school and helped to bake and sell. Always have a "donation jar" for people who can't eat what your selling but still wish to contribute. At Brooklyn Tech graduation, one man dropped in a $100 bill!

2) On Friday nights from January through March, we conducted a pizza and a movie night. We charged $5.00 for food and drink - the movie was free - gave each child a piece of pizza and a can of soda or juice and showed a movie in the school auditorium. Parents of children in grade three and higher could drop their kids off and go out to dinner. Parents of younger children had to attend. In that time period, we raised $1,500. and the kids had a fun activity to look forward to with their school friends on Friday night.

3) You will need cooperation from teachers so teacher appreciation is important. On the nights of parent/teacher conferences, at P.S. 87 the PTA board created a pot luck supper for the teachers. At Brooklyn Tech, we catered a dinner for the teachers on conference nights. The teachers appreciated this gesture and were always helpful in our fund-raising efforts.

4) For our street fair, some parents who owned a moving company donated some huge cardboard boxes. A couple of architects who were parents got together bought some duct tape and created a giant maze to crawl through out of the boxes, with holes cut in the tops of some of the boxes so it wouldn't be too dark or airless. This maze was always a big hit at the school fair.

5) We needed the principal's help and cooperation, too, so we put aside money for a principal's discretionary fund.  At P.S. 87 we earmarked $5,000 for the principal. At Brooklyn Tech, a larger but less organized school, it was $800. But this money was key when the principal had a special opportunity he didn't have money for, like bringing an Opera to perform at the elementary school or flying high school students who were finalists for a chess tournament to Arizona to compete.

Giving to your child's school in time and effort can be worth more than money. It helped to enrich my child's school experience and my life with a host of new friends and something worthwhile to do with my spare time.

If you want to win a paperback copy of "Beyond the Bake Sale" leave a comment with your email address. I am not selling this book. Check back again, I will be posting more fundraising ideas from time to time.

The winner of the Now and Forever 2, the Book of Danny contest is Darcy.

If you're curious about my other books, you can check them out at my website.


Lindsay said...

Those are all great ideas. Since I don't have two legged kids only four-legged I'm not entering

Kellie Kamryn said...

These are all such great suggestions! It seems as if you and the other parents really worked hard for the school. Good on ya! Our school parents committee does many of the same things already. Glad we're on the right track!

Patricia Kiyono said...

I think all school parent organizations should make this required reading! Your idea of a bake sale during elections is brilliant. Around here, children still attend on election days, so older students could even help!

Pwnies. said...

It's great to see you engaging the community, over here in the UK the situation is pretty much the same. We have very poor public funding for schools to fulfill the schemes that we want to go through with. I work for a charity that promotes positive fundraising ideas, good luck in your efforts and I hope you can attain all the funding that you want. =)