Wowza! I just realized today that there’s less than a month to go until the end of the school year! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun.
Especially fun this month has been putting the finishing touches on the junior/senior field trip to Orlando, Florida! For the second year in a row, we’re headed down south for a fun-filled week at Disney World and Kennedy Space Center. This year I’m taking a group of 50 students and 5 chaperones and as time gets closer and closer we’re all getting super excited.
Of course, this will be the first time I visit the Happiest Place on Earth while preggo, so no roller coasters for me. Still, I can’t wait to see the students enjoy the park while I eat delicious food and take in some fun sights.
The biggest question I get from most of my educator friends when I tell them about the trip is about money. How are we affording a luxurious charter bus, an entire week at a posh hotel, all meals, Parkhopper passes, educational programs, and the astronaut training program at Kennedy Space Center?
One word: Fundraising. Or two words (fund raising?). Whatever. I retyped this like five times before I gave up on guessing.
Anyway, I thought today I’d share with my favorite rebel crew some fun ways you and your school can raise some money, too. I’ve also included how much money we’ve made in the past, but keep in mind we have a student body of only 300 students. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Teacher Swap: This one is a HUGE hit with the students. Here’s how it works: A big jar decorated with each teacher’s face/name is placed on a table in the front office (or wherever you have space and its convenient for students to use it). For one week, each morning during homeroom (or whenever you designate) students can purchase swap tickets. We use the rolls of regular raffle tickets and we sell one for 50 cents, three for $1, and 20 for $5.
The kids then write the name of one teacher on the ticket, and then draw an arrow and write the name of another teacher. This indicates that they want Teacher #1 to swap places with Teacher #2. For example, maybe they want to put the introverted math teacher in the drama class, or vice versa. We found they usually like to do whatever they can to embarrass teachers.
Finally, students put the ticket in the jar, and at the end of the week staff will tally up the votes and publish the results. One day the following week (usually on a Friday for us), teachers “swap” places for the day and teach the other class. It’s really fun for teachers and students who get to interact with people they might not see every day. We net about $400 on this one.
2. Staff Embarrassment: Examples of this include Pie in the Face, Kiss a Pig, Duct Tape Teacher to the Wall, Teacher Torture, etc. Pie in the Face and Kiss a Pig are exactly what they sound like. Students/staff pay for votes on who they want to see kiss a pig, or who they want to throw a pie at (we use whipped cream in aluminum pie pans).
Our favorite thus far is Duct Tape a Teacher to the Wall, where students pay $1 for each foot of tape. Participating teachers are standing on a chair up against a wall that can hold tape. Kids keep paying for the tape and taping up the teacher until you eventually reach a point where the chair can be removed and the teacher will be stuck to the wall. We net about $200 on this one.
Teacher Torture is a lot like Teacher Swap, only instead of swapping places, students buy tickets to vote for which embarrassing thing various teachers are willing to endure. For example, one teacher who is well-known for his facial hair agreed to shave if he earned the most votes. Another teacher agreed to sing in front of the entire school (her absolute fear).
3. Car Smash: This has the potential to make a lot of money, especially if you have a large student body or if you get community members involved. You must have warm, dry weather for this one (safety first!), so we usually do this in the springtime.
This one works like it sounds. A local scrap metal/junk yard donated a car (for free!) and we found a kind-hearted worker there who agreed to deliver and take away the car when we’re done. The day of the event, we spread a huge tarp in a grassy area and place safety cones around the crash zone. We set up three sections of weapons: $2 easy weapons (eggs, tomatoes, silly string); $4 medium weapons (baseball bat, golf club, hammer); and $6 large weapons (sledge, axe, maul). People stand in line to take a turn at smashing the car (safety gear is provided).
The week leading up to the smash, we raffle off the first hit. People buy tickets and then we pick a random name from the jar the day of the event. We earned about $400 for this last time with one car, but if you add a car or have more people, you could earn much more. For additional money, you can also sell concessions at the event.
4. Penny Wars: For this one, each homeroom classroom gets a milk jug or jar for donations. Pennies are the desired commodity and are the only currency that count positively. Every other silver coin or paper money gets subtracted from your jug, so the key is to create a nice balance of putting pennies in your class container while sabotaging the other class by putting in silver or paper.
We do this for a week, and we average about $300.
5. Silly Games or Contests: This would include stuff like a Hot Wing Eating Contest, Cornhole Tournament or Twister Tournament. This works really well in conjunction with a Field Day, where students might pay a $5 entry fee and then the winner takes half the pot. Brackets are set up for the competition and students cheer others on as they play. You could probably make about $50 or $100 on this after you give up the half to the winner. This would also pair well with Car Smash, which would give people something do to after they are done smashing or in lieu of smashing.
6. Students Serve: Examples include a Flapjack Breakfast, Chicken Lunch, Spaghetti Dinner. In our state, you are required to have a food handling license to make food, so for this one we have to team up with a local restaurant who is willing to do the food making and we just have students serve.
For example, for one of our Florida trip fundraisers this year Applebee’s allowed us to sell tickets for $7 a piece for a pancake breakfast, and all we had to pay the restaurant was $1.89 per ticket plus tax, netting us about $5 per ticket sold. We made a total of $300 on this, but if our students had been more motivated to sell (it was held during a busy time of the year), we could have really made a bunch more.
7. Silent Auction: This one requires some legwork, and good community partnerships. We begged and pleaded with all the local businesses for donations of various items and services, and they really came through. We were able to offer everything from timeshare vacations and college/professional sports tickets to free bowling and ice cream sundaes. The local car dealerships offered car service packages, and retail stores donated many local wares.
This made about $1,000 on its own, but we combined the auction with a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and a school talent show (all in one night), so all said we took home almost $2,500 total. Keep in mind we are in a low-income county and of course we are a small, public school, so I expect you would earn much more if you have a large school or a school in a wealthier district (I’ve heard of schools making $10,000 on events like these).
8. School Talent Show: Like I mentioned, we did this in combination with other events, but this could be done on its own, too. We have an added advantage of having an award-winning drama instructor and a really supportive community theater crowd, so our talent (staff and students) is really stellar and attracted tons of people. We also added some local actors/actresses to the playbill (they were able to offer previews of upcoming musicals), so that helped snag some more attendance as well.
Other (Admittedly Less Inventive) Ways to Make Money
You don’t have to get all crazy with ideas for fundraisers. Sometimes the old, tried-and-true sales work just fine.
1. Food Sales: This includes food like Krispy Kreme, Fruit, Candy, Pizzas and Bake Sales. We sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts last year and made about $200. I know bands and sports teams at other local high schools make much more selling fruit and pizza kits.
2. Stuff Sales: This includes stuff like Thirty-One, Scentsy and Yankee Candle. Depending on the company or hostess, the students earn a certain percentage of what they sell for fundraising.
3. Local Discount Cards/Books: In our area, this fundraiser is super popular with local churches. They get local businesses to agree to offer a certain percentage off, or a certain amount off, or maybe a BOGO offer to cardholders. You print those sponsors and deals on the card, which is good for a year. Cards sell for about $5 each.
4. Social Networks: Sites like FundRazr, Donors Choose and Kickstarter. You have to be socially connected for these to work. I used FundRazr on my Facebook account last year and my friends/family donated about $300 total to the junior/senior trip.
I’m sure you guys have some great ideas, too. Feel free to share in the comments section!