Guest blogger Michelle Kemper Brownlow: If your neighbors have placed a sign at their front door that reads, "Do NOT ask me to buy anything!" you know you have gone overboard on fundraising for your local PTA, kids' soccer team and after-school programs. And don't you just hate asking the same people twelve times a year to buy something overpriced to support something your child's involved in? Well, I've done some research and found some pretty fun ways to raise money without causing a rift between you and your neighbors ....
Hold a Crafts Show
Local artists and crafters are always looking for a place to sell their wares. The more space for vendors, the better! You can "rent" the table spaces to the crafters, then have each of them donate one item for a raffle. Sell raffle tickets to attendees and raffle off the donated items. If you charge $25 per crafter and bring in oodles of cash from raffle-ticket sales, you will be thrilled with your fundraising results!
Hold a Snow-Day Fundraiser
Put together a shoveling team and plan that on every snow day when school is cancelled, each member will shovel driveways in exchange for a donation toward your fundraising goal. Have forms ready that shoveled-out neighbors can fill in with the date, their address and their donation amount, so they can prove their generosity come tax time.
Do a Team Yard Sale
Hold your event at a venue that gets a lot of traffic. (Walmart parking lots can sometimes be used for fundraising events.) Have students bring gently worn items to sell. Price items individually, by group (i.e., jeans are $5; tops are $2) or go the "pay what you wish" route. Your clean closets = money for your cause!
Have students take over the bagging at a busy grocery store or Super Center for the day. (Participants should wear a team uniform or T-shirts that are all the same color, so they stand out.) Have a large tip jar at each bagging station for customer donations. Their wallets are already open; what's a few more dollars? P.S. This is a great way to teach kids that hard work is the best way to raise money and awareness for a cause.
These are just a few ideas that get you away from following your child door-to-door and/or offering expensive foods or cheap gifts that will just end up on a shelf in your closet. Be creative, have fun ... and happy fundraising!