Need some great ideas for quick and easy fundraisers for your PTA / PTO school parent group? This post if definitely for you! I’ve got some great ideas that’ll make it pretty easy to add some money to your group’s bank account without needing too much lead time or time investment.
Sticker and pencil machines
Both of these pencil and sticker selling options are pretty passive options for fundraising. But you’re not going to make a killing on either of these. But in exchange for refilling the machines, you could potentially have a semi-steady stream of income!
One option for a sticker machine is School Spirit Vending. My understanding how this fundraiser works is that you secure placement in the school building and then someone else services the machine (i.e. refills the stickers, etc).
For a pencil machine, how about this one?
You could fill it with all sorts of pencils with fun designs that kids would be happy to pay a quarter for! It doesn’t take up much room and can be added to a table in the front hall or office area.
The pencil machine does require a bit of an upfront cost, but it would be pretty easy to recoup the cost of the machine if awesome pencil designs were offered or maybe even some ever-popular scented pencils were added to the mix!
For both of these machines, choose an area with a lot of traffic for best results and send out reminders to parents that these machines are on site for their convenience.
You could even amp up interest in the machines by loading in exclusive designs or sponsoring a sticker trading day. I’m probably dating myself as a child of the 80s, thinking back to my beloved sticker book that I toted around everywhere with me when I was in third grade. #scratchandsniffstickersforever
Dining for Donations
The dining for donations type of fundraiser is exceptionally easy!
Here’s how it works:
1. Call a restaurant in your area and together choose a night for your fundraiser.
2. Send home a flyer or two, make a post or two on Facebook promoting the event and maybe email parents a reminder.
3. After the event, you either stalk the mail carrier for the check or go into the store and pick up your earnings. Easy-peasy!
There’s no investment of anything other than the coordinator’s time! No incentives are needed either, because food is the incentive!
Everyone needs to eat and Moms will appreciate having a good excuse not to cook!
Need some ideas for restaurants who participate in these types of fundraisers? Here’s a short, totally not all inclusive list to give you some ideas!
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Chuck E Cheese
- Dairy Queen
- Five Guys
- Habit Burger
- Jason’s Deli
- Jersey Mike’s
- Longhorn Steakhouse
- Marco’s Pizza
- Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
- Panda Express
- Texas RoadHouse
Don’t forget to check with local restaurants and pizza places too! I’m sure they’d love to partner with your group!
The key to success with this sort of fundraising is spreading word far and wide to make sure everyone knows about it, so make a flyer to promote your Restaurant Nights.
Not a designer? This Restaurant Night Fundraiser Flyer Template is a great way to let everyone know about your dine to donates and make it into a calendar of sorts families can hand on their fridge or command center!
This is a fundraiser that school staff will likely participate in if they know about it. Since the temptation to grab dinner on the way home from a long day of work is very appealing.
Do you have a local roller rink? It’s a two-fer: a family fun event and fundraiser in one!
Call their events coordinator and get a few skating parties on the schedule for the year. Locally here in Cleveland, the rink of choice is United Skates of America.
This fundraiser is much like the restaurant fundraisers where there is no upfront money investment and the only “cost” is the time of the coordinator. It’s a deal that’s hard to beat! My PTAs typically raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $150- $250 per “party.”
Have a Kalahari, Great Wolf Lodge or other indoor waterpark in the near vicinity? And by near vicinity, I’m talking about within an hour drive or so. You do? Fantastic! Call them and see if you can schedule a few school nights!
These work best when the dates align with a professional development day where students have the day off. It can be a great way to break up the long stretch of time between Winter Break and Spring Break.
Try to snag a date during Winter Break if at all possible, especially after Christmas. We’ve especially had success with Kalahari Nights when parents buy tickets as a present for the holidays!
No Stuff Fundraiser or Check-a-Thon
This type of fundraiser a few years ago because it struck a cord with so many people who wanted to support the school and the parent group, but didn’t want to buy any more junk. So this alternative was floated and PTA/PTOs have had really awesome success with it!
There are several different version of this type of fundraiser, but they work the same. Instead of asking families to buy things, your group will ask for a financial contribution instead.
You’ll need to choose a fundraising platform for this type of fundraiser since you’ll earn way more with an online payment option.
Better World is a gorgeously and intuitively designed way to raise money for your school and is PTO Answer’s recommended fundraising partner.
There’s ready to go fresh, fun and modern fundraising campaigns that take just minutes to set up and is free to use (really!), no matter how much you make, or how many campaigns you run.
The Smithsonian (yes, that Smithsonian), USA Cycling, Make-a-Wish, Boys and Girls Club and 65,000 other groups have all used this system, so it will totally work for your group too.
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Even More Fundraising Help
If your PTO is looking for more specific and detailed fundraising guidance, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Fundraising Success Kit. The resources act as a guide and also give a solid foundation for all Fundraising Chairs to grow with, from how to avoid picking a fundraiser that’ll cost you in the long run and a detailed 6 month fundraiser success timeline.
Over to you!
Adding a few of these quick and easy fundraisers into your PTO Fundraising Plan is a smart strategy for so many reasons! Hope you pick a few to add into your money making rotation.
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