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Education

Be True to Your School: Education Fundraising Events

By Lance Trebesch June 15, 2010

All across the country, parents who value education have stepped up for their children. Where funding is cut, PTAs and other concerned groups have begun organizing their own fundraising efforts and selling event tickets to carnivals, dances, fairs, athletic events, and any other gathering for which they see a high level of interest among the student body and a potential for ticket sales.

Yes, it’s sad that federal, state, and local governments can no longer afford the full cost of public schooling for every child in the nation, but empowered parents aren’t dwelling on those deficits. They’re hitting the streets and selling tickets to make up the difference.

Elementary

The youngest children clamor for all kinds of extracurricular activities and don’t need much advance notice to get excited for a fair or carnival. Some organization may have the cash to hire a professional carnival with a midway and rides, but others will find they get the same results with a home-grown event. Ask older kids and teens to work the games and sell treats. You can sell event tickets in advance or at the door, and you can offer different levels of event tickets, offering a certain number of games or snacks with each level of contribution.

Other kid-friendly party events are skating nights (your local rink will work with you to create the perfect fundraiser), book fairs (ask a local author to speak), sports days (organize childrens’ games or work with a local minor league to create a fundraising night), art parties, bicycle races, walk-a-thons, or musical events. Event Tickets for these events will go fast if you advertise properly. Getting popular teachers and parents to act as chaperons is another draw.

Middle School

Older kids, tweens, and younger teens like to do things for themselves, and events for this middle-aged group should be tailored to their new skills. You’ll sell more event tickets if you can organize something that allows them to feel like they’re taking charge of the party. Talent shows are an especially good choice for this age group, as it allows them to showcase their skills in music, acting, and other interests they may be gaining mastery over. Those who don’t wish to perform may be flattered to serve as stage managers or backstage coordinators. Kids will help you create programs, set up the venue, and sell event tickets if they or their friends are performing.

This is also a good age group for day trips. Factor in the cost of transportation, food, and other expenses and calculate how much money you would need to earn to make the trip worth your while as an organizer. A weekend trip to the beach is inexpensive, but generates high interest. Many museums offer free days or student discounts. If you live near a big city, a simple sightseeing bus tour is a huge draw for kids who crave their independence but still need adult supervision. You can sell event tickets to these events well in advance: get a few kids interested and everyone will want a ticket.

High School

As children approach adulthood, they’ll be interested in more grown-up activities. The formal or semi-formal dance is a big deal for teenagers. Especially armed with the knowledge that the profit from every event ticket they buy will go back into their education, most teenagers anticipate such events and plan for them eagerly. Even an informal dance with a DJ or live band will help you sell event tickets and earn more money.

If there is a lot of musical talent in your school, a Battle of the Bands event is another great way to generate interest and sell event tickets. However, most teens aren’t too old for many children’s events. Try to run your own haunted house around Halloween, or hold a field day in the spring with silly events like a sack race or an egg roll. Your best bet is to ask students what kind of events they would prefer.

Teenagers can also take enough interest in their school finances to plan, organize, and execute their own fundraisers: washing cars or selling candy bars to pay for trips and other educational extras. The truly ambitious can learn about business while they earn more money. Some teens will go that extra mile and make baked goods or crafts that they can sell on their own, or in conjunction with other fundraising events.

Ready, Set, Print

Every age group can help you meet your fundraising goals. All you need to do it gauge your students. What event will inspire them to show up? How much can they afford to pay for an event ticket? Once you’ve figured out what, when, where, and how much, you can fill out a free ticket template, print out inexpensive event tickets with colorful designs, and start selling out your educational fundraising event.