6 Super and Effortless School Fundraisers

6 Super and Effortless School Fundraisers

Forget that bake sale! All busy moms will love these easy fundraising ideas.


By Heather Chaet

I hate bake sales. There, I said it. They drive me nuts. I admit, part of it is because I’m a horrible baker (yes, I’m woefully lacking in culinary skills in general), but I know super-baker moms who also feel the same way. With their daily planners filled out down to the minute, many moms cringe as if someone scratched fingernails on a chalkboard when bake sales or wrapping paper drives or any other time-consuming fundraiser pops up.

To help all of us (because who isn’t busy these days?), I searched around for some fundraisers that don’t take up a lot of time or effort. They’re simple to participate in, as well as easy-peasy for those hardworking volunteers in the PTA to kick off and manage. Check out some of these beyond-the-bake-sale fundraising ideas that even the most time-crunched, harried, hasn’t-showered-in-days mom won’t mind.

1. Hold a Save-a-Meal Day
This is a pretty cool idea. Have parents sign up to pick one meal during the week that they would normally eat out – maybe coffee and a bagel after school drop-off, or lunch during the workday, or dinner out with the family – and donate the amount that they would have spent on that meal to the school. Think about it – instead of the $5 sandwich you usually pick up at noon, bring a PB&J from home and eat that instead. If 100 parents do that, that’s $500 raised without having to do anything!

2. Host a Change-a-Thon
Who doesn’t have piles of loose change lying around? Right, no one. Kick off a competition to see who can collect the most change for a set amount of time, say two weeks or a month. You could do it by grades or classes. The winning class or grade gets a pizza picnic or ice cream social. So simple for any mom to help her kids participate.

3. Run a Dollar Drive
Again, forget the selling or the schlepping. Simply ask each family in your school to donate a dollar. Say your school has 1,000 families. If everyone participates, that’s a whoppin’ $1,000! And could it be any easier? Methinks not!

4. Create a Downloadable School Cookbook
Put out a call to parents (and faculty members) for their favorite recipes. To be a part of it, all anyone needs to do is cut and paste his or her favorite recipe into an email and hit “send.” The organizers can create a simple PDF cookbook that folks can purchase for $5. Easy to be a part of and easy to organize!

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5. Run a Raffle
The raffle. It’s an oldie but a goodie. The key here is asking local businesses to donate items so all of the proceeds go directly to your school. Think big prizes, like a new smartphone or a tablet, maybe a tower of cool board games, or even a large-value gift card to a popular restaurant. Sell raffle tickets for $1 or three for $5 for a week. Then, simply pull a ticket out, announce the winners, and – bam! – you’ve raised some moolah with very little effort or demand on parents.

6. Plan a Breakfast and Books Read-a-Thon
One weekend morning, invite families to come to school with their favorite books and munch on bagels and pastries and read. With a minimal charge of $5 or $10 per family, you can raise money for your school and celebrate the joy of diving into a good book.

What are some easy fundraisers you’ve participated in?


Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at heatherchaet.com, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

Image ©iStock.com/Catherine Lane


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