Archive for the 'Events' Category

Healthy Fundraising Events That are Good for Your Body

Phot by GraceFamily As parents and educators, we are obviously very concerned with the overall health of our children. Although it has become very easy in our society to make unhealthy choices, we are increasingly becoming aware of opportunities to opt for those things that will make us stronger, more fit, and in the long run, happier.

This attention is starting to turn toward our schools. With the vast amount of time that a child spends at school each year, this is a very important front in the battle for a building a healthy lifestyle.

Many schools are addressing the issues of soda and candy vending machines in the schools. And although candy sales have long been a successful form of fundraising, some schools are now looking for ways to integrate their desire for good health into their need to raise money to support vital school functions.

Here are a few ideas of physical activities that combine exercise, fun, and the opportunity to generate lots of income.

Golf and Walk
The golf outing has long been a staple in the fundraising world, used by thousands of non-profit organizations. However, many golf outings have focused solely on the golfer. While these events are great at generating camaraderie among those who participate, the very nature of the activity is exclusionary. If you don’t like to golf, you aren’t going to participate, and that limits the amount of money, as well as community spirit you can drum up.

However, there is a solution. The concept of the Golf & Walk event opens up the beauty of a golf course and the fun that comes from enjoying the great outdoors to everyone who wants to support your organization.

I have worked in the past with Champion Events and was very impressed by their customer service and organizational detail. They have great experience with the Golf & Walk. Here is a snippet from their website about this creative and inclusive event:

The Golf & Walk Event is a new event concept that combines a fundraising golf tournament with a unique “walk-a-thon” at the golf course. Walkers walk nine holes on cart paths at a beautiful golf course. They are kept separate from golfers in complete safety. Everyone finishes together at the end for an awards celebration.

All participants raise donations prior to the event. The Golf & Walk Event is planned on a 12-week timeline and mobilizes everyone in your network to raise money for you, not just those 15% of adults who can play golf. Because its foundation is “relational” fundraising in its most effective form, the Golf & Walk Event is currently producing the highest dollar results of the standard Big 3 fundraising events (banquets, auctions, traditional golf tournaments). continue reading

34 Basket Auction Ideas

A couple of years ago, I wrote an e-book called the School Carnival Money Making Guide. It’s 186 pages long and gives all sort of practical advice on how to earn more money for your school at your school carnival.

Here is an excerpt from the book about how to run a basket auction. If you enjoy it, check out the entire book at

Basket Auction

Another great way to make a significant sum of money at your carnival is to add in the element of a basket auction. This strategy of bundling together a group of related items into a beautifully wrapped package has become very popular at silent auctions. So, it’s easy to transfer the idea over to your carnival without too much difficulty.

Here are some very important things to consider when deciding to add a basket auction to your carnival:

You must let the people who will be attending the carnival know, well ahead of time, that you will be having a basket auction in addition to your carnival, since bidding on these items can easily stretch beyond what most people would plan on spending at the carnival alone. You want to make sure that people bring their check books or credit cards to access larger amounts than they might have in their purses or wallets.

You can do this by prominently proclaiming this on the fliers and other printed notifications that go home about the carnival. You could even go as far as to name your event “The ____________ School Carnival & Basket Auction”. It’s kind of hard to miss it then!

Since you will have to solicit the items that you place in the baskets, you will need to put a team together to do this. This is an involved process that requires the right amount of confidence, congeniality, tact, gumption, creativity, and drive from the people in charge. If the average basket has six items in it, and you decide you want to auction off 20 baskets, that’s 120 items your team will have to procure. That can take significant time and effort, but the reward could be well worth it.

Do not forget to properly record each item that is donated, as well as send a thank-you/recognition letter to the donor.

Click here to enroll in Jim Berigan’s FREE year-long school fundraising e-Course!

If your school has a separate auction at a different time of year, I don’t think it would hurt to have a small basket auction add-on to your carnival. However, you want to be careful not to over-burden your business supporters by going to them too many times per year. You may decide to use certain businesses for the carnival basket auction and different businesses for your regular silent/live auction event and not cross the two lists.

Overall, a basket auction will add to the excitement of the event and raise some extra dollars. If your school doesn’t have an auction though, this is a chance to really dip into that “auction” revenue pool.

You will have to make a decision as to whether the baskets will be sold in a silent auction, a live auction, or a combination of both. Since there will be so much else going on however, I’d recommend going with a silent auction format.

Other things to consider with a basket auction:

• To generate excitement for your Basket Auction, take attractive photos of the baskets once they are put together and put them on your school’s website and/or Facebook page. This is the best way for parent to find out what will be available.

• As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, the basket auction will benefit greatly from the use of an emcee. He/she can also serve as the auctioneer and really stir up the interest and the bidding in the baskets.

• You should have a goal in mind for what each basket will sell for. If you see that prices are not going in that direction, use the emcee to fire up the bidders.

Here are some suggestions for basket themes and contents.

1. New York Times Best-seller Basket

A selection of two or three top selling books from the NYT bestseller list, gift certificate to book store, reading lamp…

2. Arts & Crafts Basket
Paint, markers, crayons, scissors, easel, construction paper, craft kits… continue reading

Would You Like to Make More Money at Your Next School Carnival?

The following is information about an e-book written by Jim Berigan, the Top School Fundraisers primary blogger.  The owner of this site, FastTrack Fundraising, does receive an affiliate commission on each book sold through this site.

Would You Like to Make More Money at Your Next School Carnival?

Did you know that some people (school administrators & parent-teacher group leaders) don’t see the carnival as a real money making machine? (I couldn’t believe it, but it’s true!)

Did you know that many schools regularly leave hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the table each time they hold a carnival?

Did you know that from the minute a family walks into your school carnival, everything they see and experience must be tweaked tomaximize profit? Are you doing this?

Do you know how to respond to the mom who says “$15 to play some silly little games is ridiculous! Why can’t I just buy individual tickets? Come on, son, we’re going home.” (This is an actual quote I came across in an anti-school carnival blog post.)

The planning of a school carnival is absolutely filled with critical questions, just like these.

If you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to make as much money as possible for your school, you must be armed with knowledge and conviction. The conviction will come from your own heart. The knowledge, however, you can get from our

School Carnival Money Making Guide*This is an e-book, not a printed product.

School Carnival Money Making Guide

With 186 pages, this e-book is laid out in easy-to-read and easy to cross-reference chapters, you will find dozens of tips and strategieson the following topics:

  • The philosophy behind holding a school carnival
  • Planning
  • Marketing
  • How to monetize the event
  • Volunteers
  • Prizes
  • Games & Activities continue reading

Chocolate Fundraiser is Out, Beer & Wine Fundraiser is In!

Back in March of this year, I wrote a blog post here that talked about the dangers of including alcohol for adults at a school fundraiser. I wrote that alcohol can add an unpredictable element to your event, which could possibly spoil what you and your team worked so hard to create.

It’s not that I’m against alcohol in any way personally, it’s just that some people get carried away with drinking, and these few individuals can ruin the event for the rest of the audience. That can negatively impact your school’s reputation as a fundraising entity and make your job much harder.

As evidence, I included in my blog an excerpt from a news article that reported on a school auction that included alcohol sales, and some parents got drunk and started to swear loudly at each other, and they came to blows.

Today, however, I came across an article in the Times & Transcript online paper from New Brunswick, Canada, that highlights a local elementary school that has decided to hold an Oktoberfest Beer Garden fundraiser just for parents. No children would be allowed to attend.

According to the article, the planners of this event have done everything by the book. For example,

…the (Home & School) association has moved very cautiously to plan a positive, adults-only event. The fire inspector has been in to certify appropriate maximum numbers for such an event, the event is being limited to four hours, the special event liquor license limits the number of drinks that can be served, taxicabs and volunteer designated drivers will be available, and the event is scheduled to start more than six hours after the last student group, a basketball team, leaves the school that Saturday.

There has been some resistance to this idea, however. One parent thinks that the event should have been scheduled at an area tavern, instead of in the school building itself.

The organizers of the event did look into that possibility, but there would have been a financial price to pay for renting the facility, as well as other costs that would be avoided by holding it at the school. One organizer was quoted as saying, “that they looked at hosting it off-site, but the use of the gymnasium instead of a rented space will allow the event to pay for itself and be a fundraiser.” continue reading

School Halloween Carnival Game Ideas

Would you like to learn more about school carnivals?  Check out Jim Berigan’s “School Carnival Money Making Guide!  It’s 186 pages of advice, suggestions, and ideas that will help your school make the money it needs!

When planning a school Halloween carnival it’s important to include lots of fun games for the kids to play. Playing games, competitions and winning prizes make the event so much fun for the students.

Many times each grade or class will have their own game booth. The game idea that your group picks should be age appropriate. There are a wide variety of game ideas that are good for each age level.

There are some games that students will expect to see each year, such as the bean bag toss. Be sure to include the most popular games that your school carnival had last year. Students also like to find something new and different. So finding a few unique, fun Halloween carnival games will bring some new excitement to your event.

Traditional Games

Just about every carnival should include the traditional, tried and true games that everyone enjoys. Some of these are kids games and others can be for older siblings and adults.

Dunking Booth – Who can resist dunking their teacher, classmate or school principal. You just need to prepare for the logistics of hosting the booth, making sure it works properly and is safe. If you don’t want to build one, check with local rental companies.

Duck pond – This is great for toddlers to grade 1. Fill a galvanized tub with water and colorful plastic ducks. Each duck has a number on the bottom that corresponds to a prize with that same number. The child picks up a duck from the pond and the person working the booth awards the prize. Easy and fun for little ones.

Darts – You cannot have a carnival without the traditional balloon dart game!

High Tech Games

Why not incorporate technology into your Halloween carnival?

Wii games – Have a Wii set up to play one of the sports like bowling. Have a time limit!

Wii tournament – Even better have a Wii tournament.  Each player signs up for a time slot ahead of time, paying an entry fee.  Players come back to play one another in the tournament rounds to determine who the best player is.

Guitar Hero or Garage Band – These are other very popular games that kids enjoy.

Jeopardy – This long standing TV show is available as an interactive game.  Classroom Jeopardy is customizable with your own questions or you can just use one of the Jeopardy software programs for your game system.

Click here to enroll in Jim Berigan’s FREE year-long school fundraising e-Course!

Big Event Games

Draw a crowd — plus media attention and publicity ahead of time — with an unusual game.

Super-sized board games – Take your regular, old fashioned board game and make it BIG.  How about putting together lots of Twister sheets for the “world’s largest Twister game?”  One group found success with a life size checkers game.

Sports tournaments – Hold a tournament at the same location of your school Halloween carnival.  Great for teens who are “too old” for kiddie games and costumes.  You could have several age brackets to make it fair.  Start filling up the entry level brackets and times before the day of the carnival so people know when to be there.

Inflatables – There’s so much more to inflatables than just a simple bounce house!  Now there are activities like obstacle courses, bungee competitions, and slides.  Check with your local party rental place to see what’s available near you.

More Game Ideas

Here are several great websites that have more ideas to help you create fun carnival games:

A to Z Carnival Game List – Long list of many popular carnival games & variations

Muscular Dystrophy Association Carnival Game Ideas – Carnivals are held for MDA fundraisers. They offer some ideas that may be good for your Halloween carnival too.

Carnival Savers – Has a lot of ideas for Halloween carnivals – fast & easy games, build it yourself game booths, popular foods, petting zoos and other fun activities

These school Halloween game ideas should get you started on the right path. With some creativity you can probably come up with many other activities that your kids will love!   Is there an unusual game that’s worked for your school in the past?  Let us know in the comment box below: