Free Elementary School Fundraising Catalog

Top 10 Elementary School Fundraisers

When we started compiling a list of our top 10 elementary school fundraising ideas we really didn't think we'd struggle with which fundraisers to include and which to leave off. But after compiling a list any principal or PTA president might use we found that we had not considered all of the possible needs for that grade level.

We wanted to make sure we included plenty of schoolwide programs so that the school administration or parent-teacher groups could choose some for school wide events. But we also wanted some easier ideas for groups wanting to raise a little money now and then over the course of the school year. We believe we've included something for everyone and we present the suggestions in no particular order:

1. Read-a-thons

Read-a-thons are such a natural for elementary schools but so few seem to do them. We're not sure why. But they make so much sense. They simply take a little planning. At the very beginning of the school year get every student to write a list of family, friends and acquaintances and request pledges or donations for each book the student reads that year. Just consider the potential. If you have 600 students in your school and each one gets 10 people to pledge $1 per book each and they read 10 books apiece you will have raised $60,000. Besides the financial gain your program means that your students will collectively read 6,000 books. Think about that! Learn more...

2. Hold a Cookie Dough Fundraiser

There's a reason so many principals and PTA's decide to sell cookie dough. It is simply one of the easiest products to sell to families with young children. So many schools schedule annual cookie dough sales as one of their 2 or 3 main fundraisers. It works because the product is well received, there's no cost to start and you're not comitting to purchase anything until your sale is over and then you order only the tubs you've sold and already been paid for. Here's the cookie dough program we suggest.

Cookie Dough Fundraisers

3. School Carnival

When our kids were in elementary school the biggest fundraiser of the year was the school carnival. The best I recall the school would make more than $25,000 in a single day event. But it worked because their were so many great volunteers and a great game plan followed year after year. There were fun games for the kids. There were concession stands selling family oriented snacks and foods. It was an event attended by virtually every student's families. So if you have a great volunteer base and are willing to work year round on a single day event school carnivals are proven money makers.

4. School Carnival

When our kids were in elementary school the biggest fundraiser of the year was the school carnival. The best I recall the school would make more than $25,000 in a single day event. But it worked because their were so many great volunteers and a great game plan followed year after year. There were fun games for the kids. There were concession stands selling family oriented snacks and foods. It was an event attended by virtually every student's families. So if you have a great volunteer base and are willing to work year round on a single day event school carnivals are proven money makers.

5. Consider Selling Flower Bulbs

Is your school tired of selling desserts or candy but you like the idea of selling a product? Have you considered something earth friendly like flower bulbs? In the last few years people have become more earth conscious. Combine that with the understanding that there are too many obese young people and you come to the conclusion that there has to be another option for fundraising products. Lots of schools have found that flower bulbs are the perfect solution. It's one of the programs that costs nothing to start so it might be worth considering. Learn more...

6. Lollipop Sales

If you're looking for a product that elementary school students will enjoy then lollipops are something to consider. There's tons of different shapes, sizes and flavors. They are very inexpensive. And there should be lots of opportunities to sell lollipops. For example, if your campus allows the sale of lollipops on school property, consider setting up a sales table every Friday afternoon and sell lollipops for the kids to enjoy over the weekend. Do that every week so the parents know to send a couple of dollars to school with their kids. Here's a best seller to consider

7. How About Peanut Free Candy Bars

For years candy fundraising was a no brainer for elementary schools. After all their students and their families provided the perfect demographic for the product. But then two things happened that effect cady sales. The first was the proliferation of peanut allergies. It became dangerous to sell candy bars because of potential allergies. The other was the rising price of candy bars. But then a company named Van Wyk introduced a peanut free candy bar that could still be sold for a dollar each and candy sales have exploded ever since. Learn more...

Candy Fundraisers

8. School Pictures

Just about every school in America has school pictures done every year and the school can make a little money when parents purchase the different packages. Now there's a new discount card type of fundraiser that provides an additional opportunity for your school or PTO to make money with. Sears Portrait Studios offers a discount card your group sells for $10 each. The card holder gets 3 free portraits and includes the sitting fee. The school's cost can be as low as $1 each so you might consider these discount cards in conjunction with school picture days or as stand alone fundraisers.

9. Garage Sale

There's a lot of opportunity to make money by holding a large garage sale. The key is to get as many household items, clothing and other saleable items donated to the school. In fact you should plan on spending as much time promoting the collection of donations as you do on promoting the actual sale. Make sure to request only gently used or new merchandise. If you have lots of junk you cheapen the look and feel of the sale and will ultimately hurt revenue. Try to hold your garage sale either very early in the school year when people are shopping for back to school clothing or just before Christmas weather permitting in your area. Sales at the end of the school year work as well.

10. Find Kid Friendly Novelty Items

We ran across a product called Smencils not too many years ago and have watched as more and more elementary schools discovered how easy they were to sell. Smencils are scented pencils made from recycled newspaper. The paper is soaked in different scents and they are packed in little plastic tubs for freshness. At first the company only offered black graphite but has since introduced a full line of colored Smencils. Kids love them and they are a practical item that makes sense for a school fundraiser. Get more details