Innovation in fundraising - tips and tricks

Whilst our school's P&C fundraising isn't to the level of a US Presidential Election, it does take a lot of planning, cooperation, resources and innovation to keep things fresh & keep the school audience engaged.

Our P&C has always had a pretty good fundraising calendar, which offers a mix of family-activities as well as social activities. It's really easy to keep doing what you know works, especially when human resources are stretched. But everyone knows, easy isn't always best.

For the past couple of years, the P&C committee has been testing new things, and taking some risks on activities that were unchartered (for our current peeps at least). Ideas have been raised and debated, and then we've essentially backed our team of people to give the new initiatives a red hot shot. And you know what? It's worked. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all smooth sailing - it has taken time and logistics and coordination....but it's been worth it.

Here's a few of the ideas & their impact:

Trivia Night

This is always a winner & can generate upwards of $9k for WPPS.

In 2016, we've reinstated the annual 'art auction' which has been a previous hit at social events. So far the artwork puts Picasso to shame (author has the right to exaggerate!).

The theme is always a hot topic of discussion. This year we put it to a vote - and got the parents to choose the theme. Easy way to get people talking early, and involve everyone in the voting.

Top 5 Tips:

1. Establish your event crew - leverage a team of parent helpers who are keen to help on specific tasks ... the chief organiser, the quizmaster, the marketer, the finance guru, the sponsorship crew. Many hands make light work.

2. Start the marketing & awareness campaign at least 6 weeks out.

3. Sell the tickets online - it makes it easy to track ticket sales, and you can plan pop-up booths to drive awareness in the last couple of weeks.

4. Put posters around the school and try to figure out how to get the kids involved - leverage pester-power!

5. Arrange prizes and sponsorship from the community and local businesses (you'll find the contributions are overwhelming).

Mothers Day Stalls

Kids love buying gifts for their mums on mothers day, and we all love receiving them.

In 2016, a bright parent had a bright idea - pre-sell vouchers for various valued items, to help with stock management and to avoid any disappointment about items that have run-out on sales day. It was a brilliant idea, and went off without a hitch!

Top 5 Tips:

1. Visit trade fairs to get an idea of great products you could put on offer

2. Start the marketing & awareness campaign at least 4 weeks out. Put flyers into school bags, posters around the school + use social media to get the word out.

3. Sell the tickets online - it makes it easy to track ticket sales of each value item.

4. Get your wrapping & sales crew ready - get a team of people to help wrap the gifts of each value.

5. On pick-up day, have a table for each valued item, and have a list of the kids who have purchased various valued items.

Outsource a Comedy Night

Comedy for a Cause approached us with an offer which was too good to refuse. In a nutshell, we supply the venue & sell tickets. They supply world-class comedians that will have everyone in stitches. Low effort event, with high rewards (laughter & revenue!)

Top 5 Tips:

1. Start the marketing & awareness campaign at least 6 weeks out. Flyers in the classrooms, get the kids telling jokes in class and get them to tell their parents etc.

2. Make the event BYO to ensure it's an affordable night for parents (who would likely have to pay for babysitting)

3. Sell the tickets online - it makes it easy to track ticket sales of each value item.

4. Work with local media to get the word out - other non-school people might like to come along too for an easy, local night out.

5. Have a lot of fun!

Easter Bun Drive

Everyone loves fresh hot cross buns. But sometimes in the mayhem of a long weekend, it can be really easy to forget to buy them in time. One of our clever bunnies had an idea to approach Bakers Delight about supplying buns at a reduced rate for us to on-sell to our family community. Guess what - Bakers Delight have an established NFP programme where the P&C can buy them at a reduced rate and sell them at retail rate. It's win-win! Families get their buns delivered fresh, and the school raises funds at the same time.

Top 5 Tips:

1. Start the marketing & awareness campaign at least 4 weeks out. Flyers in school bags, newsletters, social media.

2. Sell the tickets online - it makes it easy to track sales.

3. Make sure you make provision for gluten-free (and other flavours) to accommodate all taste buds.

4. Establish your crew of delivery people (to collect from the store) and school delivery people (to drop them to the kids classes).

5. Heat them up & enjoy fresh buns!

Mobile Coffee Van at school pick up time

The 3pm school pick-up can often need a pick-me-up in the form of coffee. At the start of the school year, we invited a local mobile coffee van to come into the premise and sell coffee and other drinks to new parents who were waiting to pick up their kids. Remember, kindy kids are usually picked up about 30minutes before other there is a bit of dwell time in the playground. Feedback from parents and kids was positive - especially on the hot days when the kids could order an iced chocolate! Overall the campaign didn't take a lot of effort on our part, but there were a few logistical issues with this campaign. It didn't generate a lot of revenue for the school, but I think there's ways we could improve it next time around.

Top 5 Tips:

1. Get approval from the school and any OOSH services - and discuss logistics re positioning of the van on school grounds an entrance/exit plans.

2. Check the vendors ability to offer a fast service, as well as a variety of items. Kids and parents can be impatient!

3. Make sure someone is there to let the vendor in, and escort them off the premises as sometimes this might be after the school officials have left the premise.

4. Use the time to meet new parents, and let them know about the P&C activities. Have P&C fliers ready to share with them.

5. Enjoy the coffee!

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