Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Win a Penny Wars Fundraiser Competition With Your Class (For Teachers)


Is your school holding a penny war fundraiser?  Then you know the basics of this easy fundraiser are to get as many pennies into your bucket as possible, and to put nickels, dimes, pennies, and bills into others’ buckets because although they raise money for your cause too, they count for negative points in this competition.  Since the amount of points earned by each class is announced at the end of each day, you will know who’s ahead and who’s behind. It goes by fast since you only have 3 minutes per day for 3 days, but after the first year of doing this fundraiser, classes start to get more competitive and develop strategies.   So if you’d like to raise money for a worthy cause and increase your chance of winning the prize for the most points at the end of the penny wars, read on!
Put some “silver” in all the other class’s buckets, since it counts against them in a penny war fundraiser.  You don’t need much this first day; you just need to do enough to stay competitive.  Do NOT put pennies in your own class bucket today.  The reason for this is you don’t want to be ahead at the end of day 1.  The other classes go after the fundraisers winner on day 2 with a vengeance.  Save all your pennies in a communal jar that you keep hidden in the classroom. 

Knock out the top two classes with silver on day 2.  Tell kids to save half the silver money they plan to donate, however.  Since all the other classes will also go after the winners, you need to be poised to take out the Day 2 winners tomorrow.  Again, don’t put pennies in your own class bucket, because you don’t want to look like you’re coming out ahead.

Go after the new top two classes on day 3 with the rest of the dimes, nickels, and pennies they have brought for the fundraiser. 

Wait until the last 30 seconds, then dump all the pennies the kids have brought into the bucket.  Your competitors will not have time to make an organized, concentrated effort against you if you wait until the last minute.  Due to the competitive nature of many kids, they’ll probably have used up all their “silver” coins in the first 2 minutes, so it will be too late for them to stop you.

Take pride in knowing you’ve raised all that money for a worthy cause.  Whether your school uses the money for supplies, or gives it to charity, it’s a fun competition that gets kids excited about donating, teaches about positive and negative numbers, and fosters problem solving strategies.  Have fun!  

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Photo Credit: 
penny wars fundraiser photo courtesy of r-z

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