How to Have an Easy School Fundraiser with 100 Percent Profit (For Parents)

Are you a PTO member, interested in holding an easy school fundraiser? Would you like to know about a fundraiser that gets kids excited AND lets you keep 100% of all the funds brought in? The PTO parents at the school where I teach have done this, and we call it "Penny Wars." Read on to find out how to host your easy school fundraiser at your child's school.   

Create hype. After getting the green light from the principal for the fundraiser, post signs telling the kids to save their pennies and spare change. Send notices to families about how this easy school fundraiser will work. Give the 3 consecutive dates when the Penny Wars will take place. Tell them that the winners will earn a pizza party.

Give instructions for the point system this easy school fundraiser uses. During the Penny War, each penny collected by a classroom earns 1 point. Each nickel in a classroom bucket is NEGATIVE 5 points. Dimes are negative 10, and so on.  In other words, the kids in my class bring in pennies to put in OUR bucket. They bring "silver" coins (nickels, dimes and quarters) and even dollars to put in the OTHER classrooms' buckets in order to take points away from them.

Set time and safety limits that make sense for your school. This is going to depend on the size and layout of your building. Our school has the young children on the first floor and older children on the second. For safety reasons, the 6 classrooms with older children must stay upstairs; they do not compete with the younger children. For a school of this size, 3 minutes works well. Since the 2 floors compete in this easy school fundraiser separately, each floor has a winner at the end of the 3 days. 

Set out a bucket in front of each room minutes before the start (we do ours first thing in the morning so that money doesn't go missing as the day goes on). Collect the buckets right after the time limit is up for the day. Having several PTO members to collect the buckets works well to keep things fair. Working with a bank for this easy school fundraiser to help count the change helps a lot! This way you can post the totals by the end of the day. 

Keep up the hype leading up to the Penny Wars, and during! The teachers can strategize with the students and even foster problem solving and concepts of negative numbers. Classes will get more savvy the second year when it comes to strategizing for this easy school fundraiser because the numbers may not turn out how you think at the end of day 2...but I don't want to give away ALL our secrets. The surprise it more exciting anyway. I will say though, that in a school of about 250 children, we raised a few thousand dollars last year during those 9 minutes (3 minutes a day for 3 days). I hope it works for your school too. Good luck!

Tips & Warnings
•    Teachers stand in the hallway outside their door to supervise children in their area.
•    Emphasize that children should not run during the three minutes.
•    Avoid having children go up and down stairs, since they're more likely to get excited and trip.
•    Children and teachers are not allowed to physically block their bucket, or verbally intimidate children away from their bucket.

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  1. Thanks for all the ideas, we have been looking for new idea for next years school fundraiser, we have been doing a disco and school play for some many years. I think it time we changed to something a little more exciting.

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