School fundraising in Canada used to be something done occasionally to fund an outing or special event. However, for many cash-strapped schools, ongoing fundraising has become a necessity. Without it, they are unable to offer additional music, drama, and sports programs that are so important.
In this article, we look at school fundraising options for Canadian schools and provide a list of profitable fundraising ideas.
How is school fundraising in Canada done?
Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) do the majority of school fundraising in Canada. PACs are forums that keep parents informed and give them a say in their children’s education. But, over time, cuts in funding have increased the demand for PACs to fundraise. It is now seen by many as one of their primary roles.
School fundraising can be done through product sales, hosting fundraising events, offering services, and sponsorship. School events involving the students, parents, and surrounding community are a favourite for school fundraising in Canada.
Fortunately, fundraising has kept up with the times, and online fundraising activities or events allow schools to reach a larger audience. Today, many Canadian schools are even hosting virtual fundraisers during COVID-19 to buy laptops and items necessary for distance learning.
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Canadian School Fundraising Ideas
When looking for fundraising ideas, you need to remember, every school is different. Consider your school’s location, fundraising requirements, and the time and hands available when choosing the best fundraising idea for your school.
Here are a few unique and profitable fundraising ideas for Canadian schools and PACs to consider.
Hold a Charity Auction
Successful charity auctions are popular school fundraising events that can take a couple of forms.
Adult-Only Live Auctions
This semi-formal event has an element of glamour that is appealing to parents. Instead of seeing friends at the morning drop-off, get done up and have fun in style! To host an auction, you need to approach local companies to donate items for the auction, such as dinners, theatre tickets, spa visits and other services. You can charge an admission fee on the night and, if allowed by school rules, provide a cash bar.
An online auction is similar to a live auction but relies on an online auction platform and takes place entirely online. Participants can browse items online and then place bids and outbid others. Online auctions are a great way to fundraise especially when an in-person event is not possible during COVID.
Organize a Community Craft Fair
This event not only helps raise funds for the school but also assists the wider community of local artists and craftspeople. Have the PAC committee publicize the event and sell tables to craftspeople at a set fee. On the big day, parents set up the tables for the crafters and can also have food and beverage stalls at the event to raise additional income. The crafters keep the proceeds of their sales, and the school the proceeds from the table sales.
Hold a Games Night and Charity Raffle
This fun event is held at the school and involves the entire family. Parents plan the games and get prizes donated for the fundraising raffle, older children volunteer at the games booths and sell raffle tickets. Younger children and those not volunteering participate and enjoy the evening. The school raises funds by charging admission to the games and selling raffle tickets and refreshments.
Raffles can be done online or in addition to any school event and are a fantastic way to raise additional funds.
Sell Candy and Treats
A ten-dollar bucket of frozen cookie dough is an easy sell, and the school makes 30 percent of the sales, making this a popular fundraiser. What about chocolate bars or popcorn? Traditionally, Canadian fundraising companies provide the order forms, and parents and students take orders on the forms. The school then sends a master order to the fundraising company. When delivered, purchasers pick up the cookie dough at the school or the kids deliver the goods. With product sales, there are endless options to choose from, allowing you to find something popular in your community.
Today’s product sales are online. Who wants to go door to door selling when you can easily send a link via email or social media? DoJiggy’s online stores make it easy to sell products for your school. Students and classrooms can even have their own peer to peer fundraising pages to track sales.
Host a Coin Drive
This fun fundraising idea is a week-long event that builds class spirit. It is easy to do as most people don’t mind parting with loose change. On Monday, kids bring pennies to school; Tuesday, nickels; Wednesday, dimes; Thursday, quarters; and Friday, anything goes. The top-earning class gets a group prize like a pizza party or ice cream sundaes and extra recess time.
Host a Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Shoe drive fundraising is becoming one of the most popular fundraising options for schools. They are a simple and effective fundraising method and an excellent way to engage your community. Children quickly grow out of their shoes, and many parents are happy to donate shoes in good condition.
With the help of a shoe drive facilitator, your school collects slightly worn, used, and new shoes. The shoe drive facilitator will often provide the needed materials and collect the donated shoes in exchange for a cash donation.
Hold a Pledge-Athon Fundraiser
Pledge fundraisers involve students getting sponsorship to complete units of a particular activity. With this type of fundraiser, you collect the funds once the event is complete.
For example, sponsors who pay for every lap a student completes within the allowed time limit at a school walk-a-thon. Pledge fundraisers are fun and engaging, and you can get creative. Some favorite pledge fundraisers for schools are Fun Runs, dance-a-thons, read-a-thons and spell-a-thons.
Organize a Scratch Card Fundraiser
This fundraising idea is fun for the whole community and helps a school reach its fundraising goals fast. Students ask friends, family, and community members to scratch two circles off their fundraising scratch card. Under each circle, there is a small donation amount from $0.50 to $3.00. Once the person has scratched off their circles, they donate the revealed amount.
A student’s completed scratch card raises $100. The school purchases the scratch cards from a scratch card fundraising company for a much lower amount. Scratch card fundraisers return an average profit of 90 percent for schools.
Have a Dress Code Vacation Day
This fun fundraiser is very popular with students who enjoy the change in routine. On the special day, they bring a dollar to school and can wear whatever they want. You can also have themed Dress code vacation days such as pajama day, crazy-hair day or pop star day. Some schools host a school spirit week where students can dress up every day for a $1 donation to the school.
Pick an idea that is suitable for your school and community and remember to have fun whilst fundraising for your school!