Two School Fundraising Success Stories

How do you make sure your child's school fundraiser is both a fun experience and a financial success? We asked parents to weigh in with their tips from the fundraising trenches

Two School Fundraising Success Storiesannual bazaar

An anticipated community event

St. Matthew’s Elementary School in St. John’s, Nfld., holds a couple of fundraising events during the year, but the one it’s best known for is its annual Morning Coffee and Bazaar.

What: The morning features the aforementioned coffee and sweets plus a bazaar with games for all ages, raffles and more. “Because our main fundraiser is an event, an experience, the community looks forward to coming out,” says Sarah Colborne-Penney, chair of the school council. “Everyone comes, from the politicians and the school board trustees to the parents, children and local business owners.”

How much was raised: Over $13,000. The money went to the school’s new playground, the focus of a three-year fundraising drive. “Sadly,” says Colborne-Penney, “our next goal is security cameras because our school is constantly being targeted by vandalism. It’s not glamorous, but the parents are behind us because we just made such an investment of time, money and effort to build the playground that now we want to protect it and the school.

Tip: “Involve the community and focus on something tangible, something physical, so you can see the results of your efforts,” says Colborne-Penney.

Fitness Fun-a-thon

A healthy approach to raising dollars

For the last five years, the major fundraising event at Stella Maris Catholic Elementary School in Amherstburg, Ont., has been a fitness fun-a-thon.

What: Participating students collect pledges to take part in the daylong event that includes activities such as soccer, baseball, badminton, basketball and dancing.

How much was raised: $6,700. “It’s quite a lucrative fundraiser,” says Barb Maitre, president of the Catholic School Advisory Council, “and it’s so much easier than the kids going door to door and going up to strangers.”
Plus, says Maitre, “I think in general people are trying to get a little more health-conscious.” The money raised went to items like sports equipment and subsidizing field trips.

Tip: “Try to space out fundraising initiatives so that you’re not always asking for something,” says Maitre. “Look at your calendar throughout the month. If the school is doing an event that is going to cost a little bit, you don’t want to do an event that same month.” That may also mean scheduling fundraisers away from traditionally busy times at the school such as the beginning of the year or during provincial assessment testing.

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