How to Plan and Organize a School Fundraiser

By June 12, 2015Resources
School Fundraiser Carnival

Every year, at schools around the country, parents and teachers ask themselves: What’s the best way to raise money for the school this year?

It’s an increasingly important question as local school districts tighten their belts. Money from fundraisers is often key to keeping certain programs running or with helping teachers properly stock supplies in their classrooms.

One of the most efficient ways to raise money for a school is also one that has been around for a long time: holding a school carnival. Carnivals have been around so long because of a proven track record in raising money for whoever holds the event – particularly one with a built-in, supportive customer base, like a school.

Holding a carnival at or near the same time every year, such as a spring carnival, also helps to make the event more successful as parents begin to see the event as part of the annual school calendar.

But what about the particulars of holding a school carnival? The prevalence of companies that sell party games, rides and inflatables makes planning a carnival easier than ever.

School Fundraiser: Basic Carnival Considerations

School Fundraiser CarnivalHere are a few of the areas you’ll need to make decisions on before moving forward with your carnival fundraiser.

Location. This is your first decision and maybe the most important. Where you hold the fundraiser can dictate what type of fundraiser you can hold and the size and number of attractions.

Raising money. There are many different ways to go about making money for your fundraiser, including using tickets for just about everything (see below). However, there are other methods, such as:

  • Creating and selling carnival-related merchandise, such as T-shirts.
  • Selling baked goods – a carnival classic that always turns a profit.
  • Auctioning off donated items. Try to put together “date night” packages with restaurant coupons, for example, or sports packages with tickets to a game.

Using Carnival Tickets

One popular method at a school fundraiser carnival is to do what your local county fair does – sell tickets that can be turned in to purchase food, play games and enter rides and other attractions.

The simplicity of this method is that the fundraiser gets its money upfront. Most parents will likely buy tickets in blocks of $20 increments, whether they use them all or not. Simple math shows that, typically, a fundraiser will earn more money by selling tickets up front than by charging customers at each point of sale.

This also cuts down on the number of cash stations you need set up at the carnival. Depending on the side of the carnival, there will likely just be one tent – set up in easily accessible area – where cash purchases are made to buy tickets.

Carnival Games and Attractions

Providing carnival games is a staple for this type of fundraiser, just liked what you’d pay on the midway at the state fair. These days, with the prevalence of good party rental companies, you have a larger number of choices than ever.

Here are a few examples, starting with ones for the little kids. The key here is to make it something fun but also something they can win.

  • Face-painting booth
  • Decorating booths
  • Water balloon toss
  • Horseshoe or ring toss
  • Hit the cans with a ball
  • Bounce house

Carnival Entertainment for Older Kids and Adults

Here’s where the inflatable party rentals really come into play and can elevate a fundraiser. These are going to be the attractions that people remember. There are too many choices to list, but here are a few possibilities.

  • Jousting arena
  • Bumper cars
  • Rock-climbing wall
  • Water slides
  • Obstacle course
  • Mechanical bull ride
  • Mobile zip line

Other School Fundraiser Considerations

To make things run more smoothly. It’s best to delegate each major section of the carnival to a different person. Also, remember to plan your big event during a time that’s not known for bad weather and also when it’s not up against another big event that will draw away your core audience.

Using any or all of the above can create a fundraiser that not only will prove profitable but also fun to the people who attend!

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