Don't forget to sell/fundraise items that are season appropriate and think of things that people will already be purchasing during the time you are fundraising.
Encourage parents to get involved in the fundraising. Start early, about 6 weeks in advance to have enough time.
September or Early Fall
Sell packages of trash bags specially designed for leaves. Many organizations sell the bright yellow, 100% recyclable bags. This is something that many people will buy anyway and would be happy to pay a little more to have them delivered to their house with the money going to a good cause. This is great in an area where people have a lot of leaves to deal with in their yards. Estimated return; sell a roll for $10, buy rolls for $6 online. This fundraiser would also be possible in the spring for yard clean up.
November – Thanksgiving
Think of things that people buy anyway around this time, such as PIES! Many people have to either buy or bake a pie any way for Thanksgiving, and again by selling pies for a fundraiser you are taking something off their hands. One group of students worked with a local wholesale food services grocery to arrange for coupons for pies. The students sold them to friends, family, neighbors, etc and they just had to bring the coupon with them to the grocery and pick up a pie since it was already paid for.
On a slightly smaller scale, or for people who enjoy baking, baking your own pies and other desserts and arranging for pick-up at a central location or dropping them off is another way to make this fundraiser work.
December – Holiday Season
In early to mid December a lot of people are looking for small gifts for people, sometimes things like little stocking stuffers. One group contacted a Take and Bake pizza place (Papa Murphy’s), they bought coupon “books” with coupons for various pizzas for about 50 cents from the pizza place and were able sell them for $5 each. Not every area has such a restaurant, but with a little bit of looking and calling around, a similar restaurant willing to work with you on a fundraiser can probably be found. Check and see which restaurants support community nights with the local schools and other organizations, some chain restaurants participate in community nights.
At an individual level, students can write letters to friends, family members, doctors, dentists, etc, explaining about the program and asking for a small donation to put towards the trip, not asking for a donation of a certain size but in the amount the donor feels comfortable with. Students could ask for a donation rather than a gift from some family members or friends.
February – Super bowl
Many people host parties and watch the game with their friends and families. People will be glad not to have to make or wait for delivery of a pizza on game day. One group made pizzas assembly line style on Friday night and delivered them the same evening. People were happy to buy a pizza from AFS participants, knowing they would probably buy one anyway.
Other options for the Super Bowl would be veggie and dip platters or sandwiches. Think about what foods are commonly eaten at parties.
When it is too cold to go door to door, one option would be to host a Tupperware or other party. Invite the parent’s friends and some neighbors to the party. It is an easy way to do a fundraiser in the winter without having to spend too much time in the cold.
May – Cinco de Mayo
Work with a Mexican restaurant, have coupons to give/sell to friends, family, neighbors, teachers, coaches, etc. for a date near May 5th. The students could then work at the restaurant that evening and would receive a portion of the proceeds from the evening.
May – Mother’s Day
Work with a local nursery to sell ferns, bulbs, or potted plants before Mother’s Day. Again the students could either deliver the gifts a day or two before Mother’s Day or arrange for a pick-up point.
Other Holidays to Consider
- Valentine’s Day
- Saint Patrick’s Day
- Any local event or celebration
And, don't forget to send students to the AFS Fundraising Wiki for ideas on how they can raise money individually!