When your child needs to help her student council fund special school events and activities -- such as field trips or dances -- raising money is a must. Before taking the traditional candy bar sales route or going with the same old fundraisers that the school uses year after year, come up with a creative idea that will bring in the cash and keep the student council up and running.
Hold a brainstorming session. Gather together the student council's senior members -- such as the president, vice president and secretary -- and create a list of possible fundraiser ideas. Write down the list on large sheets of poster board to keep visual logs of the selections. Revise the list as the brainstorming session progresses, adding check marks to the ideas that everyone agrees upon and hashing out the ones that nobody favors.
Take the best of the top ideas to the classroom-level representatives. Type and print enough lists to give every member one sheet. Ask for the members' comments and suggestions. Instruct each student council member to write the comments or suggestions at the bottom of or on the back of the list. Collect the lists. Review the suggestions, adding or deleting fundraiser ideas.
Choose an event fundraiser. Hold an after-school or evening activity, such as an arm wrestling competition, community pool beach party, powder puff football game, movie night in the school's auditorium, student-faculty basketball game or other similar event to raise money for the student council's needs. Charge a flat fee for entry or make extra cash by selling concessions -- such as popcorn at movie night -- during the events.
Select one "out of the box" fundraiser each school year or semester. Host a student-led garden tour of your community, a homemade boat regatta in the school's pool or your own creative creation. Charge a registration or entry fee for each event.
Hold sales-based fundraisers. Choose a fundraiser that works for your school's group and the time of the year -- such as selling gift wrap before the winter holidays. Consider using a catalog-based fundraiser, in which the students and their families choose items to buy.
Advertise for the fundraisers on in-school posters, through your school's email blast or in the school newspaper. Add a disclaimer at the bottom of an invitation or email, or put a note on a poster, that tells the students and parents that 100 percent of the profits will go to the school's council.
- ['Poster board', 'Markers']
If you aren't sure if a sales fundraiser is right for your school, ask the organization that provides the products for samples. This will help your student council to decide if the fundraiser includes quality products that the families will buy.
Set specific financial goals for your fundraisers.
Offers prizes or rewards for high sales participants.
Avoid multiple fundraisers at one time, and avoid starting one immediately after another one finishes. Space them out to give students a break between sales.
Take a look around your community to see what other groups are doing to raise funds. This will lessen the chance of an overlap. For example, if the community baseball league is running a candy bar fundraiser, opt for an event instead of a sale.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images