Five School Fundraisers to Try This Year

I have been the PAC President of my daughter’s school for the past three years. In our school bigger events make more of a profit and our smaller individual classroom fundraisers are a bust. On average we spend $11,000 every September on class cash for projects, field trips to assist with bus fees, library books and more. Whether you are a stay at home parent or work full time I highly recommend trying to give a few hours each year to help volunteer. On average each PAC has a few parents, that take on several roles, and can always use help even for just one event or one afternoon to help deliver lunch. PAC Meetings are also a great way to learn about upcoming information from the staff, learn about what your school PAC pays for and to get a say in what events or presentations the school offers.


Paint Nights

I personally think that paint party events held off site vs in a school gymnasium or library would be easier to plan. If hosting at the school you have to factor in whether you can get a staff member to stay for the event which makes for a long work day for them and arrange an additional duty for the school custodian. The potential downside to hosting at a local restaurant or community room would be the additional costs that would take away from the profits.


  • There are a variety of companies that you can have host a paint and sip or paint no sip parties
  • Often venues will give discount on food for fundraisers
  • Great way to meet other parents within the school
  • Way to get “me” time and get a great piece of artwork to keep

Parent Donated Game

Halloween Bazaar

This was a very well attended community event for us. We would purchase and collect décor and decorations after each Halloween to build our stock. The hardest part about this event is finding parent volunteers. We would get our older students to run the games but also had to be prepared for meltdowns, no-shows and over stimulating behavior that would lead us to be short handed. We would keep ticket costs low and seek community donations for our swag Pros:

  • Event where children can play Halloween-themed carnival games in a safe non-scary environment
  • This event takes a lot of prep and set up time which is a great opportunity to meet other parents
  • We do peanut-free cake walk and concession for an additional cost to attendees

Online Auctions

This is one of the most user friendly fundraiser. Who doesn’t love online shopping from the comfort of their own bed?!? The prep involved is just soliciting donations and uploading them to the website. We would use 32auctions site which cost us approximately $100.


  • Most prep is done through emails to local businesses so could be planned by someone without daytime availability.
  • Advertising event is easily done through social media so no additional costs involved.
  • Advise having around 100 items to be profitable and try to stick to a theme (great Christmas gifts, fun Summer activities)

Parent Volunteer

Holiday or Spring Craft Fair

This can be very time intensive in the months leading up to the event. We had a volunteer who was excellent with excel spread sheets and patient with high maintenance requests. It is a great way for parents to get involved as a vendor while supporting their children but also possibly making themselves a profit.


  • Can easily find parents within the school or local vendors through social media groups and stored to use for future years
  • Keep registration fee low with additional charges if electricity is needed.
  • Include a clause where participants have to post on their social media to keep advertising costs low
  • Have participants donate a raffle or silent auction item to be used for an additional feature of fair
  • Concession can be added for additional profits

Hot Lunch

This was the largest and easiest fundraiser we had. This was run by one main organizer and volunteers could drop in and help sort and deliver food to classrooms. We would use an online ordering system so once we decided what vendors to use and coordinate with them, all of the computer prep could be uploaded in one day to create menus. The website we used created classroom lists to make handing out food very simple and also created labels that we could individually identify all the foods for each child.


  • Most parents are happy to purchase and have the break from packing lunch
  • Find affordable vendors and keep mark up profitable but costs low
  • Many easy to use online ordering websites make the ordering process simple for all
  • Find vendors that deliver orders sorted by division to help make it easier for volunteers

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