I need help with fund raising ideas.

So, at the charter high school I teach at, I have become the JV Girls’ Basketball coach. Unfortunately, being a small charter school in a pretty poor area of Phoenix, we don’t have a ton of money. I’m trying to come up with good fund raising ideas that require no parental involvement. Most of our students don’t have good support systems at home, so the parents can’t be relied on to help with this sort of thing.

So far, I’m ordering suckers to sell, but that will only net us $144. We need a couple thousand to get all of the stuff we would like to have for our girls. We already had one car wash, which got us about $400, but those can only happen once in a while. We’re selling food a couple of mornings a week on campus, but it’s low profit for a ton of work by me and the varsity coach. I also set up an online mall portal that gives our team a kickback if people use it. I sent the link to my family and friends, but it will be a couple months before we see anything from that.

So, illustrious Dopers, who has suggestions for fund raising in a low-income urban area?

(Please don’t let this thread be another casualty!)

Could you do McDonalds night?

We’ve done “Eat at ____ for the team!” evenings. Simply talk to the manager at whichever fast food place is close to the school, offer them free promotion and community goodwill for a cut of the till, say 5% from 5-8 pm. The team creates poster for school, flyers for the restaurant and supermarket boards, then the team (in uniform if possible) can stand in front with big “Fundraiser, eat here!” signs on the evening, or bus tables inside even.

The only cost outlay is poster board, and the time you spend getting the manager to agree and promoting it.

If you access to some more affluent folks, you could try a “rent a kid” program. One of our area schools does this–you can basically buy a coupla kids’ labor for a few hours to rake leaves or whatever. They always send them in groups of two (or more) for safety. We “rented” a few kids to help me do a mailing once.

Of course, I think they had someone to work out the potential liability issues–without that, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.

In your shoes I’d be writing to our local NBA franchise seeing if they have a grant program. I mean, you can’t come up with a cause nearer to their hearts. Or write to some of the foundations that the pros keep setting up. What you need is so little (relatively speaking) that I think it’s worth a shot.

It might not bring much in, but since you said it was a low income area, are there kiloware schemes in the US?

If you can collect used stamps, they can be sold to collectors in bulk - it doesn’t raise a lot of money but it wouldn’t cost the donors more than the time to clip them off any letters they recieve and drop them into the school.
UK advisory Kiloware Page

Ask for charity. There are lots of philanthropic organizations that you can Google. You might be surprised how generous people can be.

Bagging groceries at a local supermarket. We net at least $1000 per 8-10 hours, maybe 8-10 kids per 3 hour shift. Works really well on heavily advertised sale days or weekends.

Some of the great fundraisers we did in HS.

We sold t-shirts.

We picked out two different shirts, on light weight and white, the other was a heavier shirt and blue. (school colors)

We then had a design contest. We let students draw designs for the school shirt and we held a vote. The two most popular designs were put on the shirts. The winning designers for free shirts. We then sold the shirts, that had be cleverly market tested, to the rest of the school making about $3 a shirt.
Flowers for Valentines day. White, pink or red carnations with message, delivered on V-Day. Talk to a florist, it won’t be a problem to get a few buckets of flowers the night before, then the team just has to put the notes on and deliver them.

Our basketball team did basketballgrams. Little basketball shaped notes, that were delivered to you by a person from the team. I, of course, got a mean joke note, but that’s another story.

The Dallas Morning News frequently has little squibs about how this or that Eagle Scout became an Eagle by doing things such as cleaning up and improving an old school playground, getting sports equipment, and so on. Why don’t you give the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts a call? Perhaps a group of older Scouts (say, 17 to 19) could run a carnival or other fundraiser. The Scouts don’t have to be in your neighborhood, though it would be nice, just in your city.

Is it possible for you to sponsor a dance? I’m not sure how that works at your school with the various clubs, but the Student Council I advise made 1500 or so. We get the ticket sales and concessions. Does your school allow you to sell concessions for your games? Or is that handled by the Admins? It’s a great money maker if you have the chance.

We’ve sold ‘shout outs’ at lunch for .50, basically read off a student’s name and short message. We can make almost 50 dollars a day with that.

Good luck, I know how much work fund raising at school is and I don’t envy you.

Well, it wasn’t all that long ago (3 years, if you must know) that I was the captain of the debate team at a lower income school, facing a situation similar to your own. Now, I help out as an assistant coach and the financial hardships are that much more obvious.

What works (flat out, every single time):
Sell candy, not lollipops. The lollipops hardly have any kind of markup, so you don’t make much at all. Kids LOVE those damed sour gummy worm things, so if you can get your hands on those, I’d go for that. With a little initial investment, you can make a solid $1000 at least.

Food sales. We would ONLY participate if we could sell either Subway Sandwiches, pizza, or chili dogs. Subway will give you the sandwiches for $1.50 a piece and you can resell them for at least $3 ($5 if you throw in some chips and a soda you get donated from somewhere). Pizza- we’d get entire large pizzas for $4 because we were from a school, then we’d resell it for $1 a slice (12 slices in a pizza). Chili dogs wold cost us 17 cents a piece and we’d resell them for $1.50.

Desperation carwash. This one works amazingly well. Have a car wash in winter- no, seriously. We named ours the “We’re so hard up on money that we’re having a car wash in January” car wash. We did presale tickets for about two weeks and TONS of people bought tickets out of sympathy. Then, the actual day of the car wash, a few people wanted their cars washed, but most just made donations. I think we made about $600 on that.

At my high school we had notes delivered to class with various things such as a daffodil or a lollipop. So we’d pay a $1 and write a note to our friend in so-and-so’s class, 3rd period French or whatever. In the last 10 minutes of each period the students would deliver the notes to the appropriate classrooms. It was a great gimmick.

When I was in school, we did candy sales as a fundraiser and it was very profitable and popular. (I think we got little boxes of M&Ms for $0.25 that we sold for $0.50.) But I think some schools now discourage or ban candy sales, because of nutritional concerns. If that’s not a problem, I’d recommend buying the candy yourself, perhaps from Costco, rather than working through some sort of fundraising company that’s going to take a big cut of the money raised.

And are you familiar with the DonorsChoose.org website? It might be a way to get contributions.

Well, the car wash isn’t so horrible, especially since this is Phoenix :wink: We just had one a couple of weeks ago though, so we want to space them out.

I don’t see many opportunities getting us $1000 quickly: we only have 500 students on our campus during the day! The pizza idea might work, as might Subway. The kids would love Subway. Our campus does not have a cafeteria, so the kids just get their lunch from a roach coach that pulls up at lunch time. Unfortunately, we have to worry about getting robbed blind, which the roach coach does every day.

I also am going to check out the idea of doing a fundraiser night at the local McD’s, as much as I hate to support that chain.

Thanks for all of the suggestions so far!

That’s a fantastic idea. Just tell them your goal. They’ll get it for you.

How about a raffle? If you could get prizes donated ($10 gift certificates, etc) it would be very low cost to run.

It doesn’t have to be McD’s. Around here, Chick-fil-A does the same kind of thing. Do you have one of those?

Upon previewing I see that what I was gonna say has already been said.

Oh, I’m from CA, so it’s about the same here as there. The thing is that even when it’s OMG FREEZING! to everyone, it’s still about 60, which is fine weather for a car wash. That said, everyone will think it is SO cold and will give money heh.

If you can’t count on parental involvement, why not hit up local bakeries for a bake sale? In my high school, we had a local cookie place that would provide cookies at low cost to the school. In exchange, the event would advertise for them on all the flyers that they were cookies from that establishment. They did this each year and a bunch of families learned about a local business they didn’t know about, and the kids made money for their activities.

Is there any way to sell advertising at the games, such as a program or leaflet? An amazing number of local businesses contribute to high school theatre groups and music departments for inclusion in a program.

What about offering to wrap Christmas presents for a set fee or a donation? This could be done at a local mall, even at the school. I bet you could get some paper and supplies donated.

Another idea would be to work with the Drama Club or Band to host a Spaghetti Dinner or Dessert night along with a concert or a production.