15 festive fundraisers

Apart from your Christmas fair, what other festive plans does your PTA have for the winter months?

Don’t limit your festive fundraising to the Christmas fair. Your PTA will be jingling all the way to the bank with these tried and tested treats – why not give one or two a go?

1. Breakfast with Santa

This is a great event to run as an alternative to having a grotto at your fair! Hold it on a Saturday morning in December and have one or more sittings, depending on the number of children attending. Decide what food to offer – cereal, muffins, bacon rolls, pancakes – work out your costs, then price tickets accordingly. If Santa will be handing out presents to children, seek sponsors to cover the cost of gifts. Sell refreshments to parents.

2. Christmas shopping night

Give parents the chance to stock up on unique gifts and enjoy a glass of wine with friends, while supporting the school. Invite local sellers of jewellery, handbags, scarves, candles, home accessories, etc. Charge stallholders around £10 per stall and ask for a raffle prize, too. Commercial retailers will need their own insurance – check whether your PTA insurance provider can provide cover for non-commercial traders. Boost profits with a bar and raffle.

3. Family photo day

Organise a photography day early enough for prints and canvases to be ordered in time to give as Christmas gifts. Professional portrait photographers have been known to provide their services for a fee of around £25 (per family) to include a certain number of prints/canvases, so get your negotiating hat on! It’s a great opportunity for photographers to market their services to the families at your school, and your PTA will be providing a convenient solution to the problem of what to buy for grandparents!

4. Bespoke plum puddings

Mouth-wateringly good puds with personalised school labels will make ideal presents for everyone to share at Christmas. Sadly, after 32 years of helping PTAs and schools fundraise with their range of scrumptious festive puddings, Ultimate Plum Pudding has closed its factory and no longer offers a fundraising service. Fear not, though! Family company Freshfield Bakery is offering a fundraising service for schools, with scrumptious sticky toffee pudding being added to their repertoire. Expect to make around £3 profit per pudding. For more information, visit freshfieldbakery.co.uk.

5. Trip to the Christmas markets

Nobody enjoys doing battle for parking spaces in the festive frenzy, which makes a coach trip to the nearest Christmas market (or shopping centre) so attractive! Contact coach companies early to check prices and availability. Aim to make around £3-£5 profit per head, charging around £15-£20 per ticket – a bargain when you weigh up the costs to parents of parking, fuel and stress!

6. Santa dash and reindeer run

A fun way to keep your pupils active during the winter term. Challenge pupils (and staff) to run laps around the school playing field or playground while dressed as Santa or wearing reindeer antlers. Charge a fee per entry to help gauge numbers and include a hat or antlers in the price. Incorporate red or green colour powder from a supplier such as The School Run to brighten up the dark days. A few weeks before the event, provide sponsor forms or an online sponsor page, including an option for Gift Aid declarations. To make it even more exciting, award prizes for the fastest Santas and reindeer in each year group and the best fancy dress. To further boost funds, hold the event after school, encourage supporters to come along, and sell hot drinks to the spectators.

7. Art exhibition

Ask pupils to create a piece of artwork to be framed and displayed in a small exhibition. Invite families along to your ‘gallery’, sell refreshments and encourage parents to buy their child’s framed picture at the end of the night. You can organise this event yourselves, but it can be more cost-effective to use a company such as Images Art, who will professionally frame and display your artwork on custom-designed boards. There is no up-front cost, they simply take a percentage of the sale price per picture.

8. Santa’s secret shop

Start scouring the shelves for bargains as early as possible, aiming to pick up gifts for around £1 each. Alternatively buy a ready-made pack from Your Fundraising Gift Shop where an unwrapped gift costs just £1.66 +VAT or pre-wrapped gifts (with one of each unwrapped for display) cost £2 +VAT. Run your shop during the school day, inviting a class at a time to come and choose presents for parents and siblings – recommending that children bring along £3 per gift that day!

9. Charity bag pack

A busy supermarket offers lots of fundraising potential, which is why December is such a popular time for charity bag packs! Dates are often limited, so contact your local branch early to get a good slot. Have collection buckets at as many till points as you can, using your oldest pupils (they need to be tall enough to pack the bags!) smartly turned out in school uniform. Aim for cash-only tills as people will have change at the ready, and state your goal on your collection buckets, such as ‘raising money for new playground equipment’, as people like to know what cause they’re supporting.

10. Christmas tree sales

Many families buy real trees, so your school (rather than the local garden centre) might as well benefit! Find a wholesaler from whom you can buy trees in bulk – use one that’s part of the British Christmas Tree Grower’s Association. Send a letter to parents outlining what trees you will have available (type, sizes, prices, etc), with a deadline for orders and a collection/delivery date. Place your order with the wholesaler. Have trees delivered to the school on a Friday morning in early December, then either have parents collect or, if you have willing parents with vans, charge an additional fee for home delivery.

11. Christmas crafternoon

Children love getting creative, so let them unleash their artistic talents with a craft session after school, making Christmas gifts. Jam jars can be recycled as tealight holders, decorated with porcelain pens, or small squares of tissue paper. Or bulk buy cheap wooden photo frames and stock up on glue, paint, stick-on jewels, feathers, and glitter. Cheap white bathroom tiles (with a square of felt on the back) can be decorated with porcelain pens to make unique coasters. Check out the PTA+ Pinterest board for Christmas craft ideas. Charge a fee for pupils to take part.

12. It’s panto time!

There are three ways in which your PTA can provide this experience: by gathering a group of willing parents and teachers together to perform your very own panto; by enlisting the services of a travelling theatre company, such as Hurricane Theatre Group, where shows are specifically designed for schools; or by buying tickets to a local theatre production in bulk (at a discount), then selling tickets on to parents for a small profit.

13. Personalised tea towels

There are a number of specialist suppliers providing high-quality tea towels which can be printed with your children’s designs and a border and colour of your choice. Surprisingly, you can fit around 300 pictures on a tea towel. Ask parents and grandparents to pre-order, offering a discount when buying three or more. With prices starting from just £1.30 per towel (ex. VAT), there’s plenty of profit potential for very little effort.

14. Christmas cards

Pupils create artwork to the format specified by your supplier, you then send order forms home, collect payments and distribute orders. Expect to raise between £1-£3 per pack sold. Look for a supplier that scans artwork individually so that the quality is of the highest standard: better artwork equals more orders! The key thing is to organise this early enough for parents to write a message and get cards in the post before international airmail deadlines.

15. Bauble-decorating competition

Send a letter to parents, inviting pupils to enter the competition for £1 per bauble. Once you know numbers, you can purchase shatterproof baubles from a wholesaler and distribute them to participants, giving them two weeks to get creative. Each bauble should have a name tag attached. Get one small tree for each year group, hang the baubles and position somewhere prominent. Ask the Headteacher to judge the best in each year and award a prize for the overall winner. You could even have a category for parents and carers, too! Send baubles home with pupils on the last day of term.