Valentine's Day presents some great fundraising opportunities. Whether it's love-struck pupils or loved-up parents, here are a few ideas...
Invite pupils to attend a craft event where they can make gifts for loved ones. Set up the event after school in the school hall, and offer a range of activities. Some of our favourites include card-making, origami flowers, decorating photo frames and icing biscuits. Charge per item, and base the activities around the resources the school has available or items you can collect from parents, such as plastic or cardboard packaging.
We all know how popular bake sales can be, but give this a new twist by offering an anonymous delivery service. Your customer pays £1 for a cupcake and provides details of the intended recipient. They write a message (either signed or left anonymous) to go with their gift. But on delivery of the cake, the recipient is charged £1 to receive the accompanying note! No-one will be able to resist trying to guess who their secret admirer is. If cakes are too time-consuming then how about using packets of Love Hearts or silk rose buds.
Why not organise a fundraising Valentine's auction event? The prizes on offer should be appropriate, such as cinema tickets, restaurant vouchers and romantic weekend getaways. See what local businesses are willing to donate in return for free publicity at the event. There are numerous ways to run an auction – either as an event it its own right, or as part of another. This will largely depend on your skills in securing some top-notch lots!
Wine and dine
It can be expensive to go out around Valentine's Day, so a dinner-dance for parents is sure to be appreciated – it's local, good value and fun. For the pupils, see if you can hijack the lunchroom to transform it into an utterly loved-up haven, with draped table cloths and heart shaped confetti. You might even want to put little pots of flowers onto the tables, depending, of course, on how likely the children are to knock them over! For children in Years 5 and 6, why not hold an after school 'dinner' event, where they can act thoroughly grown up and sophisticated. We're thinking smaller tables, for groups of two, three or four, with dimmed lights, romantically lit with electric candles. Encourage conversation by providing jars with interesting questions, e.g. 'if you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?' or 'if your pet could talk, what would you ask it?' Encourage the children to take it in turns to ask questions and to really listen to their friends' answers. We're sure this will help keep conversations going and at least your PTA will have had fun making up the questions! Charge the children a fee to attend, asking them to pay beforehand to avoid them having to bring cash to the event itself.
Create an anthology of pupils' poems and sell the books as a fundraiser. School staff are sure to help by setting this as a class project, encouraging children to think about love and friendship. Ask the children to provide an illustration to accompany their verse. Visit schoolcalendars.co.uk – costs start at £1.49 per book.
How about a 'race of hearts'? Invest in some plump heart-shaped cushions and set up a relay race with pupils running a set distance (with the cushions between their knees) before passing the baton. The British Heart Foundation has a range of school fundraising events, and if you choose to run one, BHF will provide you with all the resources you need for the day for free, and you can also keep 20% of the funds raised for your school.
Discos and Valentine's Day balls
These are a popular choice, especially for primary schools. Promote your event in plenty of time to allow for the infernal search for the perfect outfit! If you're worried about putting off older pupils, then how about having a masked ball, with prizes for the best home-made creations? Or drop the valentine's theme altogether and have a crazy hair or a 'dress to impress' theme. You could even opt to celebrate Chinese New Year instead.
Remember to sell glow sticks, glitter tattoos or even sweets (or heart-shaped biscuits), but let parents know in advance if children need to bring along some pocket money on the night.
Themed non-uniform days
Non-uniform days are a quick and simple fundraiser. Get pupils to wear red and pink for the day in exchange for £1.
A film afternoon makes the perfect fundraiser for crisp February days. Choose a film with strong themes of love and friendship, e.g. Shrek, but don't choose anything too soppy or you'll scare the boys off! Licence requirements apply, read our film licensing feature.