12 top Christmas fundraising ideas for PTAs

Natalie Keeler reveals the best fundraisers for PTAs in the run up to Christmas

Christmas puddings

Easy to sell and totally delicious, Christmas and sponge puddings are a tried-and-tested PTA money maker. Suppliers such as Freshfield Bakery offer products in a range of sizes and flavours – from traditional Christmas pudding to luscious lemon and sumptuous sticky toffee. Puddings can be labelled with a design of your choice too, be it the PTA logo or a pupil’s drawing. Order in bulk and sell them online for collection, in the school’s reception area, and at any PTA Christmas events you’re hosting.

Christmas cards

Nothing beats having a line of cute handmade cards along the mantelpiece. Christmas card projects offer learning benefits for pupils too – and just think of the boost their self-esteem will get when they see their artwork being admired by friends and family! You’re looking at a six-week turnaround to get the cards created, printed and delivered, plus you’ll need to source a supplierIQ Cards, Cauliflower Cards and Xmas4Schools are all popular choices. Once you’ve signed up, send order forms home with pupils to create their artwork (or arrange for this to be done during school time), and ask parents to decide how many cards they would like to order. Depending on the supplier, the designs will then need to be sent free of charge by courier or post, or uploaded online. 

Jolly jars

Ask children to fill a clean, empty jar – it doesn’t matter whether it’s a coffee jar, mason jar or jam jar – with sweets, small toys and other treats, then decorate it however they like. Keep a few empty jars to hand in case any families need them, and request that children bring their jar in towards the end of term. Once you’ve collected them all, send each pupil home with a different jar filled with surprise festive goodies.

Bauble competition

Send letters home to parents, encouraging children to enter for £1 per bauble. Once you have an idea of numbers, buy shatter-proof baubles from a wholesaler and distribute to those taking part, making sure each bauble has a name tag attached to it. Give pupils around two weeks to get creative, and purchase one tree per year group to hang the baubles on. Ask the headteacher to judge the best bauble in each year and award prizes to all of the winners. Don’t forget to send the baubles home with pupils on the last day of term, too!

Recipe books

Although popular at any time of year, recipe books work particularly well at Christmas, as parents can gift copies to grandparents and other relatives (as well as purchase their own). They’re also a great way to get kids actively involved in cooking, as they can help with picking a recipe and try their classmates’ favourite dishes. There are lots of suppliers to choose from, most of which offer a form you can download and send to parents. For some, you’ll need to collect the recipes and submit them yourself, while others allow families to directly upload their recipes online. You could even pick a theme (such as festive recipes), and divide dishes into starters, mains and desserts. Ask parents to include images too, or get pupils to contribute their own colourful illustrations.

Personalised tea towels

This humble fundraiser is a PTA favourite for a good reason – aside from being easy to organise, it also offers tons of fundraising potential, with prices starting from just £1.30 per towel (ex VAT). There are several suppliers that can print pupils’ designs offering a border and colour of your choice. And as most allow for around 300 pictures per towel, it means all the pupils can get involved. Ask families to pre-order, offering a discount when you buy three or more.

Shopping affiliate

With most of us now doing our gift-buying online, affiliate schemes are an absolute must in the build-up to Christmas. Register for free with an affiliate and other schemes such as  MyParentPass, Give As You Live or The Giving Machine, and ask parents to do their shopping through the website or app. Your PTA then earns commission – typically 3-4% – at no cost to the parent or the PTA. Both platforms work with thousands of well-known UK retailers, which means families shouldn’t have to compromise on where they do their present-purchasing either. Look into cashback schemes with other retailers too – try Amazon, Next, John Lewis and Tesco. Make sure you spread the word in newsletters and social media, then wait for the money to start rolling in!

Christmas Eve boxes

A festive package is typically given to children the night before the big day, with the hope that it encourages them to go to bed (and not stay awake all night listening out for Santa). Start by sourcing cardboard shoe boxes or recyclable paper bags, then decorate with Christmas patterns. Inside, you could include books, hot chocolate, a letter from Santa, and some eco-friendly reindeer food for them to leave out for Rudolph. Distribute to pupils at the end of term, charging a small amount that still makes money for the PTA.

Christmas jumper sale

We love a Christmas jumper (the uglier, the better in our opinion), and we all know how quickly kids outgrow their clothes. So why not arrange a collection of everyone’s Christmas jumpers from last year? Wash and photograph, then list them all online for families to browse, asking for payments via your PTA’s usual online system. Ask parents to donate adult-sized festive sweaters too. If you can organise your sale in time for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day (usually two weeks before Christmas), even better!

Virtual balloon race

Mark the arrival of the festive season with a friendly bit of competition! Ecoracing offers virtual balloon races using geographical positions and real-weather data, which means you get all the fun of a regular balloon race without harming the environment or local wildlife. Ask supporters to buy a balloon, which they can decorate and alter as many times as they like prior to launch. Once they leave the starting line, Ecoracing simulates which flight path your virtual balloon is taking. Charge £2-3 per balloon, awarding prizes to the winner and runner-up.

Christmas quiz sheet

Everyone can take part in this low-effort idea. Write out a list of quiz questions – such as cryptic clues, general knowledge, anagrams and riddles – and distribute to families on the playground, charging £1-2 to take part. Source prizes from local businesses or ask for donations, then ask parents to return their sheets after one or two weeks. Whoever answers the most questions correctly is the winner.

School calendars

As the year draws to a close, it stands to reason that calendars have the biggest fundraising potential at this time of year. Start by reaching out to local businesses to sell advertising space at the bottom of each page, offering a spot that’s relevant to their services, for example, a florist in February for Valentine’s Day. Fill the calendar with class photos or drawings from pupils, compiling a list of key dates (inset days, term times and upcoming PTA events) that parents will find useful. Finally, send order forms out to families and sell for £5-10 each.

Advent calendar raffle

Advent calendars have upped their game in recent years – with many now containing miniature bottles of alcohol, beauty products and kids’ toys. Purchase your raffle prizes or ask for donations, selling tickets for 50p-£2 each depending on the value of your calendar. Stream the draw live on social media or via Zoom, and use a random number generator to pick the winner, ensuring the draw date allows time to deliver the prize ready for 1st December. To organise an online raffle, you’ll also need to have a society lottery licence issued by the Gambling Commission or a registration issued by a local authority. Read our guide to online raffles for advice.