I am a first time PTO board president for the coming school year. A flyer was sent home at the end of the year telling parents to mark their calendars for the Open House for 2004-2005 school year. On the flyer is stated that the PTO would be serving refreshments as well as having door prizes.
Okay, here is my question... does anyone know what I could use for door prizes? Also, what we might serve for refreshments? There was nothing handed down to me from previous years to help out with this so I am at a loss. The old president suggested that I might use (2) five gallon containers of punch and popcorn. Any other inexpensive ideas??? They also left us with virtually no funds to start the year off with. Thanks!
We usually do punch with cookies, although last year our theme was PIE(parent Involvement in Education) so we ordered pies from our local super market. they gave us a great price. The problem we have had with popcorn is the mess so we save it for our Fall Fest. We have also done apples, cupcakes, pretzels, crackers or trail mix. We have never done door prizes, we have our PTO table with info and a bookfair at the same time. we usually get the best turnout district wide!!
We either get cookies donated from a cookie factory or buy them at the local Save-A-Lot, we rent a soda fountian, we usually do not have door prizes at Open House but we do for everything else. You could get candles, bath stuff, resturaunt certifs, but I am sure school supplies would be popular for parents and students. You could probably get those donated too.
Our McDonald's will donate drinks/cups. They call it a fountain, but it's a 10/20 gallon cooler filled with orangeade. But it's free for the asking. We usually request that they not add the water so it's not so heavy to carry and add the water when we get it to the school.We have a popcorn machine, so it only costs about $5 total to make tons of it. Another option is to talk to a movie theatre manager--we've had huge bags of popcorn donated. If you're feeling like the extra work, you can get a box of disposable gloves at the dollar store and fill them with the popcorn. We put a piece of candycorn in each fingertip of the glove before adding the popcorn and twisttie the top shut. Kids love 'em.
Door prizes. One time we printed coupons on business card blanks that gave the bearer $5 credit at the school store. Since we got REAL bargains on most of the supplies, that $5 only cost us $1 or $2. We also had school spirit shirts that we sold for $5 that only cost us a couple of dollars, so we had a few of those up for grabs. Do you have any parents who have a home business such as Mary Kay, Tupperware,Home Interiors etc.? Ask if they'd donate one thing to use for a prize. Our board members are bargain shoppers so we can usually go into our "stash" of things we've picked up along the way that can be donated. Sometimes we pool what we have into a large goodie bag/basket.
Definitely go talk to local restaurant owners/managers. Most would be happy to give you a gift certificate or two.Some places may require 30 days advance notice and/or a school letterhead request, so ask the principal for a letter which you make copies of and carry it with you when you go ANYwhere. You may not get something for this event, but you'll be set for the next. We are always on the look out for things to be donated and we've learned that it never hurts to ask--the worst that can happen is that you get a no, but it's been our experience that most are more than willing to help in some way.
During our year-end Ice Cream Social last year, we solicited local businesses for donations (and created a nice brochure with advertising space to contributors) and were able to get more than $5,000 worth of gift certificates/products for our raffle. I would think that if you solicited some of the local businesses (especially restaraunts), you could easily get a handful of $10-25 gift certificates that you could use as door prizes. I would suggest that when seeking these solicitations tht you offer up some sort of recognition for the donators...whether it be their logo placed on the materials handed out...or signage near the meeting room that recognizes the local businesses that support your school. We've found that when we try to give them some PR/Advertising in lieu of their contribution, that our success rate is quite a bit higher. Good Luck!
Our PTA request that our fund raising company set up booth nighhts that we have have open house so that parents can see what we selling. I also ask if there is any way that they can make a donation of items and we use those for door prizes at our kinder coffe or meet and greet.