Fundraising Ideas and Profiles Archive

We know raising funds is a big part of what your parent group does; you'll find tons of fundraising ideas and stories about successful parent groups in the articles below. Find more helpful tools and info on the Fundraising resources page. (For articles about PTO fundraiser planning, see the Fundraising Strategies & Planning archive.)

  • 20 Ideas for Theme Baskets - Take a creative approach to your next basket raffle or silent auction.
  • How To Do a Cake Walk - A rundown of the basic steps needed to organize and execute a successful cake walk at your next PTO event.
  • Stage a Successful Talent Show - Stories of talent shows that sparkled, and tips for holding a great one at your school.
  • Dog Social Brings Community Together - A PTO in Iowa builds a successful community event around canines and benefits local animal shelters.
  • What Kids Learn From Fundraising - Product fundraisers often help pay for enrichment opportunities at school, but students who are involved in sales can also benefit from more direct lessons.
  • Sausage Supper Becomes a Delicious Tradition - This communitywide event has been bringing together generations of volunteers for more than 30 years.
  • Pierogi Palooza - Raising funds and building community, one dumpling at a time.
  • 12 Creative PTO Fundraisers - These fun and offbeat fundraising ideas won't always raise a barrel of cash, but they will raise community spirit and get people talking about your group.
  • How To Run a PTO Garage Sale - Valuable step-by-step tips and advice for a smooth, profitable PTO or PTA garage sale.
  • Managing Your Scrip Program - If you haven’t tried scrip yet, it can add an extra dimension to your fundraising. But it also requires some extra financial controls and a well-organized system to administer it.
  • Green Fundraising Ideas for PTOs - Eco-friendly fundraisers let parent groups help their schools and the planet at the same time.
  • The Amazing PTO Hay Maze - It sounded like a crazy idea—but a few months and 2,000 bales of hay later, one Texas PTO had a unique and profitable fundraising event that has since become a community tradition.
  • Food Sales OK Under New S.C. Bill - A bill to restrict junk food in South Carolina schools, including food sold by clubs and parent groups, has been revised to allow groups to continue to sell items like candy bars and cookie dough through fundraisers.
  • Varsity Gold Shuts Down - Varsity Gold Inc., a national company best known for its discount card fundraisers, in March filed for liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix.
  • How PTOs Are Going Green - There are many ways to make your group more environmentally conscious. It starts with a critical review of day-to-day operations.
  • Summer Crafts Fest Brings Community Together - A two-day “Christmas in July” street fair brings together more than 20,000 attendees.
  • Online Dues Payments Never Reached PTAs - The Greenwich (Conn.) PTA Council has joined other school and athletic groups from across the country in seeking funds due from Count Me In, a Bellevue, Wash.-based company that collects online registrations and donations for nonprofits.
  • Casino Night Newbies Ace It - A first-time, Vegas-themed event brought out hundreds to play cards and trade their chips for prizes.
  • Casino Nights: Fun and Games, Not Gambling - Tips for success, top ways to increase profits, and guidelines to make sure your group's next casino night fundraiser plays by the rules.
  • Box Tops Champs Share Collection Tricks - How one group collected more than 88,000 box tops, using the earnings to purchase teacher and classroom supplies.
  • Labels and Box Tops: Collect More When Kids Compete - Tips for success, top ways to increase profits, and timesaving tips to make the most of your group’s collection efforts.
  • Magazines: Focus on Renewals, Discount Prices - Tips for success, dos and don'ts, and top ways to increase profits for your next magazine subscription fundraiser.
  • Auctions: Make Them Fun and Festive - Tips for success, frequently asked questions, and top ways to increase profits for your next school auction event.
  • Cookie Dough: Sell the Fresh-Baked Smell - Tips for success, dos and don'ts, and easy ways to increase profits for your next fundraiser selling cookie dough and other frozen foods and perishables.
  • Catalog Sales: Profitable, Easy To Run - Tips for success, dos and don'ts, and easy ways to increase profits for your next catalog fundraiser.
  • How Has the Economy Affected Your Group? - A sampling of responses from PTO Today’s fall 2008 survey of 1,100 parent groups.
  • How PTOs Are Adapting to Hard Economic Times - PTOs everywhere are bracing for lower fundraising returns and tighter budgets at school and at home. We talked to parent group leaders about how they're getting through it.
  • Working With a Local Education Foundation - Local education foundations help communities build large-scale support for schools. Here’s a look at the ABCs of LEFs and how they mesh with parent groups.
  • The Buzz: Election Day - For many parent groups, public elections provide an opportunity to gain visibility in the community and raise money while doing so.
  • Community Service: Knitting for a Cause - PTO Today’s 2008 Outstanding Community Service Project turned a fundraiser into a heartwarming event: Students knitted hats in all sizes for patients at the local children’s hospital, then delivered them personally.
  • Family Event: Fun and Eco-games - PTO Today’s 2008 Outstanding Family Event was a green festival that combined learning and fun, included a large number of parent volunteers, and helped strengthen the connection between the middle school and home.
  • Economy Affects Auctions - In tough economic times, nonprofit auction planners need to start early and be creative, according to a survey by an online auction company.
  • Do Recycling Fundraisers Still Work? - Used cell phones and printer cartridges aren't as profitable as they used to be, but there's money to be made by smart PTOs.
  • Bake Sales Step by Step - A bake sale can raise money for your group as well as enhance your profile in the community. These ideas and planning tips will help you have a great one, start to finish.
  • PTO Wins With Tournament - Teams of students compete in a basketball tournament that has become a rallying point for the entire middle school.
  • Secondhand Support - A few parent groups find that running their own thrift stores can bring in steady and substantial income.
  • PTO Thrift Shop Success - Selling gently used toys and clothing has resulted in a steady stream of profits for one town’s popular thrift shop—and all of it goes to the PTOs.
  • Organizing a Fun Run - Done right, a jogathon can build school spirit while also earning some big bucks.
  • Principals Do the Darndest Things - Crazy principal antics to encourage student involvement in a PTO fundraiser just might get your school featured in the local newspaper.
  • Reward Assembly Stirs Debate - A fundraising assembly featuring dogs doing tricks spurred months of debate in a southern California community after a mother protested excluding those students who hadn't sold anything.
  • EBay Shuts Down PTA Auction - Parents at Deer Park Elementary in Tampa, Fla., had big plans to raise money for the 5th grade trip to Universal Studios Florida through an eBay auction. What they didn’t count on was being shut down by eBay.
  • Auction Makeover - By turning its long-time auction into a more upscale, innovative event, one PTO took profits—and parent enthusiasm—through the roof.
  • Holiday Shops: Make Yours Shine - Parent groups share creative ideas that have made their seasonal stores a hit year after year.
  • A Balanced View of Food Sales - Federal legislation required school districts to establish “wellness policies” by 2006 that would provide minimum nutritional guidelines for foods available to students. Because each school district could determine what restrictions to impose, however, those standards have varied widely.
  • Fundraiser Goes Into the Woods - An annual trail race through the town forest uses local resources to raise money while abiding by a policy that prohibits sales by students.
  • A Play's the Thing - One parent group has turned its annual musical performance into a major fundraiser—and a major way to build community involvement.
  • School Snacks Under Attack - Federal law has some districts limiting the kinds of foods available to students. We talk about what it means and how it might affect your group.
  • PTO Turns Cans Into Cash - An aluminum-can collection and recycling program is a reliable fundraiser and provides some much-appreciated services for the school.
  • Collection Programs: Tips To Pile Up Profits - Creative ways to get the most out of your clip-and-save and recycling programs.
  • Carnival Success Story - One school's longtime carnival tradition brings the right blend of fundraising and family fun to the entire community.
  • Book Fair Success Story - Communitywide literacy programming is the underpinning for a PTO book fair that's grown every year.
  • Finding and Winning Grants - Parent groups can and do get grants. Just follow a few simple rules to put together a winning application.
  • House Tour Raises Big Cash - How a Capitol Hill school raised $40,000 with a "nosy neighbor" tour of recently renovated homes.
  • Cookie Dough Raises Sweet Profit - How an Ohio school raised $20,000 on its annual cookie dough sale.
  • Auction Gold: Student Art Projects - Keepsakes created by students make extremely popular auction items. Here's how one group with a slew of creative ideas cashed in.
  • Score With a Golf Fundraiser - If you have the resources to get started, running a golf tournament can really pay off.
  • Marathon Mom Runs for Her PTA - A New York City mom uses her legs to raise money for her parent group—26.2 miles at a time.
  • New-Look Magazine Drives - Technology creates new options for magazine fundraisers.
  • PTO Mom Wins on TV Show - A trivia buff undertakes a unique fundraiser: competing on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
  • Funding Our Playground - How one PTA met its goal of raising $40,000 in a single year to update the school playground.
  • Partnership Approach Pays Off - One school reached out to local businesses and governments to raise funds and create excitement within the community. The result: a new $80,000 playground.
  • PTA Mom Raises a Million - Jean Joachim has helped her school raise more than $1 million. What's her secret?
  • Spiritwear: Keep It Simple - Spiritwear helps build enthusiasm and a sense of community, but too many choices can undermine your sale.
  • Discount Cards: Finding the Right Deal - You can make money with store-specific discount cards, but there are some pitfalls to watch out for.
  • Book Fairs: Tips for Success - Organization, communication, and a dash of fun will make your book fair an event to remember.
  • School Pictures Are a Snap - Digital technology makes everything easier in the modern age of school photography.
  • Holiday Shops: Kids Love 'Em - Holiday shops, also known as Santa shops, are popular with kids and parents, and volunteers often enjoy helping children make their choices. But running a shop takes planning and organization.
  • Ink Cartridge Recycling - Collecting printer cartridges has become an increasingly popular fundraiser.
  • Scrip Fundraising: Proceed With Caution - It has a funny name and a checkered history, but scrip fundraising can be a powerful tool.
  • Cookbook Fundraisers: Recipe for Success - From organization through sales, tips to create a successful school cookbook fundraiser.

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