August tends to be the kickoff month for nuts-and-bolts PTA/PTO/sports-team planning. If you’re on a fundraising committee, consider replacing the same-old bake sale/silent auction/giftwrap sale with an enticing event that rakes in big bucks to pay for big-ticket equipment and events for your kids’ school or squad.

Penny War fundraiser

On a long table in the school’s lobby, set up a row of glass jars for coin collection, one for each class. Every morning, kids come in with change to drop into the jars. For every penny collected, a class is awarded 1 point; higher-value coins lose points (-5 for a nickel, -10 for a dime, -25 for a quarter). This gives kids incentive to bring in lots of pennies for their own class jar and even more higher-value coins for their competition’s. Post totals every day, so kids know which class to target with nickels, dimes and quarters going forward. After the duration of the fundraiser, usually a week to 10 days, the class with the highest score gets a prize like a bagel breakfast or movie break.

Celebrity “Prisoner” fundraiser

At a school carnival or concert, take a local celebrity “prisoner” for the duration of the event (think the school’s principal, town mayor, popular gym teacher — someone students will happily support). Have passers-by chip in to spring the high-profile “perp,” who can interact with attendees and promote your organization’s events and goals as enticement for donations. At the end of the night, announce the tally and release the prisoner, free and clear.

Student Artwork fundraiser

Several online companies specialize in transferring student artwork onto practical items — everything from mugs and garden flags to mouse pads, tote bags and note cards — giving groups a percentage of each sale. Work with your kids’ art teacher to coordinate a schoolwide theme and deadline date — right before the holiday or Mother’s Day gift-buying period is a particularly good time to schedule this type of personalized fundraiser.

Click for a list of companies that facilitate art fundraisers.

Rubber Ducky Race fundraiser

Held at local streams or shallow rivers, rubber ducky races attract lots of attention and frequently involve thousands of racing ducks. Sell tickets for supporters to adopt a rubber duck ($5 to $10 per duck is standard) and mark a corresponding number on the ticket and the ducky. On race day, launch the ducks on the waterway. Whichever duck gets to the finish line first nets a prize for the ticket-holder.

Legacy Bricks fundraiser

Leave a lasting mark on your school, field or rink with engraved legacy bricks or tiles that line a walkway, courtyard or playground area. Several companies (link through at provide the bricks and give your group a cut of the profits. Expand your sales pool by reaching out to alumni through a school newsletter or Facebook page.

Click for a list of companies that facilitate legacy-brick fundraisers.


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