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Bright ideas from our readers: Fundraising for your school

From collecting cans to recycling old technology, our readers share their ideas for school fund-raisers.

By GreatSchools Staff

Thanks to our many readers who provided their ideas for raising money at their schools.

Here are a few of their suggestions:

Collecting cans:

"Iowa has a 5 cent refund on cans and bottles," explains one mother. "In our community we have a 'can kennel' similar to a dog kennel cage. Patrons of the school drop off their cans and bottles in bags and twice a month the kennel is sorted by cans, glass and plastic containers for pick up by an area redemption center. There, handicap persons continue the sorting by brand name so the various bottling companies can collect their cans. This income amounts to around $600 to $700 per month! In 8 years, we have raised over $60,000 for our youth. Since we started this project, three other nearby communities have created their own can kennels. (We even received a grant of $3,500 from the Iowa Department of Transportation to help us shelter the can kennel, so less trash rolls toward the highways.)"

Phoneraiser:

"Our PTO organized a fund-raiser with Phoneraiser," writes a mother of three in Connecticut. "We collect old cell phones and ink jet cartridges and send them to the company so they can recycle them. We're helping the environment and it costs us absolutely nothing! Phoneraiser provides us with prepaid mailing labels so all I have to do is arrange where FedEx picks up our collection box. After the first month, we received a check for almost $100. Depending on how large your school is, Phoneraiser can be very profitable."

Jump-a-thon:

One mother shares that her child's school hosted "a fun student fund-raiser for two years - a jump-a-thon! While the students gathered sponsors and donations, the PTA organized renting two inflatable jumpers at a discounted price. (We explained that the jumpers were for a fund-raising event that would also promote their company.) Each class was given one hour increments to jump, non-stop, as long as they possibly could. The students loved it!"

Spell-a-thon:

"We use a spell-a-thon as one of our main school fund-raisers. It's not as active as a walk-a-thon," one father and former PTA president says. "But it is more inclusive of folks who are mobility-impaired (or weather-impaired!). Each grade (including kindergarten, which uses initial consonants instead of words), draws up a list of appropriate words that the kids study for a few days. Then the teachers test their students, while parents perform the judging. Pledges come in per word increments, or in any fashion that parents, friends, or neighbors choose.

"Parents like it because it's academic, PTA members like it because it's easy to organize, and teachers like it because they get to choose the words they like! We raise $20,000 annually and have done so consistently for more than five years."

BoxTops4Education:

A mother living in Brooklyn collects box tops from various products, like cereal or tissue boxes. "All you have to do is remember to remove these little coupons from your purchases," she writes. According to BoxTops4Education.com, your school can earn up to $60,000 every year by participating in their program.


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