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9 Festive fundraisers

Whether you’re looking for an alternative or an addition to your Christmas fair, these fundraising ideas are sure to spread some festive cheer

1. Santa’s secret shop

Start scouring the shelves for bargains as early as possible, aiming to pick up gifts for around £1 each. Or buy a ready-made pack from Your Fundraising Gift Shop, where an unwrapped gift costs from £1.66 +VAT and pre-wrapped gifts (with one of each unwrapped for display) cost £2 +VAT. Run your shop during the school day, inviting a class at a time to come and choose presents for their loved ones. Recommend that children bring along £3 per gift on the day, or offer a pre-pay system where parents bring in the money in advance.

2. ‘Snowman’ drive

A fantastic family activity, the aim of the game is to be the first player to draw a complete snowman (normally a beetle). The body parts are each given a number: 1 for buttons, 2 for the face, 3 for the hat, 4 for arms, 5 for the head and 6 for the body. Players take it in turns to roll a dice, and the number rolled dictates which body part they can draw. The player who completes their picture first wins. Source donated prizes for the winners.

3. Nativity DVDs

Before this year’s Christmas performance make sure you get written filming consent from all parents of the children appearing in the show through permission forms. Film the production either yourselves or with the help of a local cameraman, preferably at a charitable rate. If you’re planning to film it yourselves, ensure you have the appropriate equipment, for example a tripod to keep things stable, and that the camera takes good-quality video – you are selling the footage, after all. Take orders on the night of the play and then send DVDs home in book bags once produced.

4. Christmas calendar

Take photos of each class, one for each month of the year. Choose each class’s month beforehand so you can theme the photos accordingly with clothing and props. Fill extra months with school clubs, staff members or year group/key stage photos. Send the photos off to a supplier such as Hampton School Calendars to be transformed into a calendar and then sell the products on for a profit, offering a discount for multiple copies.

5. Bedtime stories

Invite children and their parents to come to school in their pyjamas for an evening of bedtime stories. Have three storytellers, each in their own classroom. Pupils go to each room to hear a 10-minute story, and after this time move onto the next room (if you have lots of pupils, divide them into groups and rotate them around the classrooms). To make it festive, have three Christmas stories – you could even have guest storytellers, such as an elf, a snowman or Mrs Claus! Gather everyone together in the school hall afterwards for refreshments and a visit from Santa, complete with presents. Charge £3-£4 per child depending on costs.

6. Gingerbread house competition

  1. Invite children to stay after school to build a gingerbread house, and welcome parents to ensure there’s enough help for construction. Buy the kits in bulk and include them in the ticket price, making sure this gives a good profit. Children make the houses on-site to be judged at the end, and can then take them home. For younger siblings or as an addition, ask local bakeries or parents for donations of biscuits. Fill squeezy bottles with coloured icing and provide sweets and sprinkles so children can decorate them. Charge £1 per biscuit.

7. Moonlit hunt

Hold it after school, once it’s dark, and place Christmas-y questions around the school grounds, plotting their location on a map (vaguely or with clues to make it harder). Provide the map to players, who must find the questions and write down the answers. For extra difficulty, have the first letter of each answer spell a festive word. Parents can take part and players can participate in teams of up to five. Finished maps are handed in for a prize. Have refreshments in the school hall afterwards. Charge £4-£5 per team depending on prizes.

8. Printed products

A fundraising Christmas card project is quick and simple to run while tying into the curriculum and placing minimal demand on teachers’ time. Pupils create artwork to a specific format, then you send order forms home, collect payments and distribute orders. Expect to raise £1-£3 per pack sold. Make sure finished cards will be distributed with enough time for parents to post them before international delivery deadlines.

Alternatively, how about a tea towel covered in self-portraits from the whole school? You can print around 300 pictures on a tea towel, so for larger schools you could look into doing them for each key stage.

9. Bespoke Christmas puddings

Sadly, after 32 years of helping PTAs and schools fundraise with their range of scrumptious festive puddings, Ultimate Plum Pudding has closed its factory and no longer offers a fundraising service. Fear not, though! New company Goodness Baked is offering a fundraising service for schools, and will be producing personalised 454g Christmas puddings for 2018, with plans to roll out additional flavours and sizes in 2019. Expect to make around £3 profit per pudding. For more information, visit goodnessbaked.co.uk.

Quick and easy Christmas schemes

  • Bauble-decorating competition: Pupils pay £1 per (shatterproof) bauble to enter the competition. Give them two weeks to decorate and return with a name tag attached. Hang each year group’s baubles on a small tree and ask the Headteacher to judge, awarding prizes for the best per year and an overall winner. Send baubles home with pupils on the last day of term.
  • Coin trail: Ask pupils to bring in silver coins on a specific day and give each class a large outline of a festive image to fill up with the coins, i.e. a Christmas pudding or Santa hat. Get everyone to do this in the school hall or outside to bring all year groups together.
  • Christmas matchbox challenge: Bulk-buy matchboxes and give one to each child, together with a sponsor form and letter challenging them to fit as many festive items in the box as they can, i.e. anything red or green, sparkly things, a piece of ribbon, a square of wrapping paper, etc. Award a prize for the most items collected, and for extra fun ask pupils to decorate their box, with a prize for the best. 
  • Silver Smarties: Give out tubes of Smarties and then ask your ‘little elves’ to complete tasks for family and friends to earn 20ps to fill the empty tube. Offer a festive reward for the most collected.
  • Shopping schemes: If you’re signed up with a shopping affiliate scheme such as Give As You Live or The Giving Machine, give it a good push in the run up to Black Friday and Christmas. 

Trusted suppliers

Find a directory of recommended fundraising suppliers for schools at funded.org.uk/suppliers



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