When faced with the need to raise money for schools, many parent-teacher organizations look for fresh ideas rather than having children (and more often than not - their parents) sell products from door-to-door.  Along with this trend of creative fundraising, there are many different options available to make the most of your fundraising projects.

Host a School Garage Sale

Ask members of your school community to go through their closets, garages, attics, and have a community garage sale in the school gym or parking lot.  Advertise with online community sites, such as Craigslist or local news sites, as well as putting up signs a few days in advance.  Put information about the dates and times of the sale on the school’s message board as well.  At the end of the sale, have a special (firesale) to move remaining inventory.  Make sure you have a collection jar at the checkout table for any donations, as people may donate their loose change & more.  Items that do not sell can be donated to a charitable organization.

Have School Spirit Days with a Fundraising Twist

When planning a Spirit Day, collect a small amount from the students wanting to participate.  For example, ask for a small donation of $1-3 dollars for the “privilege” of wearing hats or pajamas to school for a day. Just don't make the donation mandatory since not everyone will be able to afford to donate.

Host a Stunt at a School Carnival or Rally

This can be a lot of fun for both the students and faculty.  Set a fundraising goal for an activity and if that goal is met then there will be a faculty member (principal, teacher, etc.) do some stunt of some sort, such as sitting in a chair hanging over water that is triggered by a bullseye hit.  There can be an election among the students as to who the “lucky” winner will be or perhaps a brave person can volunteer.  Some possible stunt ideas may include the following: using duct tape to tape a teacher to the wall, putting the principal in a dunk tank, or having staff members trade places for the day.

Host a Silent Auction for Themed Baskets

Assign each grade a basket theme, such as cooking, gardening, movie lover, bicycle lovers, etc.  Ask for donations from the community and students on the basket themes.  Include a variety of items in the baskets.  For the cooking basket, you can have various utensils, mixes, an apron, cookbooks, and cookie cutters of cookie sheets.  Inside the gardening basket, try seeds, gardening gloves, garden tools and a mat to kneel upon while outdoors.  A movie lover basket can have family DVDs, popcorn, other movie snacks and a gift card to the movie theater.  A bicycle lover’s basket can be geared towards mountain bike or beach cruiser parts and accessories with a foot pump, water bottle, bike bell, helmets and headlamps.

Fresh fundraising ideas can make a huge difference in the participation level at your school, so start squeezing out those 'creative juices' and plan something that will get people excited & motivated!