Unpredictable British weather means fundraising is often
restricted to the indoors, especially in the colder months, but
that doesn't mean it has to be limited!
'We decided to purchase a DIY race night kit from Amazon for
£17.99. The pack included a DVD and betting tickets, as well as a
duel forecast sheet to enable us to raise even more on the night. I
wrote to local businesses to ask them to sponsor a race for £25. In
return they were featured in the programme and promoted by the
compere on the night.
We sold horses and jockeys in advance, which meant those who
couldn't attend on the night could still support the school. Each
horse cost £5. Our school is based in a small rural community and
is the hub of the village, so people were happy to participate,
especially as the prize was a bottle of wine! We also sold the
jockeys at a cost of £3 per rider and sent a letter out to all the
parents and children asking them to be a virtual jockey. Successful
riders won a tub of sweets.
We sold 50 tickets for the event at £7.50 each, which included a
meal of lasagne and salad followed by sticky toffee pudding. To
keep things simple, we asked people to bring their own drinks. The
minimum bet was set at £1.
On the night, we had four volunteers - a compere, two people on
the tote and our 'tech man', who played and stopped the DVD and
dimmed the lights!
We increased profits by holding a raffle, with all prizes
donated by the parents. There were four races, a break for food and
drawing the raffle, then another four races. We had a fabulous
night and raised a total of £1,264.50.'
Hannah Mayhew, Secretary, Hoxne School Association, St
Edmund's Primary, Suffolk (67 pupils)
Read our race night step-by-step.
Murder mystery evening
'We held this event in October with the help of local drama
group, The York Stars. We chose the play 'Who Killed the
Headmaster' so we could have a school theme, which we enhanced by
asking attendees to come dressed in school uniform. We kept costs
down and reduced the number of volunteers required by asking people
to bring their own food - some brought sandwiches, while others
ordered a takeaway. The PTA provided hot drinks and cakes.
We charged £8 per ticket. People could book a table of eight
together or be grouped together with other ticket holders. The play
was in three parts: part one - up to the murder; part two - the
interview of suspects; part three - the reveal of the murderer,
their accomplice and why they did it! The intervals allowed us to
eat and discuss the crime. Before part three we had to submit our
findings, and the team closest to the truth won a prize. There was
also a prize for best male and female costume.
We split the profits, boosted by a small raffle, with the York
Stars, making about £275 each. It was a hilarious evening and a
good way for the parents and teachers to get to know each
Naomi Whittaker, Scarcroft Primary School,
Arts and crafts night
'Our children relish any excuse to get creative (and messy!),
meaning an arts and crafts night is perfect. The event was
quite simple to organise. We sourced materials throughout the year,
taking advantage of special offers, and getting ideas from websites
such as Pinterest. Last year, we found some real bargains and spent
around £30 in total. We charged £3.50 per child for a session
lasting an hour and a half - the price included a drink and a ham
or cheese roll.
We had a good mix of activities and set up 'stations'. Each
station had a volunteer to give help and supervision. Activities
ranged from experimenting with watercolours to colouring mandalas,
painting tealight holders and making puppets. Over 60 children
attended, with a good number from each year group. The children
were thrilled with what they'd made, and this simple fundraiser
made a profit of £145.
I'd advise others to source the arts and crafts materials early
so you can get good deals and to ensure you have lots of
volunteers, as we found that younger children needed a lot of
Sarah Hawes, Chair, Friends of Our Lady & St Michael
RC Primary School, Abergavenny (170 pupils)
'After running many successful events for children, we were
inundated with requests to hold one for adults - so we decided to
try a medium night!
We found a medium, Anne Clark, with great reviews, who charged
£100 to attend the event. Finding a hall proved tricky - a survey
of the parents revealed that they were uncomfortable having the
event held within the school just in case their child came home
scared that the school was haunted! We approached our local rugby
club, who generously allowed us to use their hall free of
Tickets cost £7.50 and we promoted the event through word-of-mouth
and social media, where we posted eye-catching visuals to grab
people's attention. We made sure we only had one contact for ticket
sales so we didn't overbook.
The parents spoke highly of Anne Clark, and reported her
readings were accurate. The whole event worked really well -
our outlay was low, and so was the workload but we still raised
Dale Dow, PTA Chair, Carrick Knowe Primary School,
Edinburgh (380 pupils)
'We hold a quiz night twice a year, selling tickets for £10 per
head, which includes a fish and chip supper plus
We start promoting the event about a month beforehand by printing
and distributing flyers. Parents usually form class teams in
advance, though we sometimes put people together on the night. A
couple of people set ten rounds of questions, which include a
tasting round (e.g. what flavour crisps?) and a picture
We hold the event in the school hall. Once, we tried using our
village hall as it was bigger, but the hassle of moving everything
there was too much. On the night, we have a bar which sells wine
and prosecco by the bottle - it's quite a boozy night! We buy the
alcohol on sale or return and hire fridges to keep it
Our average profit is around £700 with 150 people attending. I
would recommend giving it a try - it's always a great night!'
Adele Quinn, Chair, Friends of Burhill Primary School,
Hersham, Surrey (512 pupils)
Read our quiz night step-by-step.
Pamper and shopping evening
'We hold our pamper and shopping evening every November. Tickets
cost £5, which includes a drink on arrival. The PTA serves
additional refreshments such as cupcakes and we create a relaxing
atmosphere with some soft background music.
I find stallholders by picking up cards from craft fairs during
the year. If I like what they offer, I invite them to cover both
the pamper and shopping elements of the evening. I try to recruit
local businesses to promote the community.
We charge stallholders £10 per table plus a prize for the
raffle. We have 35-40 stalls on offer, including nail treatments,
massages, make-up, jewellery, crafts, edible treats, clothing and
accesories, homewares, flowers and Tarot readings.
On entry, we give everyone a programme containing a welcome
note, PTA information, stallholder names and contact details.
Treatment stalls have booking forms where visitors can book slots
for later on in the evening. We provide refreshments for
stallholders - if you keep them happy, then everyone's happy!
After the event, we fill in feedback sheets to collect comments
and suggestions for the following year, while it's still fresh in
our minds. Our event raises around £800 profit for a few hours
work. It's a very enjoyable and relaxed evening.'
Tracey Ferguson, Todcaster Grammar School Parents
Read our pamper evening step-by-step
Infant story night
'We aim to host a story night for the infants during every half
term. At the start of the school year, we promote the event in our
half-termly school newsletters and letters to parents. We also
include event details on the PTA page of our school's website and
ask the teachers to remind their classes.
Children from Nursery to Year 2 and invited, and parents can
stay with their children during the event if they want to. On the
night, we have around 130 children attend, as well as a number of
parents and older and younger siblings. Tickets cost £1 per child
and adults are free. We ask children to come in their pyjamas and
bring their favourite teddy. We have approximately 20 helpers on
the night, who are a mixture of PTA members and school staff. Our
only outlay is £30 outlay on milk, cookies, tea, coffee, sugar and
All in all, we raise around £130 per event. While it's not one
of our most profitable events, it's definitely one of the most
enjoyable and easiest to organise!'
Jen Eastwood, event organiser, Beaconside CofE Primary
'The Poynton High School PTA theatre trips began as a social
night idea with the potential extra benefit of raising funds. Our
first trip was to see Mamma Mia! at the Palace Theatre in January
2007. It was so successful, many more followed and there have now
been more than 100 trips.
Initially, we advertised the trips to parents and students, but
an article in the Poynton Post brought them to the attention of the
wider community. We now have over 500 theatre enthusiasts on our
database - mainly retired people who have a bit of money and like
the benefits of coach travel!
We reserve seats for shows that we think will be popular and the
theatres give us a few weeks to sell the tickets. We then confirm
how many tickets we need and pay for them. Any unsold ones are
released back to the theatre. We get a group discount, so we can
often offer the ticket and transport by coach for the price of the
ticket alone. There is often less discount on big or newer shows,
and musicals are much more popular than plays.
In 2012, we decided to branch out and organised our first
mini-break to Windsor and Buckingham Palace. These little breaks
have also proved popular, and we now have two or three a year.
As a retired Maths Teacher and ex-PTA committee member,
continuing to run these trips on behalf of the PTA has enabled me
to enjoy my passion for the theatre with like-minded people! While
our primary aim is to provide a valued service to the local
community, the trips do raise around £1,500 a year for the
Elaine Roe, retired Maths Teacher, Poynton High School,
Stockport, Cheshire (1,507 pupils)
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