Fundraising success stories

Read how three PTAs ran fantastic fundraisers

'Our restaurant raffle gave the parents a well-deserved night out'

After organising several raffles for the children, we thought it was high time the grown-ups had a turn. Inspired by Brighton's quirky eateries, we decided to treat them to a restaurant raffle. From a swanky champagne brunch to a mouth-watering Greek feast, our selection of prizes definitely catered to their tastes.

Local company Restaurants Brighton, which promotes local restaurants and bars, agreed to sponsor our raffle. They donated a £100 voucher as the main prize, funded all the posters and paid for the tickets, which we ordered from Eco Raffle Tickets. They also agreed to feature our raffle in their newsletter, encouraging other companies to donate prizes too.

Over the summer, I contacted other potential donors and secured some real treats: fine-dining restaurant The Ivy offered us a meal for two; popular Sussex-based coffee roastery Trading Post donated a six-month coffee subscription and several Brighton pubs offered Sunday roasts. Altogether we collected 20 prizes.

After a challenging year, parents were happy that eating out was back on the menu and needed little encouragement to get involved. Feeling confident in the quality of our prizes, we decided to sell tickets to the public, so for two weeks we sold tickets outside the school gates. We took payments in cash, electronically and through PayPal. The children helped too, each taking home a book of tickets to sell to their parents. Our hard work had paid off when we counted nearly £1,800 in ticket sales.

Some of the money went towards a virtual West End Aladdin experience, where pupils enjoyed a musical in their classroom. We were pleased we'd done something fun for the parents which had, in turn, given the children some end-of-term excitement.

Becs Kent, PTA chair, Elm Grove Primary School, Brighton, East Sussex (420 pupils)

'Our book shop fundraiser had a fairy-tale ending'

Once upon a time, there was a primary school where the children loved to read. One day, their parents in the PTA decided to organise a pre-loved book shop for them.

The idea of a book shop fundraiser was born after a conversation with a group of fellow parents. We admitted that, although delighted by our children's bookworm tendencies, it was expensive to provide enough books to keep up with them. As a PTA, we wanted to encourage this love of reading while helping parents with the cost and raising funds for the school. Inspired by our school's beloved owl mascot, we named our shop The Owl Bookshop, which pleased the children no end.

Dedicated PTA volunteer Vicky Lay took the lead on The Owl Bookshop, working with fellow members Allie Buckley and Clare Barton. They devised a plan where every family was asked to contribute five pre-loved books to the shop. We sorted them by reading age onto appropriately named stalls: the easiest reads were on the 'Owlet' stall, the next level was for 'Fledglings', and the most advanced were for 'Owls'. Entering the school hall on the day, I was greeted by piles of exciting books of all kinds.

Every book cost £1. When the children paid, they received more than conventional change. For fun, we had chocolate coins and dairy-free alternatives to give away too. While the younger children excitedly accepted, some of the older ones were more savvy and asked how much we were charging for the chocolate.

While I waited for the takings to be counted, I looked around the hall: some children were sat reading, already hooked by their new finds; I overheard a group planning to share a series so they could all have a turn; some children had even purchased books for their siblings! At last, the suspense was over. We had raised £330 to put towards a new climbing wall in the playground – the happy ending I had hoped for.

Claire Summerfield, Chair of Harwell School Association, Harwell, Oxfordshire (230 pupils)

'We raised funds by celebrating inclusivity'

As part of our fundraising for a new outdoor classroom, we decided to organise a fundraiser that celebrated everyone's individuality and called it Dare to be Different Day.

We emailed parents a list of possible dares: would pupils dare wear a tutu or a glittery cape? Might they brave a crazy hairdo? We added some simpler dares too, such as wearing trainers instead of school shoes, to encourage everyone to join in.

Completing one dare cost 50p, and the biggest dare-devils could pay £3 to try all seven ideas. The teachers kindly offered to collect this cash for us at the start of the day. Staff members liked the idea of accepting difference and this helped get them on board. Some even planned lessons on inclusivity to teach on the day.

The most popular dares were crazy hair and wearing pyjamas to school. We organised it on a Friday so the children could enjoy their hair dye and tattoos at the weekend.

We were thrilled to raise £297. This financial success and overall popularity of Dare to be Different Day has been very encouraging. The teachers asked us to keep it in the school calendar, and we happily agreed.

Claire Pickett, co-chair of Friends of Castor Church of England Primary School, Peterborough (180 pupils)