Linking your fundraising plans with the curriculum is likely to guarantee support from parents and teachers. Give it a go with some of these fabulous, tried and tested, literacy-related ideas!
Sandy Middleton, PTA Chair, Swaffield Primary School, Wandsworth (516 pupils): 'Our sponsored spell links so well with our school's focus on literacy. It's one of the easiest events that we organise and the school is supportive. The literacy coordinator sets an age-appropriate list of words for each year group, which is sent home (with a sponsorship form) before the half term break. The children are asked to practise the words and seek sponsorship (e.g. 10p for every correct word). Teachers then test the children when they return from the holidays and send a note home to parents confirming how many words they spelt correctly. The children then bring in their sponsorship money, and voila! This year we raised £1,700! The PTA give a prize (normally a book voucher) to the top fundraisers. It's the only event we run that asks children to seek some sort of sponsorship, so parents seem happy to support it.'
Word in a word
Claire Goulding, PTA Vice-Chair, Billingshurst Primary School, Horsham (630 pupils): 'Our committee read a testimonial in PTA+ Magazine about a word-in-a-word challenge. We thought it would be a great activity to tie in with our push to encourage pupils with their literacy skills. We gave every child a sponsorship form and asked them to find as many words as they could within our school name, encouraging them to find the longest and most unusual words, and the best anagram. We asked our local village magazine to sponsor the competition. It was lovely to see parents getting into the spirit of the competition and working with their children to find new words. Our English leader, Mrs Wilson said "We are incredibly proud of the time and effort the children put into the competition, and at the diverse range and sheer volume of words discovered!" Our Key Stage 2 winner found a staggering 1,079 words, whilst the longest word discovered was "scholarships" and collectively the children raised over £400.'
Ready, Steady... Read
Katharine Childs, PTA Secretary, Friends of Blackwell School, Derbyshire (160 pupils): 'We ran an Usborne Ready, Steady... Read sponsored reading challenge to combine a fundraising event with the chance to promote literacy and a love of reading. As an incentive for taking part, pupils received half of their sponsor money back in book vouchers. The event was organised by our local Usborne Books rep, who prepared posters, sponsorship forms and letters to parents. We also promoted it on our PTA Facebook page. The sponsored read took part over a week, after which, we collected in the money and handed it to the rep. She sorted out vouchers for the children and ran a book fair. About 40 children took part and we raised over £900 to spend on books. Some children read for over 1,000 minutes during the week, which was fantastic!'
Laura Golding, PTA Chair, Haydonleigh Primary, Swindon (504 pupils): 'We came up with the idea of a matchbox challenge. We purchased empty plain white matchboxes and sent letters out to parents, together with the matchboxes. Pupils could win prizes – not only for collecting the most individual items in their matchbox, but also for raising the most money. The buzz around the school was incredible and all the teachers helped encourage the children. Children were asked to bring back their full, labelled matchboxes with sponsorship forms, along with the money they had raised. A Gift Aid declaration was also included on the sponsorship form. The hardest part was verifying the contents of the boxes claiming the longest list of items. We recommend that sand does not count (it's very difficult to spot!) and nothing of value should be included. The parents were fantastic and we had an overwhelming response, raising a staggering £1,300!'
Elaine Malcolm, PTA committee member, Wallacestone Primary School, Stirlingshire (500 pupils): 'We sell our quiz sheets for £1 each and all correct returns are put into a draw. The lucky winner gets a cash prize – usually around £25. The quizzes have been very popular among work colleagues, family and friends of the school – they are a bit different from the usual requests for donations and it gives supporters a challenge and mental workout which they seem to enjoy! For the school quiz sheets, we issued five per child with a covering letter, although lots of people bought extra copies and we sold lots more than we thought! It's good if only a couple of people help compile these and know the answers so that as many people as possible can take part. There are lots of useful websites where you can get ideas for questions, such as quiz-zone.co.uk or quizmasters.biz. Search for dingbats or number word puzzles and see what you find! They can be easy to organise and make a reasonable amount. The average amount we raise from quizzes is around £750.'
Helen McClure, PTA Chair, King Furlong Infant School & Nursery, Basingstoke (260 children): 'We invited children to come to school in their PJs for an evening of bedtime stories. They could choose which classroom they went to first, and after 10 minutes, a bell rang to signal that the first story had finished and the children needed to move to the next room. Last year the children had three Christmas stories, before gathering back in the hall for refreshments and a visit from Santa, who distributed presents. The cost per child was £4, which included hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows), biscuits and an age-appropriate book from Santa. Parents were invited to stay in our refreshment room, or visit a Christmas market which had eight stalls. We also ran a meat raffle with a top prize worth £80 bought from a local butcher. There was such a buzz of excitement as the children moved around the school! We raised a fantastic £322!'
Judy Collins, PTA Chair, Cholsey Primary School, Oxford (250 pupils): 'We recently opened a new library space and we were keen to get some lovely books to put on our new moveable bookshelves. We invited our local Barefoot Ambassador to run a book fair at our fete. Teachers and pupils from each class drew up a wish list of books. For the fete, our Barefoot Ambassador supplied our wish list of books and other favourites. People could buy the books to take home or to donate to the school. The book fair was extremely well-attended and we received lots of positive feedback. Afterwards, PTA funds were used to buy any remaining books on the wish list and £330 worth of books were donated to the library.'
Andrea Line, PTA Chair, Bignold Primary School, Norwich, Norfolk (450 pupils): 'We decided to organise a book swap for World Book Day in March. One week before, we asked children to bring in unwanted books and hand them into their teacher in exchange for tokens. A maximum of three tokens was given to each child, but we were happy to take more donations if people wanted to give more books away. The tokens were created by a parent on the PTA, and had each child's name on. On World Book Day, we laid the books out on tables and categorised them into sections such as early readers, fiction, non-fiction and so on. Classes came in one at a time, though not all the books were put on display to keep it fair for all the children. Pupils picked the book(s) they wished to buy with their tokens, and those that weren't able to bring in a book were still given a token so they weren't left out. We had more books than we needed, so after school we had a book sale and sold each book for 20p each, with all funds going towards the PTA. We made a profit of £30, which may seem small, but the event was more about encouraging our pupils to enjoy reading, especially as many of them do not have English as their first language. Last year's event was our first, but we all loved it so much that we now plan to run it each year.'
Gift Aid it! When running a sponsored event, your PTA could raise an additional 25p for every £1 donated by claiming Gift Aid. Find out how at hmrc.gov.uk.