'We came up with the idea of running our "drink up, fill up" fundraiser (filling an empty water bottle with coins) as a healthy alternative to silver Smarties. The Friends purchased enough bottles of water for every pupil. We sent a letter out via ParentMail a few days before sports day. As an added reminder, we stuck labels on the bottles with the "Drink Up, Fill Up" message (this is an extra cost, so could be left out if necessary). We asked school staff to distribute the bottles for us on sports day itself. We ask for the bottles to be returned before the summer break. Depending when sports day falls, we usually give two weeks for bottles to be filled. We also send out a ParentMail reminder. It works really well, as children like filling the bottles and it's not something that requires too much time and effort from parents. It doesn't disrupt the school day and doesn't require a lot of school staff time either, although counting all the coins takes some time from the Friends! We usually make £340 profit. My advice would be to give the bottles out at the end of sports day, when children are going home – otherwise they drink the water and leave the bottles behind!'
Deborah Teasdale, PTA member at Covingham Park Primary School, Swindon (340 pupils)
'Pennies in bottles is one of the easiest initiatives we have used to raise funds. We source empty 200ml fizzy drink or water bottles from a local B&B or hotel, keep the lid on and cut a slot near the neck. We then make the slot safe with a sticker around it and stick another sticker on the side explaining what we are raising funds for. We give one bottle to each child. Amazingly around £8-worth of change fits into a full bottle. We ask our local B&B to keep the empty bottles back in advance. We hand the bottles out at the beginning of September and ask for them to be returned by Christmas, but some still trickle in after that. Last year we raised £351.87 from around 100 children. We treat it as a low-effort event, but the girls enjoy feeling that they have had some involvement in raising funds.'
Zoe Redmill, volunteer, Girlguiding UK, Southampton division