A sponsored matchbox challenge is a simple and fun fundraiser.
The children will love completing a matchbox challenge and there are also some excellent parent-child bonding opportunities here too! The idea of the matchbox challenge is to see how many different things can be put into a standard size matchbox - use craft matchboxes so they're all the same size and you don't have the worry of disposing of live matches.
Give each child a box, a letter explaining the challenge (including the deadline) and a sponsorship form. You might also want to specify what items are NOT allowed - such as toenail clippings and bogies! And that's it, leave the children to get collecting. Once the children have filled their boxes and sponsorship form, ask them to write a numbered list of the items and submit their itemised list, matchbox and sponsor form by a certain date.
This can be linked into the curriculum - making lists, ordering, handwriting and spelling, and counting: so the teachers should be pleased! Offer prizes for the most items, the most sponsorship money raised and - if you're feeling brave - the most unusual object! We've found three fantastic PTAs who have shared their experience of running a matchbox challenge fundraiser so that you can make the most out of yours.
Use this set of rules to explain the challenge to participants. Download a letter to parents, this set of rules and a sponsor form below.
- Only one of each item is allowed (no filling the box with grains of sand).
- No duplicates (if you put a seed of every fruit and flower it still counts as just one - a seed).
- No body parts (toenail clippings, bogies and hair are not wanted!).
- No living (or dead) things, including ants, spiders or beetles.
- All items must be itemised, along with the total number, on your list form or on a separate piece of paper, and included in your returned kit bag.
- Entries must be returned to your class or the office by [insert date].
- All entries must have the pupil's name on the sponsorship form and on the returned kit bag.
- Late entries [after xx date] will not be accepted.
- Judges decisions are final on whether items can or cannot be allowed.
- Pupils are invited to decorate their matchboxes if they wish to do so. Please decorate them so that the judges are able to open them easily.
Download matchbox challenge templates
To help you on your way, we've put together a covering letter to download and edit/put on your PTAs headed paper. This includes a sponsorship form, using the latest Gift Aid wording from HMRC. Read our guide for more information on boosting profits through Gift Aid.
Good luck, and be sure to let us know how you get on!
Three PTAs reveal how they raised between £546 and £1,550!
Chloe Peters, PTA Chair, Leedon Lower School, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire (351 pupils): 'Our PTA decided to run a matchbox challenge last April, after seeing the idea on the PTA+ Facebook page.
We set the children the challenge to decorate their box, fit as many items as possible inside it and get sponsored for doing so.
We bought matchboxes from Baker Ross and gave every child one with a letter and sponsorship form on the back. We awarded the following prizes for each year group from pre-school to Year 4:
- Unique decoration (three prizes).
- Most money raised.
- Most items in the box.
- Spot prize for the most unusual item (which was a fake maggot!).
We had just over 70 responses and raised a phenomenal £1,049 including Gift Aid. Our expenses were about £90. It was quite time-consuming but was definitely worth it for the amount we raised. The children loved it, we had some great designs and presented prizes in assembly - it was a real hit!'
Beverly Brackenridge, PTA Chair, Foxhill Primary School, Bradford, West Yorkshire (240 pupils): 'We have a small school of 240 pupils so only 57 children took part, but we still managed to make £1,550! We bought 270 matchboxes from Baker Ross for less than £30 including delivery. We provided each pupil with a matchbox challenge kit, which included a sponsorship form, a blank list sheet to be completed, and a leaflet about the challenge - all in a clear plastic bag. A lot of bags were returned with the money in them! We made certificates for each winner and chose a winner for the best decorated matchbox as an additional incentive. When it comes to the judging, remember you don't have to go through all of the matchboxes. We sorted ours into year groups, looked at the numbered lists, then when there was a clear winner we simply went through all of the items in the box to verify the contents. We decided that if there were two that were close then we just chose two winners. The record number of items collected in each class were as follows: nursery: 50, Reception: 95, Year 1: 71, Year 2: 80, Year 3: 50, Year 4: 53, Year 5: 97 and Year 6: 63. This was such an easy event to run. All we had to do was send out the kit and then wait for the money and boxes to come back in. The initial outlay for us was just the matchboxes. The children loved this fundraiser, but they had to follow our rules to make sure nothing disgusting was put into a matchbox! Thankfully, we didn't have to sort through any toenail clippings or earwax...'
Julia Williamson, PTA Treasurer, St Mary's RC Primary School, Whitstable Kent (420 pupils): 'We gave prizes for the best decorated matchbox, and the child with the most items, in KS1 and KS2. We handed out a set of rules, which stipulated that they needed to fill their box, but NOT with any "body bits". In retrospect, we regret saying no foodstuffs - we had flour, salt, pepper, mustard seed... In the end we had to give the winner the benefit of the doubt as we faced a pile of dusty debris on the table! We asked participants to attach a numbered list of everything in their box. They also had to seek sponsors, with pledges of £x amount per number of items. We raised a fairly easy £546!'