PTA Great Idea Bank

A resource for PTA and parent involvement project ideas

First off - I DO NOT want a sales pitch from you if you work for a fundraiser company. 


I DO want feedback from other PTA leaders about what has and has not worked in their schools and which companies have provided them with the best service.


What does your PTA do to raise money?  Events?  Sales based stuff?  Catalogue fundraisers?


What has been most successful for you?

If you have worked with a fundraiser company - which one and how would you rate them?  Do you have a link to their website to share?


Anyone have any UNIQUE fundraising products or ideas that seem worthwhile and not overpriced, knick-knacky junk that no one needs more of?


What is your school population like?  (Enrollment, free/reduced lunch %, urban/rural, etc.)


Thanks for your help!


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Replies to This Discussion

Okay - I'll play by the rules and not tout my product. See my profile if you want to know more about that.

This year, our PTA has three planks in our fundraising platform. One relates to That Which I Am Not Supposed To Discuss, one is a targeted grant-writing program, and the last is scrip.

The grant-writing came about because we have a few underemployed grantwriters in our PTA, and a handful of projects that we wanted to do that are fundable - community events like a neighborhood-wide Earth Day fair, and other ecology-related efforts such as a de-paving and tree-planting efforts. The grants were relatively easy to get once the appropriate philanthropies had been identified, and I have a feeling they will continue for a while.

Scrip, I had my doubts about. We had a disastrous experience with a traditional scrip program 4 years ago (we would up with a large amount of unsold "inventory" that we took a bath on), and an experience with a large, well-established online scrip program that could charitably be described as "really ineffective". But this year, two parents convinced me that they would be fiendishly dedicated to promoting the program, and to the on-premises order-taking and distribution part of it, if I would agree to try again with the traditional-type program.

It's worked well enough so far - we've raised about $5k so far. Since we have generally operated with one large spring fundraising event, and were looking for this to be our supplemental secondary program, it has filled the bill nicely.

Four years ago, we made a very decisive turn away from any fundraiser that involved our K-4 kids selling ANYTHING. (5th graders had a long-established program to sell coupon books for their 4-day spring field trip; nobody really minded that). Up until that point, the secondary fundraiser was a gift-wrap sales program, and honestly, most of the objections came not from the gift-wrap or even the selling, but from the in-school assembly the kids had to attend where the top sellers were celebrated and given junky prizes.


Creative Science School PTA
2009-2010 Fundraising Chair
Thanks for your honesty. There are a number of new ideas available for fundraising that do not require selling door to door, which I not like!

We are really looking at "reinventing" our fundraising model this coming year. Our past few catalogue sales based fundraisers have just not done well at all.

There are 3 different awards/grants that I am planning to submit in the next month or so.

I am looking at pizza cards, Scrips, lunch-time popcorn sales, etc. to try to get away from the catalogues full of stuff that people don't really want or need.
You should take a look at this archived webinar, which was done by National PTA in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
(You have to enter an e-mail address to get in, but it won't be used for anything)

The webinar talks about really innovative fundraising ideas. It also suggests ways that PTAs can raise money while aligning its fundraising efforts to projects that don't conflict with the PTA's efforts to keep kids healthy.

I would love to hear what you think!
I am on the PTA board for 2 schools in South Carolina and they recently used a company called Liquid Highway for their fundraising. We sold 12 ounce bags of freshly roasted coffee for $10 and the school kept $5 of that. They will also put your own logo on the bag at no additional charge. This has worked out better than anything we've used before. It is simple because everyone loves coffee and our sales rep includes great prizes. The Sales Rep for Liquid Highway is Barbara Knight, her email is The company's website is You can even still sign up for spring fundraisers because the turn around time is so quick.
Hope this helps!
We're in process of evaluating ALL PTA activities to simplify a bit, because even if one energetic person can run something, everyone feels pressured to participate. That said, our fundraising approach is:

- Foundation runs an annual campaign, our biggest effort and results by far
- Gala auction
- Walkathon, the biggest kid-focused activity
- PTA membership

Then on a much smaller scale:
- Book fair
- Cookie dough sales run by parents
- eScrip run by parents
- Box Tops for Education, run by parents but with kids informed and involved
- Occasional bake sales, run by the kids for specific causes such as Haiti
- Student store, run solely by the kids
I'd like to add also, is there anyone here in the southeast (florida)? I love most of your ideas, but the participating merchants are not located in florida...thanks anyway!
We've run a 5k at our school here in Atlanta that has raised $36,000 over two years. "Fun Runs" may be a dime-a-dozen, but if they are planned right and really integrate the community, they can be a BIG fundraiser. Our event is

Another idea would be the vacation rental or donation (cars, boat, etc...) for charity companies. Try Upside is that your fundraising efforts are significant if you have the right community.

Finally, silent auctions are great. Call resorts, hotels, spas and tell them you are a 501c3 and are lloking for items for a silent auction.

For years our school always did cookie dough but we wanted to do something that was healthy and under $10. We decided to go with Salsa Fundraising and it was a hit, 19 flavors and they were all natural. We sold them for $6/jar and kept $3.

We also host a fall carnival, do movie night once a month. We also have a craft fair in December where we rent space($75) to local crafters and charge $2 admission. This year we are buying extra salsa after the regular sale to have at the PTO craft fair table and along with some baked goods.
Our school is just over 250 kids
Hi. All of these ideas are great and I want to add another one. As a PTA mom and committee chairperson for many years I have an idea to share with you but also one that I am personally involved with although I am not pushing anything on anyone....just letting you know about a new way to raise the money that schools desperately need right now that is free and easy and doesn't involve any work which we all have enough of right now!!!
Travel4School, a free online rewards program that benefits participating schools with 5% cash-back on all hotel bookings. Travel4School is affiliated with and Expedia, and offers discounts on thousands of hotels around the world. The PTA leaders can share Travel 4 School with parents and can help their schools raise the critical funds they need above and beyond the typical fundraisers. If anyone is traveling for business or pleasure and they book through, 5% is automatically donated back to the school. It’s a simple registration process, no sign-up fees, no contracts, no door-to-door sales, no hassle. When parents, friends or family book a hotel, they select their school, and at the end of the month, the school receives a check. It’s that simple.

If you are interested in learning more and getting your school involved, please email or call 609-216-1965.
So, one of the mom's at my daughters school thought it would be cute to enter me into a radio station contest for San Diego's best MOM. They said since I was a single Dad and did so much for my daughter I should be entered.

So will you please visit the web site and vote for me?

Find the SUPER MOM contest and find me amongst the entries....and vote....I'd appreciate it.... can vote ONCE per email address, so if you have multiple can vote more than once! And you can vote once per day until October 10th...

Please pass the word on to your friends as well!! Thank You!


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