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Fundraising, Auction Tips, Blog, Silent Auction Tips

Top 5 Fundraiser Ideas for your PTO

Fundraising is the critical component that every PTO serves for and often struggles with. 

Every year, PTO’s host fundraising events in an effort to raise money for their school and their children. But fundraising requires participation. The more people participate in your fundraiser, the more money you are going to raise.

And each year it seems to be getting harder and harder for PTOs and other non-profits to get donors to attend their fundraisers. People are just too busy! They are finding it too difficult to physically show up to events. It seems like common sense, but it’s all too easy to rely on traditional fundraisers out of habit and not even realize that with each passing year the attendance gets lower and lower.

That’s why we're here to help you modernize your PTO’s fundraising events and give you the secrets to maximize the number of donations you can collect for your school.

Here are our top 5 FUNdraising ideas to spice up your PTO’s event life:

  1. School Auctions

School Auctions can be a lot of fun and, if done with care, the most successful way to raise money for your PTO.

For many schools, donated items are getting harder to get a hold of. But schools have a distinct advantage of having all kinds of great auctionable items that are built into the school that will cost you absolutely nothing.

  • Teacher Experiences:
    Have your teachers create an experience that parents can sign their kids up for via the auction (e.g. Bowling with Mr. Smith or Gardening with Mrs. Brown)
  • School Experiences:
    Principal for a day, give the announcements, pull the fire alarm for the next fire drill, fly your alma mater’s flag for a week, reserve a parking spot for a week, a front of the line carpool spot, reserved graduation seats, etc.
  • Class Baskets:
    Have each student bring in $10-$20. For 20 students, that is $200 - $400. The teacher picks a theme and creates a basket of items from the funds.

Since, as we mentioned, it's getting more difficult for guests to physically attend fundraisers, we recommend using a mobile bidding platform. A mobile device represents connections to donors no matter where they are. Successful fundraisers are not all about attendance. They are about participation, and mobile bidding platforms let donors participate in fundraisers from anywhere.

But there are some other serious benefits to mobile bidding. By utilizing modern fundraising platforms you are giving your guests more time to bid by opening your auction early, even a week in advance. You are also able to lower bidding increments and send bidders push notifications alerting them when they are outbid. This turns bidding into a game and will have your attendees hooked and having fun.

Handbid offers a chart-topping mobile bidding platform that allows you to prepare, manage and analyze your charity auction with ease.

When you use Handbid you are offering your guests a whole new experience that is guaranteed to have people talking for years to come. It’s also worth noting that Mobile Bidding can be an incredibly cost-efficient way to run a fundraiser. While cookie dough, wrapping paper, popcorn and other similar fundraisers are easy to set up, they often have high costs, up to 40-50% of revenue sold. Now consider mobile bidding: their set-up costs tend to run only about 7-10%!Live Handbid Demo

  1. Parents Party

You already know that parents need a night off. As the PTO president, you are a unique position where you can create an event for parents where they can relax and enjoy some adult time with other parents. There are a couple ways that you could do this, but we recommend asking a local restaurant or venue to partner with your PTO for a night. By booking out the restaurant or venue you are guaranteeing business for the restaurant and in turn asking that a percentage of the night’s earnings be donated to your PTO.

This is a great party idea that can give you a chance to get to know parents in a different light. You can add some passion into the night by arranging speeches by multiple well-known school administrators or teachers about the school and the importance of the PTO. This will inspire your guests to donate.

  1. Father Daughter Dance

Dads are hard to get engaged with school PTOs, we know.  One way to do it is to host a Father-Daughter Dance.  It doesn’t have to be fancy. Host it at the school, pick a theme and invite the Dads and Daughters.  You have several revenue opportunities beyond ticket sales, including an auction (assemble some girl-oriented baskets) and raffles.  Don’t worry, if you create enough great items or baskets that the girls will fall in love with, the Dad’s will spend as much as they can to win it for their little girl!
  1. Carnival

I know. At first glance, a carnival seems like a whopping amount of work. But it can actually be quite simple if you just nail down a game-plan early on. Plus, who doesn’t love a carnival!

In order to pull off a really fun and revenue generating carnival, you and your PTO will need to meet and discuss items such as theme, safety, food, and staff. Once you and your team have a theme locked, create small committees to handle the rest. Put someone in charge of safety (insurance, security etc.), another officer should be in charge of recruiting volunteers (music, tickets, clean-up, food vendors, etc.) and the last committee should get the ball rolling as to providing the entertainment. Make sure you get as many volunteer entertainers as you can. This event should not end up costing you money.

  1. Mother-Son Kickball Tournament

You have a father-daughter dance, but why not do the opposite for the moms and sons?  Rev up the boys’ competitive juices and create a fundraiser and bonding experience for moms and their sons. This event should cost very little. Get the Dads to Umpire, set up the tournament brackets (perhaps by grade?) and let the contest get underway. You should prepare a trophy or some kind of award for the winner of each class in your competition. They’ll need something tangible to accompany their bragging rights!

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