It is without doubt that the true attraction of a School Fete is the fun that professional entertainment and amusement rides bring. As professional entertainers we are asked on a daily basis to freely donate our services to many charities, non-profit organizations, sporting clubs, and school fetes. Sadly we can not do this for every event that approaches us. So we offer solutions to problems event organizers have, and help them find original and unique ideas to successfully fund-raise at school fetes whilst pulling offer a great and memorable event.
Many event organizers often approach the subject with an idea to accumulate as much "free and voluntary help" from parents and businesses to "pull-off" the event. This is not a bad approach - but it is defiantly not a good nor great one. In fact, it can often burn bridges with businesses for future events. Instead, you should approach business for "deals, discounts and sponsorship" in their many forms. And for people power to man school stalls, you should approach "parents, teachers and older students or their siblings" to volunteer their time.
In this article we will offer:
*a list of DO's and DONT's when organizing a fete in general
*some great and original fundraising ideas with games
*how to successfully market your event
*how to approach a business for sponsorship, deals and discounts
*why you should always pay for professionals
Do's and Don'ts
*Ask parents of students to help volunteer with games and stalls that will be run by their child's class.
*Ask older students or past students with current siblings at the school to help out with stalls.
*Ask parents to help with bake stalls by donating a cake, slice or biscuit.
*Ask businesses if they are willing to donate any prizes to your school for an auction.
*Ask local food operators and truck vans to par-take in your school fete by charging a stall fee. Most local markets charge food vendors $100-$150 to have a food vending stall. Why use food vendors? Because it creates atmosphere, food variation, revenue for both you and them, and best of all - they are licensed to handle food, so you do not need to worry about council regulations and food handling.
*Ask local art and craft people to host a stall at your event for a market stall fee. Most market stalls cost between $25- $50 depending on your location (capital or rural). By asking local artists and crafts people to attend your event, you are creating atmosphere, variety, an activity, and community support
*Hire professional entertainers to work at your event. Why? Because professional entertainers are fully insured for both products, practice, service and application. Many schools and organizations opt to have a volunteer worker or parent or school child to face paint other children, however, insurance does not cover you, your event or your volunteer when something goes wrong (eg. skin reactions, poked in the eye with paintbrush, etc), plus they have no knowledge or skill at the job they are being asked to do.
*Expect entertainers (face painters, balloon artists, roving entertainers, musicians, etc) to work for free or donate any of their time. Truth be told, entertainers are asked on a daily basis to donate their time and resources to make your event a success. Many event organizers offer "exposure" for their time, however, entertainers do not need exposure. They are the event! It is you who needs the "exposure" to make your event a success. By offering an entertainer "exposure" you are not only insulting them and their industry, but also setting yourself up for a "No!".
*Blow your budget on amusement rides and fireworks. Ask local amusement ride operators if they would like to be apart of the event
*Do not ask local art and craft stall holders or food vendors for a % of their takings. The reality is, you will gain more in both funding and future business by asking a flat rate market stall. Vendors will not be turning over a large profit and its an insult to ask for part of their earnings on top of a market stall fee. Art and craft people do their hobby for joy not to make huge profits.
*Do not expect every person or business to have availability or funds to donate to your event. Thank them for their time even if its a no. Common courtesy can go a very long way.
Great and original fundraising ideas with games
The Balloon Car:
Fill the car to capacity with inflated balloons and punters can pay to guess how many balloons fit into the car. Correct or closest guess wins the prize.
DIY Button Badge Making:
Hire a badge making machine – let children colour in their own artwork and then make into a badge, always very popular. In fact, this is a very popular activity at most schools and events, that it is very much worth investing in the purchase of the machine itself.
The Kissing Booth:
A very popular and fun spin on the traditional kissing booth, is to use friendly and adorable pets. Let friendly pets give u a smooch while getting your picture taken. A smear of peanut butter on the cheek works best.
Senior High School art students tend to be quite gifted. You can ask students to donate unwanted art assignments to be auctioned at the yearly school fete to help raise funds for the school. Children often see this as a win because they know the proceeds will help fund future ventures and activities for other students in the years to come.
Soap Making or Bath Fizzes or Candle Making :
Ideally School Fetes should have activities people of all ages can enjoy. A DIY activity such as melt and pour soap making or bath fizzes are easy activities to raise funds from while being a functional item for the maker, and a fun activity. It takes approx 1 hour for the soap to dry for de-molding and can be used immediately as there is no cure time. It makes a great take home item.
Bath fizzes are equally as easy and require very little cost or time to make. Once made they can be placed into jars and taken home.
Candle Making is also fun for older students and adults. It also take approx 1 hour to completely set and can be done in jars donated to the school for this activity.
As a price guide, activities such as these should be charged at $10 each to not only cover the costs of the materials but also make a decent fund for school fete. These activities have proven to be very popular in the past.
Punt on your favorite candidate to win, better yet, to play you pay an entrance fee. This is an activity that sees a lot of the men and older boys try their best to beat the clock by eating as many items of food in 1 minute.
Minute to Win it Challenge:
These games are easy to host, yet a challenge to win. In fact, give your players an audience, and the pressure to win doubles instantly. If you have not heard of "Minute to Win it", check out google and u-tube for inspiration. Raise funds just like any other school fete game. Here is a link to kid-friendly challenges: https://birthdaypartyideas4kids.com/minute-to-win-it-games.html
Sweet and delicious, and a carnival staple; let kids make their very own candy apples and top them how they like for a fiver ($5). A 1kg bag of apples can quadruple in profit, by simply adding sugar and letting it become a DIY activity. And the best bit is, limited supervision is required for this activity.
Pie the Teacher:
A spin on the traditional Dunk the Teacher. This game is a lot of fun for students and teachers alike.
How to successfully market your event
Use social media to your advantage by embracing its power. Word of mouth will only get you so far, to draw in bigger crowds share a digital poster for your fair on all the school social media accounts and encourage parents and teachers to share it too. Best of all social media marketing doesn't cost a cent this way.
Banners and pickets down the street also are very effective at drawing the local community that may no longer have children at the school or families that have very young children. This is a prime opportunity to raise funds from these people while also showing off your school to potential future students.
Community radio is also a wonderful way to advertise your event for free. Community radio stations support community events as does community TV stations.
How to approach a business for sponsorship, deals and discounts
Knowing what the parents of students do for a living or what skills they have can be a great advantage to your fete's success. Not every business you approach will be able to offer prizes, sponsorship, deals or discounts; but parents of students attending your school will be more likely to donate something of use to help in your funding.
An example of this may be horticulturalist donating small plants to be apart of the plant stall sale. Or parents that have small livestock such as chickens and ducks that can arrange a petting zoo for the day. Or arty parents running crafty workshops on the evening of the event. Or a parent may be the owner of the local coffee van, food truck or ice-cream truck. Strike a deal with these parents to not only assist on the school fete, but also for other school events such as sports day, graduations, under 8's day, cross country carnival and the swimming carnival. Parents that attend these events would love a decent cup of coffee, or food to eat while cheering their kids on.
Examples of businesses that can offer prizes and gift vouchers:
*Tourist attractions companies
*Restaurants, Pubs, Cafe's
*Beauty and Hair Dressing Salons
Why you should always hire professionals
They may do their job in a matter of minutes, but Professionals only became professionals after many years of practice, trial and error. Professionals are fully licensed, insured, and capable of the job required. There is a time and a place for volunteers, and a time and a place for professionals. Do not expect a volunteer to do the job of a professional.