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By Diana Eastman

All across America, parents and teachers sigh collectively when fundraising time comes around. They know it means buying too much chocolate, or rolls and rolls of wrapping paper. Or they’ll end up pressuring people in the office to pay for their kid to run laps around the track. Although these traditional fundraising methods do bring in necessary money to fund “extras” for the students, they’re not always the most exciting or innovative methods. If your class is trying to raise funds for the most epic trip in school history consider some of these fun ideas that everyone can get excited about.

Crowdfunding Websites Brings In Big Bucks
The number one way to raise money for anything is by creating a Crowdfunding campaign for your next big adventure. This easy to set up, and easy to share, online tool allows you to explain where you’re going, why you’re going, and what you’ll do when you are there. It allows people to easily make monetary donations of all sizes and tracks the amount donated so everyone can keep track of the progress. The website does take a small percentage in return for hosting, but it’s a proven way to share your mission and get the donations rolling in.

In conjunction with a successful crowdfunding campaign, schools can host a variety of events to connect with the community and raise money for their cause. From hosting a spa day to running errands for people of the community, students of all grade levels will be able to participate in the fundraising and take ownership of the process. Here are some of the most effective ideas:

Hold A Used Book Sale
A few weeks before the sale, have students and teachers bring in their gently used books. Send out invitations to parents and members of the community and have them come and peruse your collection of literature.

Get Artsy
Get together with the art department and enlist the help of the school’s most passionate artists. Create a gallery for parents, teachers, and students to browse through. Then raise donations by auctioning off some of the unique art.

Luggage Tag Fundraiser
Design a few creative luggage tags (or go the easy way and order them from a wholesaler). Give traveling students and teachers the option to buy these original luggage tags to attach to their bags when they travel. The more creative and personal the designs, the more people will just have to have them on their bags.

A Cup of Joe To Make Some Dough
Partnering with a local coffee shop may be the caffeinated jolt your fundraiser needs. Get whole bags of coffee from a wholesaler (maybe one connected to the place you will be traveling?) Then sell them at school or out in the community. Make coffee in the mornings and ask for small donations. The car drop-off line might be a good place to set up shop!

Offer A Service
Schedule a car wash, offer to walk dogs in the community, or run errands for busy moms or seniors who have trouble getting it all done. Advertise what your students are willing to do and make it clear that they’re working hard for an unforgettable class trip.

Get Creative
Brainstorm some ideas with students and faculty about events that would be easy and inexpensive to put together, and that would fit with the location/theme of the trip. Some creative fundraising ideas include:

• Teach a class- Is Mr. Jenkins the PE teacher an undercover chef? Does Mrs. Harrison have a black belt in karate? Investigate the unique skills that members of the faculty have and encourage them to lead a class for the community. Ask for a small donation when signing up, and viola! You’ve bettered the community and raised money for your trip.

 Get Cookin’- If you make food, the donations will come rolling in.  Host a chili cook-off, bake sale, or backyard BBQ to bring the school and community together while filling stomachs and donation jars.

• Torture The Teachers- although not always a favorite amongst the teachers, any campaign that lets students let loose on teachers will bring in the money. Sell strips of duct tape and let students tape the teacher of their choice to a wall. Set a fundraising goal and when it’s met, let students participate in a pie-throwing contest where teachers and staff members are the targets. Give kids a break by putting their teacher “in jail” for a period as a reward for raising the most money. While the teacher is “locked up,” they can play board games in class, hang out in the gym or play outside.

If you truly want to have an epic class trip, you have to get the students involved. There needs to be some friendly competition and excitement to make them feel like they are part of the process. Instead of worrying that there is a lot of money to raise, think about it as an extended opportunity for students to get excited about the trip. The anticipation will make the actual trip that much sweeter, and the collective effort to raise the money will bring teachers, parents, students, and the community together.

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