A book fair is an excellent way to raise funds for your school while building community at the same time. Kids always enjoy a book fair, it’s a great way to see new books up close and personal. And while you will get a lot of children that come in and out of the book fair, possibly picking up a book or two with funds that their parents sent with them – the key to making your school’s book fair a fundraising success is to get the students’ entire families and individuals from the community to attend the book fair as well. The more people that attend the book fair, the more books that will be sold, equally a bigger fundraiser return for your school. Read on to learn my 6 tips for making your school’s book fair fundraiser a success!
#1: Get Organized
First and foremost, it is super important to get the book fair organized. Start by gathering a book fair committee made up of parent volunteers. The book fair committee can work with the school’s librarian and teachers to decide on a good part of the year to host the book fair as well as possible themes (read more about themes below). Your committee will also need to work with the librarian and teachers to pick out the best books to offer during the book fair and they will be responsible for assisting in publicizing, setting up and running the book fair too.
#2: Pick a Theme
Instead of simply setting the book fair up in a corner of the media center or school library, give it more personality by completely customizing it with a theme. For example, if your school has an auditorium or gym with a lot of room to spare, consider choosing a Mad Hatter theme. You could set the space up with round tables complete with funky tablecloths, colorful centerpieces and tea for guests to sip as they browse the books. The idea is to make the book fair an event that students will want to bring their friends, family and members of the community to. The more people that attend the book fair, the higher the dollar amount for the school at the end of the fundraiser.
#3: The Perfect Invitation
In the past, there have been many school book fair’s that I wasn’t even aware of. Mostly due to the book fair flyer getting smashed to the bottom of my son’s backpack or even worst lost in the abyss he calls a locker! A great way to ensure that the families of all of the schools students are aware of a book fair, is by formally inviting them. It would be fun to send personalized bookmarks with all of the book fair information on it and then giving them to parents at parent-teacher conferences or even mailing them to their homes. If you plan to send the invitations home with the students, you want the invitation to be something pretty and fun – maybe a personalized magnet for their kitchen refrigerator.
#4: Colorful Posters
If your school publicizes your book fair only through the morning announcements or by sending invitations home with the students – you are missing out on valuable customers. Make sure that you have several different marketing funnels set up for advertising the book fair. I am a huge fan of colorful personalized posters – they can be hung anywhere, come with fun graphics and look great hanging in the classrooms, halls, media center and cafeteria. They can even be given to local shops, grocery stores and medical offices. Just make sure they are hung at eye level for the kids to see and in high-traffic locations.
#5: Host a Special Event
While your Mad Hatter book fair will be much more fun than a traditional one – it is still important to host special events during the book fair week. For example, why not host your school’s ice-cream social or meet and greet during the book fair. If your school has a parent-teacher conference, theatrical play, or sporting event that will bring a lot of people to the school – host your book fair at the same time. For parents with younger children that need a break, you could set up a craft station near the book fair. It would also be fun to host a raffle during the special event – your prizes could be book gift packs or gift certificates to use at the book fair.
#6: Be Grateful
Make sure at the end of the book fair after the last book is sold, that you thank all of the people that helped to make your book fair a success. I am a fan of personalized gift tags attached to a small gift, it’s a great way to let your volunteers know how much you really appreciate all of their hard work. It’s also fun to invite the students and families back after the book fair to share with them the purchases that the school was able to make with the funds from the fundraiser. It gives them a visual as to where there money and volunteer time helped the school, and inspires people to be a part of the process next time.
YOUR TURN: What other tips have you seen used to make a school book fair a success?