Fall Festival in Review: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

pumpkins

A fall festival is a great opportunity for people to get together to celebrate the changing of the seasons, while also taking part in games and enjoying tasty treats and supporting your fundraiser! Whether your festival is for families within a neighborhood, a local school or college, or a neighborhood church, it is a fun way to get people together. The key to planning a successful fall festival is to embrace the prep time and be willing to think outside the box!

Organizing a fall festival is a big undertaking. In order to create a successful event early planning and organization are vital! Know your objectives! When planning try to keep in mind the size you want your event to be and what age range you are planning it for. Are you planning a kid friendly fundraiser, or a fun event that the entire family can enjoy for free? Do you want people to wear costumes to your festival? What size space will you need to hold the event successfully? By asking all of these questions, you can really design a fall festival that will work best for your target audience and yield the best return for your fundraiser.

To begin, it’s important to create a budget and stick to it. As you plan your event, involve your leaders and volunteers in the brainstorming and decision-making process.  By asking the leaders for ideas, feedback, and suggestions from the start, you’re encouraging them to offer their input throughout the rest of the event.

Then, once you have decided who those leaders are create VIP/Volunteer/Crew/Parent or other custom badges for each of your team members – this way it will be easily to spot those important people on your team in a snap! This will be especially important once the festival is buzzing with business.

Next, you will need to decide how to charge for festival games and treats. Roll tickets are the perfect solution to redeem for playing a game. If you decide there will be an all-inclusive price you could use customizable event tickets that include a stub to tear off. Make sure to spread out the festivities – you don’t want ticket sales jammed up with insanely long food lines, so make sure you have the support you will need depending on the size of the event. Make sure that you are utilizing each volunteer, and once the event starts if a particular activities becomes super busy, move team members to that area for back up support.

Third, choose a fun theme – the possibilities are endless when it comes to fall. Pumpkins, ghosts, bats, ghouls, scarecrows – oh boy! Make sure your location is large enough to accommodate your plans so you can spread out activities as much as possible.  It can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be but make sure it’s fun for the kiddos. Decide if you want to include games, hayrides or other activities. Once you know your theme you can get your decorations, games and posters ordered. This is the fun part!  Puppet shows and face painting are budget friendly options that all kids enjoy – and of course, don’t forget to designate a part of the parking lot for trunk or treat.

Of course, always be sure to have a plan b – begin planning well in advance and give your committee plenty of time to organize, brainstorm and prepare. After all, the purpose of your fall festival is not only to give your community an event they will look forward to – you want your festival to be a fundraising success for the charity that you are raising funds for too!

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Fundraising Tricks & Treats: How to Organize a School Trunk or Treat

Tricks and TreatsWith summer fading and October fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you can give the kids a safe Halloween experience that still lets them do all the things they love about the holiday — putting up decorations, playing games with their friends, wearing the coolest new costumes, and of course…the candy! This year, organize a trunk or treat!

Seek out like-minded parents who are willing to donate their cars for an evening of fun. You should get the word out in advance so everyone will have plenty of time to prepare. Have the kids help decorate the car trunks and truck beds with their favorite spooky decorations such as bats, ghosts, cobwebs, or skeletons! Have someone there at every car to hand out candy and treats to the kids – parents, this is your chance to get in on the fun, so get working on those costume ideas!

With a good group of committed volunteers, there’s no limit to what you can do with your trunk or treat — haunted houses, organized games with prizes, or even live music! Best of all, you can use this experience to raise money for your child’s school. Sell tickets at the “gate,” for food, drinks, and carnival games, with all profits going to the school. You can create memorable, customized tickets for your Halloween event that they’ll ship right to your door. Find local retailers who are willing to donate to a good cause and set up a raffle. The only thing kids love more than costumes and candy is winning awesome prizes (while dressed in costume and full of candy)! We have got you covered there too — you can pick up a roll of quality raffle tickets at a price that’s less than a penny per ticket!

For a safe alternative to trick-or-treating this year, try a trunk or treat! Your kids won’t get exhausted as they do when roaming the neighborhood, it’s easier to keep an eye on them, and you don’t have to worry about cars passing through. Just as importantly, it can bring your families together while raising money for your child’s favorite club, team, or school library. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless!

 

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day

Mother's-Day

Mother’s Day is May 11th and it’s the one day a year set aside to celebrate Mom. We all know at least one hard-working mom who deserves way more appreciation than can fit into a single day. Here are some ideas to help the mom in your life have the best Mother’s Day yet. If you really want to knock it out of the park, do them all!

#1: A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words

Simple but powerful: what mom doesn’t love photos of her kids and family? A great, framed snapshot or two is a quick easy gift for the kids to put together and is sure to melt Mom’s heart. If you like to get creative, there are many online photo services that offer dozens of options for personalized gifts from photo mugs with Mom or Grandma’s name to iPhone cases to calendars. If you’re really savvy and have some time on your hands, put together a photo montage for mom set to some of her favorite music. For art-loving moms, commission one of the many Etsy artists who paint custom portraits from photographs.

#2: Shower Her with Flowers

With all its new life, sunshine, and warmth, spring is the perfect time of year to celebrate mothers. A freshly planted flower bed will brighten the yard and show Mom you appreciate the warmth and beauty she brings every day. If she’s a gardener herself, make planting flowers an afternoon activity that the whole family can participate in. If you don’t have a yard or garden, pick up some loose stems at your local grocery store and bring spring inside! Place arrangements around the house so Mom can wake up to a fragrant and colorful indoor garden.

#3: Art Collection

While the fridge is a great first stop for your little ones’ creations, there’s only so much room for masterpieces amidst school papers, to-do lists, and pizza joint magnets. Immortalizing your kids’ art will let Mom treasure it forever and save it from the hazards of kitchen messes and faulty magnets. Especially prized pieces can be framed and hung gallery style in a hallway, or upload entire collections to a photo-sharing site to create a coffee table book that Mom can proudly show off to guests. Your kids will appreciate that you saved their masterpieces later on, too!

#4: Pamper Her

All moms want it, though few will designate the time and money to make it happen. I have yet to meet a mom who wouldn’t benefit from a relaxing day at the spa to rejuvenate and feel pampered. Many spas offer a variety full-day packages to choose from as well as shorter, a la carte services. If a spa day doesn’t fit your family’s budget, a gift basket with some relaxing tunes, homemade lavender bath salts, a soothing eye mask, and an afternoon off will give Mom a mini getaway at home.

#5: Maid to Order

Every exhausted mom, whether she’s new to the game or a seasoned vet, dreams of coming home to a scrubbed, spotless house and fantasizes about a deep cleaned, food-and trash-free car. Even if you can’t accomplish a full spring clean for mom, a one-room deep clean or reorganization will surprise and delight her. If you want to give her the full package, hire a cleaning service to come in or send her car to a detailer while you send Mom to the spa! She’ll return relaxed and overjoyed and I promise she won’t soon forget the Mother’s Day when she got to kick back knowing there was one less chore on her very long to-do list.

 YOUR TURN: How do you plan on celebrating your Mom this Mother’s Day?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, No Cooking Required!

St.-Patrick's-Day

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to start thinking of fun ways to celebrate. Whether you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser at your child’s school, having friends over for a fun pot-LUCK, or simply celebrating quietly at home with your children – it’s all about shamrocks, rainbows, leprechauns and that ever elusive pot of gold!

While St. Patrick’s Day is a lot of fun, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a lot of work. There are many fun ways to celebrate this day, from sharing lucky messages and hosting relay races to surprising friends with simple treats and sharing a rainbow with someone you care about. The best part, you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen because my 5 favorite creative ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day don’t include any cooking at all, read on to get started and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

#1: Send a Lucky Message:

Want to surprise your child’s classmates, soccer team or even your co-workers on St. Patrick’s Day? Purchase lucky messages customized with your favorite Irish graphic on the front and your personal message (maybe a sweet poem or fun limerick!) on the back. Then, tie each message to a bag of gold candy or rainbow skittles – leave these little surprises on their desks or tuck them inside their gym bags for a St. Patrick’s Day surprise they won’t forget. In fact, they will think they have been visited by a leprechaun!

#2: Host a Shamrock Relay Race Fundraiser:

St. Patrick’s Day is a great day to get outside to have a little fun under the rainbow. You could host a shamrock relay race at your child’s school to get the kids outside while raising funds to support your school. Before the big day, invite the children to decorate the fence surrounding the sports field with laminated shamrocks and metallic gold and green garland. During the relay event, you could sell green balloons for a dollar, inside each balloon is a surprise note and treat – (remember, to have a jar of push pins for everyone to pop their balloons.) Also, don’t forget to keep track of your fundraising efforts so everyone can see how this fun event is also supporting your school.

#3: Share a Rainbow:

If there is one symbol other than the shamrock that signifies St. Patrick’s Day, it a colorful rainbow. A fun activity to enjoy with your child’s classmates is to create a large colorful rainbow chain to hang from the ceiling of the classroom. Offer rainbow colored slips of paper to each child, let them write their name on along with their favorite poem or quote. Then, work together to create a loop chain by combining each piece of paper to the next. You could even connect all of the chains from all of the classes in the school for a larger than life rainbow chain. It would be fun to take a picture of all of the school children together holding the chain, then give the framed photo as a gift to the principal!

#4: Top of the Mornin’ to Ya:

It never fails, some children will find themselves at school on St. Patrick’s Day morning having forgotten to wear green! Oh no, let the pinching begin! To avoid those nasty pinches, fill a basket full of green ‘no pinching’ buttons or green wristbands and place them in the front office. You can sell them for a quarter to any of the child or staff member who forgets to wear green that day. You could even announce the sell of the buttons/wristbands during the morning announcements or set up a table at the front entrance of the school.

#5: Reading the Rainbow:

St. Patrick’s Day is another great holiday to inspire more reading in youngsters. Get with your child’s teacher or librarian to create a list of 6 books that are St. Patrick’s Day themed. Label each book with a color; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Encourage the children to read all of the books by offering them a pot of gold at the end of the reading rainbow. Every day a child finishes reading one of the books, they will receive a sheet of paper in that corresponding color. At the end of the week, the children get to engage in a St. Patrick’s Day craft using the colorful sheets of paper they have collected. Then, they can turn in their masterpiece for a bag of gold chocolate coins, candy or other small trinket!

What creative ways do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your children and their classmates?