Season’s Greetings: How to Raise Funds for Your School This Holiday Season

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The holidays are the perfect time of year to raise funds for your child’s school. Since it is already September, now is the perfect time to start planning your holiday fundraiser. Be creative and don’t feel compelled to put up the same old card table to sell homemade treats for 50 cents apiece. There are more lucrative ways to raise money these days besides bake sales! With a little planning and preparation,  you school can end the holiday season in the black – with funds for that school library makeover or new computers for the tech lab!

Go the traditional route with a twist!

It’s up to you and your school to decide what product is best for your students to sell. Perhaps you want to focus on calendars, greeting cards, gift wrap or gift tags, since these are items many parents will be picking up for the holidays anyways. It can be tricky deciding what to sell but remember that seemingly small items can add up to a lot of money! School groups raise more than a billion dollars every year selling items such as cookie dough, calendars or coupon books. Don’t miss your opportunity to get in on the action and raise funds for your school.

Once you decide on the best product to sell be sure to advertise your fundraiser. You can put up customized posters throughout the school and in your local libraries, churches, grocery stores and shops. You could also create customized postcards with your fundraisers information – these could be sent home with the children and even mailed to local businesses or given out at community events.

Take your fundraiser online! Most people these days will appreciate the opportunity to shop online in the comfort of their own home. Not to mention this type of fundraiser works great for family or friends at a distance that still want to support your school. Your school most likely already has a website, so just dedicate a page to use to collect funds via PayPal, so grandparents and family that don’t live locally can still donate to your child’s school. Don’t forget – this holiday season is the perfect time to remind people that all donations made to the school are tax deductible.

 

 

 

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4 Simple, Wonderful Ways to Personalize Your Special Event

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Whether you are planning a birthday party, baby shower, reunion or wedding it’s essential to make it a personal experience for everyone involved. It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing party ideas in the world – if you plan a pirate birthday party for a child that has zero interest in pirates, that party will be a flop. The key is to design the event as an extension of the person that you are creating the event for. It doesn’t matter what type of event you are planning, personalization really is the key. Read on for my 4 favorite simple tips for personalizing a special event that everyone will remember.

1. Pick a Theme

Regardless of the event, having a theme in mind is a great place to start. By theme, I don’t necessary mean picking a cartoon character for a children’s birthday party or deciding to throw a Hawaiian style baby shower. Rather than focus on one particular idea, focus on the feeling you are trying to convey. For example, if you are going to be throwing a princess party for your daughter’s 5th birthday – skip the traditional Disney themed paper goods and party balloons and decorate your living room or backyard to resemble a castle or enchanted forest. Another idea is if you are hosting a school reunion choose a movie theme – ask each guest to dress up as their favorite movie star from that year. You can get your guests excited by using movie tickets for the event invites, and carry that movie star theme throughout the party using matching place-cards, popcorn bags, miniature candy bars with personalized wrappers and you could even give out drink tickets too!

2. Simple is Best

After you have picked a theme, I recommend choosing a particular area to decorate for the event. If you are hosting the birthday party at home, skip decorating the entire house with streamers and balloons and stick to a centralized location where you can get really creative. For example, if you are hosting a fairy birthday party, use fabric and craft paper to transform every day household items into toadstools or trees. Have your child pick their favorite woodland stuffed animals to place throughout the scenery and utilize items that you already have at home. It’s amazing how a simple dark bed-sheet with a slit cut down the front, hung from the ceiling can automatically become a cave in an enchanted forest that little ones can climb inside of!

3. Food for the Mood

I am not a fan of traditional party food – I really like to personalize the food to fit into the theme. For example, several years ago I hosted a bug and reptile party for my son and instead of simple stacking sandwiches on a plate, I ordered a 5 foot sandwich that I cut and arranged to look like a snake – complete with olive eyes and a red pepper strip for a forked tongue. Not only were the children completely smitten with the snake sandwich, the parents raved about it for weeks to come whenever they would see me! The idea is to take ordinary food that your guests will love and display it in a fun, new, creative way.

4. A Thank You is Worth a Thousand Words

Even though an event is created to celebrate a particular person, couple or group – I like for the guests to feel important and go home with a reminder of the event. I always send each guest home with a personalized gift that fits well into the theme of the party. I also take careful consideration when it comes to party favors to pick something that my guests will actually use or consume. Many times this will mean that I send them home with a personalized treat – for example a bag of caramel corn complete with their name printed on the outside of the package. Or, at my wedding, I picked a hardbound book for each of my guests and left them a handwritten message inside the cover thanking them for celebrating this special day with myself and my new husband. They were a huge hit and people still talk about them 15 years later! You could also personalize a bottle of wine for each member of your wedding party – as a thank you gift.

Image credit DigitalArt via FreeDigitalPhotos.net