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School fundraising provides needed dollars for many “extras” like athletics and music. Although some fundraisers are quite large, such as a parent council casino, many are small local initiatives.

Unfortunately, many popular fundraisers involve food (often not very healthy food). Even coupon books seem to be filled with fast-food coupons that encourage unhealthy habits.

This article describes some innovative ways to raise funds and stay healthy: in schools, at special events and in the community.

Fundraising in Schools
Many school fundraisers include unhealthy food such as candygrams, fast-food hot lunches and chocolate sales. Try some of these different, healthy approaches to school fundraisers:
  • Veggie-/fruit-/flower-grams. Send a small bag of veggie sticks, whole fruit (bananas and oranges require no prep work) or a flower with a personal message to another person. Student council or a parent volunteer could co-ordinate this fundraiser (be sure to pre-order so nothing is wasted).
  • School-themed clothing. Take orders for physical education clothing (shorts, T-shirts, hoodies) with the school’s logo. Be sure to consult students on the design, colour and type of clothing they would like to wear. When notified in advance, many parents would rather buy these than pay a premium at major stores. Use a local company to get the best price and add a small profit to the purchase price. The profits can be used to buy equipment or pay for active field trip fees.

Fundraising at Special Events
Schools host special events that are also fundraisers. Keep these events healthy by following the suggestions below.

  • Spaghetti and sports night. Sports teams could cook and serve a spaghetti dinner to parents, coaches and other team supporters. Include wholewheat spaghetti and a low-sodium sauce, green salad and small dessert. 
  • Track meets and field days. Sell water, juice and milk instead of pop. Offer lower cost healthy alternatives to chips and candy such as homemade baking and whole fruit and veggie snacks.
  • Parent teacher interviews. Replace the traditional “donut and coffee” snack with juice, cheese and crackers and veggie trays. Consider selling active items such as skipping ropes, yo-yos or hacky sacks. Ask student volunteers to demo these items during the evening.
  • Penny carnival. Student leaders could design active, fun stations for a low-cost, fundraising economics lesson. Older students can design and run the carnival for younger students.

Fundraising in the Community
Healthy community fundraisers could include the following ideas:

  • G.S.T. auction. Host an auction where families and students donate their goods, services and talents to be auctioned to raise money for a special event or school project. Students have more ownership of a project (e.g., playground improvement or a field trip) if they have contributed their own services and talents.
  • Fruit sales. Local grocery stores will often partner to deliver boxes of fresh fruit to the school to be sold to families and community members at a discount.
  • Garb-a-thon. Partner with your city or town to clean up the community. Local officials will often provide bags and tools to support the school. Students can raise pledges per bag of garbage collected and verified by a city/town official.

Healthy fundraisers can be just as lucrative and popular as the more traditional chocolate sales. Be creative and use these ideas as a starting point to find what’s right for your school. Consult students, staff and parents to plan the year’s fundraising activities for best results.

Learn More:
Ever Active Schools (EAS)
Their Healthy Living Calendar is a great fundraiser idea. 

Visit the Promising Practices: Practical Fundraising Ideas section  for some excellent school fundraising ideas.

SummerActive School Resource Guide
Pages 42 to 43 include information on healthy fundraisers. This guide is available in both English and French.

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