5 Cent Drive

The 5 cent drive is a fundraiser that seems to be gaining popularity at many schools and it’s one that’s relatively easy to run. You’ll probably be surprised by how much you can raise!

Each class competes to see who can raise the most money. Of course, you’ll need to have an incentive and the most popular incentive seems to be a pizza party for the overall winning class. But if you’re looking for a healthier option, then why not have a trip to the movies or ten pin bowling.

There is no definitive time frame for running your drive, so you can opt for a short 1 month or less, or you can give your community even more time to clean all those 5 cent pieces out of their cars and houses and run it over a whole term.

The size of your school will more than likely be a deciding factor in your time frame. Before you start, here are a few hints to get things rolling:

  • Decide what you will be raising funds for – library books, playground equipment, class iPads – but whatever you choose, make it and your target amount well known so that your community has their own incentive to donate, for example, Our goal is to raise $1500 to purchase new library books for all grades to enjoy.
  • Provide a jar or container for each class for collecting the coins – It’s a good idea to empty and bank your takings weekly for security.
  • Have an overall competition chart with each class total. This can be updated and broadcast weekly via your Facebook page, newsletters and signage around the school. A visual prompt can be a great builder of competition!
  • Consider offering a prize to the class that raises the most each week – particularly if you’re running your drive for a month or more. It doesn’t have to be fancy – icy poles for the whole class will do.
  • Once your winners are announced, follow up by sharing photos of your purchase/s with your community and thanking them for their support.

One of our Facebook readers said that they ran a very successful drive over the month of September and called it ‘Silver September’. Many of our readers have attested to the popularity and ease of this style of fundraiser. You can follow the thread here.

If you want to boost your results, don’t just limit your request to 5 cent pieces. Call it a ‘Loose change challenge’ allowing donations of all coins including the gold ones! A primary school that I know (around 450 students) had one of their junior playground slippery slides vandalised recently, so they ran a loose change challenge to raise money to replace it. At the end of the 2 week challenge they raised a little over $1100 and were able to replace the damaged slide.

Add a twist to your competition by creating ‘challenges’ to encourage more donations. This could take the form of each class nominating their school principal or a staff member for a challenge of their choosing. If their class raises the most money that week, the nominated person must complete the challenge. Ideas for the challenges could be having the staff member dress up in a chicken costume for the day, become the subject of a dunk tank at the school fete, perform a karaoke song at the school assembly, be pelted with water balloons by the winning class, or kiss a snake, but I’m sure the kids can be even more creative than that!

After all, there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition with the lure of embarrassing the principal along the way AND a pizza party for the winners!

Mandy Weidmann is Australia’s ‘Fundraising Whisperer’ – publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers. Mandy believes that parent volunteers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and is passionate about providing resources to make fundraising easier (and more fun). Click here to learn more about school and club fundraising ideas in Australia.

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