Parent Talk July 2015

Parent Talk

Fundraising without Chocolate.

One of the questions I am often asked is ‘what can we do that isn’t chocolate fundraising’? For those who choose to move away from chocolate completely, there are plenty of great alternatives available. On the Fundraising Directory website, an overwhelming 90% of fundraising options have nothing to do with food. Here are some ideas:


Alternatives to a Chocolate Drive

Tea-towels, calendars or plates (or even iPhone cases!) made with children’s artwork.

Anything made with kid’s artwork is a lovely keepsake and make a great gift.

● Family portrait photography (I love this one – everyone needs to be reminded to get around to organising family photos!) where a photographer comes to your venue for the day, you get to keep the token booking fee and families receive one included portrait with the option of purchasing others.

Cookbook fundraising – this is a lovely idea as it can really help to connect a community. Everybody contributes a favourite recipe and it’s turned into a beautiful book. There are suppliers who make this process super easy. A great little idea is to produce something along a theme eg ‘Help!: 20 Minute Weeknight Recipes’ or ‘If I Tell You I’ll Have To Kill You: Secret Family Recipes’.

Engraved Pavers are another favourite – if you are have any building work done, including a playground, earmark a small area to be paved with bricks engraved with the names or drawings of your community, who each pay to sponsor a brick. For a playground, you can create a handball court or a wall area where tennis balls can be bounced. A quiet reflection area is also nice, where your school motto can take pride of place.

● There are plenty more where that came from! Lunch box or drink bottle fundraisers, outdoor movies, showbag fundraisers, greeting card boxes, custom-labelled wine, herbs and seed packets – the list is endless!

There are also ethical ways to run a chocolate drive so that the objections raised within your community are respected.

Ethical approach to a Chocolate Drive  


The number one rule for running an ethical chocolate drive is to send home an ‘opt-out’ notice at least a week before you distribute your chocolate boxes. Make certain you suggest a donation equivalent to the profits you would have made from the chocolate – many parents are happy to support you. I know of a school that made more than 10% of their profits in this way.

It is also a good idea for the Principal or P&C President when speaking on assembly to stress that chocolates are a ‘sometimes food’ and should not make up a normal part of our diet.

The final idea is to balance the fundraiser in some way. This might mean alternating it with a fun-run fundraiser or purchasing sporting equipment with the proceeds.

In addition to the classic chocolate bar fundraising, a new ‘Rocky Road’ fundraiser has arrived in town, so a sensible approach to fundraising means you don’t have to miss out!

One final point I will make here – where you get vocal objectors to a chocolate drive (or anything you do for that matter), make certain you take advantage of their energy by encouraging them to step up and volunteer to help with the alternatives. We all know there is nothing worse than having noisy voices who then walk away and leave the hard work to you!