Carina State School 25th Annual Mothers Day Flower Stall
On the Mothers Day weekend for the last 25 years, parents at Carina State School have been busy bunching up flowers for their annual flower stall.
Located on a busy road, this small state school of only 250 families has become an institution for locals looking to buy flowers for Mothers Day.
On the Thursday before Mothers Day, the flowers arrive from the wholesaler. On the Friday, an army of volunteers works on their basketball court to create the bunches, which are then moved to a position near the carpark on the main road, set up with marquees and a large electronic sign that they hire to broadcast their message.
They sell bunches at three different price points – $15, $25 and $35, as well as potted flowers. They create approximately 600 bunches of the $15 variety and 200 each priced at $25 and $35.
I spoke with Daisy (perfect name!) who organised this year’s flower stall.
How much did you raise?
We ended up raising $13909 which is in line with our previous two years of $15000 in 2015 and $11000 in 2014. We’re very pleased with the result and happy with the size of the stall as it means we can be home with our families before lunch time on Sunday.Overall we sold over 1000 bunches of flowers and 230 pot plants.
How do you keep volunteers engaged?
Keeping our volunteers in the school engaged is mostly a product of enthusiasm. We had lots of new faces from the prep cohort this year just because we had fostered friendships with them and their children – and then their friends came along and so forth.We also had parents come along that have been doing this year in and year out for their entire time at our school (some of them over 10 years with their older children in high school and their younger children in the senior years at Carina) – the old hands showing the new the ropes is what community is all about.I really do think that if you make it easy and fun for volunteers they will come back. We provided activities for younger children not yet school aged which I think helps as well. We got a lot of feedback from new faces this year that they didn’t realise HOW fun it would be and they’ll definitely be back next year.
We had tasks that could be done at home for those who couldn’t make it over the weekend – home bake to feed our volunteer army and ribbon bow-making for our bouquets were popular choices this year.We’re also really a little family. This year the Dads took turns looking after kids both on the oval and at home while Mums ran the stall during the day. I had one mum cook our family dinner knowing I wouldn’t have even thought about it whilst we prepared and opened our stall on Friday. Another dropped off hot finger food to our night watchmen (Dads do four hour shifts overnight in pairs so that we don’t have to pack away the flowers and set back up in the morning).
How do you promote to the outside community?
As far as keeping the community at large engaged – after 25 years our Flower Stall is now an institution. We have so many people tell us that this is where they buy their flowers for their mum every year, and have done so since they were children themselves – many of them previous students but many also are members of our community who return to support us year after year.We have the support of the local paper – the Southeast Advertiser – as well as our local members for council, state and federal parliament and we our school is also hired out for community activities – martial arts, dog training, dancing and basketball groups all use our grounds. We have also fostered relationships with local businesses (such as the local IGA, PCYC, local sports centre etc) that allows us to contribute to our community and receive their support as well.
We also asked their P&C President, Kathy, what she thought:
I think we communicate calendar of events early, make use of ‘outside’ events on school grounds so not always asking parents to fund and have jobs everyone can do to contribute- allows working parents to help too eg baked goods, overnight sitters, etc. Also report back frequently where money is being spent so parents can see it goes straight back to their children’s education and well being. Finally we are accepting of everyone regardless of skill level, experience or language spoken.
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).
Follow the Fundraising Whisperer Facebook page to take part in great information sharing with Australia’s school and club volunteers.