Small scale fundraising that adds up

Small Scale Fundraising That Adds Up

In addition to your typical large-scale fundraisers, which can be fantastic earners, sometimes thinking small can be good as well. A great mini-fundraiser is the ‘term lunch’. You can make a reasonable profit from these events a few times per year; add them all together and it can make a tidy sum!

But what is a term lunch I hear you ask? Essentially it is when, for a small fee, the entire school can enjoy a themed lunch organized by the P&C/ P&F. Children love it as it means they get to have some yummy treats with their friends. They’re also popular with parents as it means not having to think about lunches for that day!

Tying your term lunch in with a special occasion such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween or Christmas also allows you to include parents at these lunches and can give you an extra fundraising opportunity by making it a free dress day or themed dress day as well. Especially for Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

When you are planning your lunches keep in mind that in order for it to be successful, you need to appeal to the kid’s tastes. I am all for a healthy lunch, but I also think it is about balance and letting kids have a treat from time to time. If you plan a term lunch around lettuce leaves and carrot sticks you may find the children don’t embrace the idea.


So what kinds of foods can be easy to organise on a large scale? Pizza is one that can be very simple when sold by the slice. The key is to minimize options and keep it simple! Offer two choices of pizza such as Hawaiian or Margherita and couple this with two choices of drinks such as apple or orange juice. If you like you can add an optional treat such as a lemonade icy pole, but again you want to keep the options to a minimum to make the ordering, processing and implementation as seamless as possible.

Other food suggestions include: meat pies/vegetable pasties and sausage rolls; sushi rolls (remember stick to 2-3 choices only), hotdogs (you could substitute this idea with barbeque sausages). Treat options might include a muffin, a cookie, a bag of popcorn or an icy pole, but don’t feel you need to offer more than one of these per term lunch.

But before you get started, here are some pointers in terms of organisation and planning:

  • Have a meeting and decide what lunch you will offer per term. You may decide that meat pies would be nice in winter when the weather is colder, for example.
  • Try and enlist some helpers to count money and record the orders. Often parents can’t commit to being on the committee but are happy to assist for an hour or two here and there.
  • Think about what facilities you have at your school. Can you warm up 400 hot dogs at school or will you need volunteers to cook them at home and deliver them hot? Can you use the canteen area for the day?
  • Approach local businesses and see what deals they will offer you for a large order (and can they cope with a large order). Perhaps the local baker can supply the pies freshly cooked and still warm to avoid the need to heat them at school.
  • Work out a reasonable mark-up on each item – will you charge $2 per slice of pizza or perhaps $3? Remind yourself and the school community that this is a fundraiser for the school, but remember to keep prices fair.
  • Provide plenty of time for families to place their orders in the weeks leading up to the term lunch, and be strict on the cut off date for orders. This will allow plenty of time for planning and ordering from suppliers without any last minute panic from the volunteers.
  • If you offer drink options, consider buying juice boxes that are easy to store and don’t require refrigeration. If you don’t have the luxury of fridge space they may store in a cool place and they won’t need to be chilled before they are served.
  • Be super organised! Class lists with children listed alphabetically and columns for recording quantities of items that they have ordered will be a godsend!
  • If you have class reps, ask them to organise two helpers from each class to assist with delivering the food to the classrooms and equip them with food handling gloves, tongs and napkins for serving. If you are short on parent volunteers considering asking the older classes to assist with this, they will love the responsibility.
  • Make sure that you and your volunteers are fully aware of safe food handling regulations and follow these carefully.

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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