The Best Winter Fundraising Ideas

Winter is here and with it comes a season of challenges such as unpredictable rainfall and cold weather, all of which conspire to make holding fundraising events more difficult. Anything that would normally be held outdoors is out of the question, meaning that all events need to be indoors. Here are some great winter fundraising ideas, perfectly designed for the colder months.

Hot Chocolate and Soup stalls

Whether set up as a regular Friday lunchtime stall for staff and students, immediately before or after assemblies, or as a stall at a local market or after the Saturday sports games, not much can beat the appeal of home-made hot soup and decadent hot chocolate. If you do it as a regular weekly stall throughout the winter months, you can nominate one class or year group to run the stall each week, and ask for volunteers to make big pots of soup.

Stick to the classics – pumpkin, minestrone, chicken noodle or tomato and you can always include an optional roll or piece of crusty bread. Here is a recipe for a classic hot chocolate, but Milo made with hot water, milk and mini marshmallows will also probably keep the kids happy.

Bolognaise bake off 

If you are looking for an evening or afternoon event that involves the whole family, why not host a cook-off, where families compete for the title of Best Spag Bol, Best Chili Con Carne or Best Lasagne. The options are endless – you could have a bake off for soups, pies or cupcakes. Families can either make their masterpieces at home and bring them in for judging, or – if you have the time and space – ask them to bring in their ingredients for a cook-off Master Chef style, with a big clock and an emcee making witty cooking jokes.

For fundraisers, you can charge entrants to be part of the competition (make sure there is a great prize), and the audience can also pay for a bowl of the delicious goodies on offer. This is a great event to find a local sponsor – whether it is a grocer who donates fresh ingredients, a butcher to supply meat or a supermarket to supply plastic bowls and cutlery. You might be able to find a local cooking shop who will donate prizes for the winners.

For something extra special, you can make a place on the judging panel a prize in another fundraiser – a raffle prize, silent auction, or a special award for a student.

Raffle hampers

Raffle hampers are great any time of year, but having winter themed hampers is a fun way to celebrate the colder months. Winter themed hampers could include:

  • Big Night In (provide DVD/Netflix voucher, board games, hot chocolate, popcorn etc)
  • Sleepy Sunday Morning (provide slippers, fluffy blanket, eye mask etc)
  • Cooking hamper (provide ingredients and recipes for winter favourites such as rice pudding, self saucing puddings, soups, bolognaise or pasta)
  • Hot Chocolate Hamper (provide a beautiful set of mugs, top quality chocolate or cocoa, plus mini marshmallows, tiny shortbreads etc)
  • Chocolate Fondue kit (provide a fondue kit with forks, tea-light candles, chocolate buttons, marshmallows, strawberries, pound cake etc)

Story Night/PJ Movie Night

Another great family event that could be combined with one or more of the above ideas is a PJ night where everyone listens to a story or watches a movie. Ask people to bring along pillows, sleeping bags, cushions and beanbags. Click here for details on how to run a story night and here to find out how to run a movie night (keeping in mind that in the heart of winter you will need to keep it indoors). Don’t forget to include a VIP Section for your movie night

PJ Free Dress Day

If you love the idea of wearing pyjamas to school but don’t want to organise a whole movie night, simply have a free dress day where everyone gets to wear their PJs and dressing gowns to school in return for a gold coin donation. Parents will love it as it will be much easier to get kids ready for school.

Quiz Night

Quiz Nights are brilliant big-ticket fundraising events for the colder months, and you can easily make it a winter theme by combining it with soup and hot chocolate sales (or hot mulled wine for the grownups), winter themed raffles or even asking everyone to wear their PJs to the quiz night. A quick look on Google reveals plenty of winter and snow themed quiz questions such as these.

Click here for a detailed article on how to run a quiz night.

Indoor Olympics and Fun Runs

Fun Runs are one of the most popular and successful school fundraisers and they are extremely easy to organise, but the uncertainty of weather in the colder months make them a risky choice. If you have access to a large empty space – such as a school hall, community hall or undercover area – why not set up an indoor Olympics, where kids compete in various sports such as bowling, limbo, shooting hoops, folding and throwing paper planes, long jump or keeping a balloon aloft as long as possible.

Another idea is to make a Fun Run where each ‘lap’ is themed on a different sport or activity (kids can hop, jump, skip, crawl, go backwards, leap, sack race, three-legged etc).

Alternatively, set up an indoor obstacle course, and allocate kids to small groups who need to run the course as many times as possible in a pre-determined time.

Author: Shannon Meyerkort

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