The two keys to successful fundraising are having parents who are motivated, and parents who take an active role in the fundraising process. If your PTA group isn’t excited about rehashing the same fundraisers every year, get their attention by trying something new.

Today, more and more schools are looking to fundraisers that bring real value to their supporters, and are moving away from those traditional fundraising methods of selling items that people generally don’t have much use for. How much wrapping paper does one family really use in a year, after all? Be the star of your next PTA meeting by presenting these fun and easy fundraising ideas that will bring enthusiasm back to the fundraising year:

Sell Merchant Tickets

Pool together your PTA’s business connections to put together a compact book full of offers from local businesses in the form of merchant tickets. Organize a team of parents who can reach out to businesses to donate coupons for the ticket books. Popular coupons range from restaurants offering a certain percentage off a meal, to coffee shops donating a free small coffee. Local businesses are generally very motivated to donate offers for merchant tickets because it allows them the opportunity to show support for their community, as well as gaining valuable FREE advertising space.

Merchant tickets are a great option for PTAs that don’t have a lot of start-up funds, to begin with. The only price they pay is for the booklet itself, which is recouped along with additional money for the school, by selling the booklets at a set price. Your supporters will be glad that by buying merchant tickets, they’ll be supporting their schools, supporting local business, and getting great deals they can use everyday. Everyone wins with this idea.

Organize A Passive-Fundraising Restaurant Night

Spread the word to everyone that a popular local restaurant will be donating a percentage of all receipts from diners during certain hours, to your school. As with the merchant tickets, organize a group of parents who have ties to popular restaurants in town, and see what percentage that restaurant would be willing to donate.

Get together a group of parents and kids to be at the restaurant during that time, dressed up in school colors and showing their appreciation. Advertise widely throughout your school and community to encourage as many patrons as possible to show up. Restaurant-fundraising nights are often memorable evenings for everyone involved.

Most restaurants are happy to show their support through a fundraising night, and they’ll be glad for the influx of diners. Passive fundraising can be very successful if you can encourage many families to enjoy dining out for a good cause.

Offer Discount Cards

Offering useful discounts to local families will always be popular. Selling plastic discount cards is another way to align with local businesses and offer them the ability to build relationships with their community. Discount cards can be customized to include your school’s logo, and have many different options to fit your supporters’ needs. Key tags, one-time-only punch out tabs, or coupons that can be used an unlimited amount of times during a selected time period gives your school and businesses the flexibility to invest in the fundraising method that works best for everyone. Talk to local merchants to see what products or services they are willing to donate, and then create the cards from there. This is another opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on FREE advertising.

Host A Unique Event

Host an evening of bingo with fun prizes, judge a dance-off, or offer swing lessons that are followed by a night of music and dancing. These are relatively uncomplicated events that can be set up without a large investment. And the possibilities are endless!

Hold a brainstorming session with your PTA group, and ask the kids to send in their ideas, too. You’ll be surprised by the delightful ideas that both parents and kids will come up with. Plan out what the initial start-up cost will be, so that you can charge a bargain price per ticket that’ll boost your fundraising efforts. There should be a nominal price per ticket that’s relatively low, but you should also offer refreshments for a small price, or a silent auction for donated items from local businesses.

Think big, and encourage everyone to invite their friends and family from outside the school.

Partner With Local A Car-Wash Service

What’s more classic than kids putting on a car wash to raise money for their school? Let’s be honest: it’s a lot of work, and kids aren’t always the best at getting a car clean. Try a new spin on this old fundraiser: partner with a local car-wash service that will offer a promotional discount code that you can give out to supporters. Just as with passive-fundraising at a restaurant, your school would receive a certain percentage of all the receipts from customers who used your promo code. Be sure to advertise your school’s code as widely as you can. Again, fundraisers like this work on many levels: the car wash gets a bump in business; supporters receive a service they need and raise money without getting soapy.

Fundraising is an important part of providing much-needed funds and opportunities for the students of your school. By putting a new twist on some old fundraising ideas, you can get the PTA excited and motivated again. These fundraising ideas are excellent strategies for making the money that your school needs that also bring together the community and help the local economy.