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How to Plan a Successful Fundraiser for Your Preschool

With creativity and planning, you can host a successful and enjoyable fundraiser to benefit your preschool program. Here are the best preschool fundraising ideas to help you raise money and build community support.

How to Plan a Successful Fundraiser for Your Preschool

How to Plan a Successful Fundraiser for Your Preschool

Money raised from a preschool fundraiser can help supplement your operating budget and can also be a great way to build community and support for your school. 

Involving families and other members of the wider community in your fundraiser can create a sense of buy-in and ownership for your preschool, ensuring the long-term success of your program. Also, fundraisers are a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved, and knowing you've helped support a worthwhile cause is immeasurable.

While planning a fundraiser may seem daunting, careful planning and execution can make it a successful and enjoyable event for all. This article will offer practical advice on how to start, execute, and plan a fundraiser event for your preschool, plus offer some simple preschool fundraising ideas.

Two children and woman kneeling in front of a poster of the earth and sticking animal pictures on it.


How to start a fundraiser

The first step in starting a successful fundraiser is to take the time to develop a clear plan before jumping into the details. Without planning, you might have an event that is poorly organized, not well attended, and ultimately not very profitable.

Here are seven steps to take to ensure a successful fundraiser:

1. Determine your purpose

Fundraisers can be used to support various causes, so it's important to be clear about why you’re raising money. Here are some common reasons for hosting a fundraiser:

  • To supplement your preschool's operating budget
  • To pay for special projects or activities not covered by the budget
  • To build community and support for your preschool
  • To create a sense of buy-in and ownership for the school among families and other members of the community

2. Set a goal

Once you've determined the purpose of your fundraiser, it's time to set a goal. This will help focus your efforts and ensure you can track your progress. For example, maybe your goal is to raise $5,000 to buy new furniture for your center.

Be realistic in setting your goal and make sure that it’s achievable. It's also important to set a deadline for reaching your goal, as this will assist in retaining everyone's interest, motivation, and focus.

3. Choose a date

It's important to choose a date for your fundraiser that will work well for everyone involved. Consider the schedules of families, staff, and volunteers when choosing a date.

In addition, avoid scheduling your fundraiser too close to other events or holidays that could compete for attention.

4. Create a budget

Track your spending using a budget, ensuring that your fundraiser is profitable. When creating your budget, include the cost of materials, advertising, and any other necessary expenses.

Additionally, it's a good idea to set aside some of the proceeds from your fundraiser to cover any unexpected costs.

5. Choose a venue

The venue will depend on the type of event you’re planning. 

Some common venues for fundraisers include:
  • Your center
  • A local park or recreation center
  • A restaurant or other local business

6. Promote your event

Once you've got everything planned, it's time to start promoting your event. This will help ensure that people know about it and can participate.

There are several ways to promote your fundraiser, including:
  • Putting up flyers around the community
  • Sending out emails or including it in your newsletter
  • Posting about it on social media
  • Asking local businesses to participate or donate prizes for a raffle or auction

When approaching potential donors, be sure to have a clear and concise pitch prepared. Explain what your fundraiser is for and why their support is important. With a tool like brightwheel's childcare app, you can boost teacher productivity and improve communication with families. This easy-to-use app allows you to communicate with families individually or message your entire program with details on important announcements or upcoming events. 

7. Execute your event

Execution will involve putting all your planning into action and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Some considerations for carrying out your event include:
  • Making sure that all volunteers are aware of their roles and responsibilities
  • Setting up the venue in advance
  • Making sure that all activities are running smoothly
  • Having a plan for clean-up

Fundraising strategies for your childcare center

How you fundraise will be based on the type of event you’re planning, your budget, and your goals. Every childcare center is different, so choosing a strategy that will work well for your particular situation is important.

Some common fundraising strategies include:

Have a bake sale

A bake sale is a simple way to raise money for your preschool. Choose a theme such as cupcakes or breakfast sweets, and have each family contribute to the sale. Or see if a local bakery will donate items for you to sell. 

Host a car wash 

You'll need a secure location with good visibility and a water source for a successful car wash. Promote the car wash in advance to ensure a good turnout.

Sell tickets to a play or concert 

Many families love watching their children perform on stage, and they’ll gladly do it for a small fee. Plan for the children to put on a play or concert at your center. Sell tickets to family, friends, and other community members.

Have a yard sale 

A yard sale is an excellent method to clear out clutter and raise funds simultaneously. Invite families and staff to donate items that they no longer need or use. You can also ask local businesses to donate any excess stock to your cause. Be sure to advertise in advance and have plenty of volunteers to help set up, clean up, and run the sale.

Participate in a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon

A walk-a-thon gets people moving and raises funds at the same time. Have children and families collect pledges for how many times they promise to ride or walk around your neighborhood, park, or a track. Promote the walk-a-thon in advance and have plenty of water and snacks available for participants.

Host a coin drive 

Place a container or jar near your classroom door and collect spare change from children and families at your center. You can also ask local businesses in your community if you can place collection jars at their location to collect spare coins or donations from customers.

Two preschool children playing plastic flutes.


Put on a talent show 

Allow your children (and staff!) to showcase their talents while raising money for your center. Charge a small fee for entry and let children put on their own show!

Organize a silent auction 

Ask local businesses or families to donate various items or services for a silent auction. The event can be hosted at your center as a stand-alone event or at the same time as another event, such as an open house. All funds raised can benefit your program. 

Host a trivia night 

A trivia night can be a great way for families to interact with each other and raise money for your program. Participants can pay a small entry fee or make a donation to compete. Have a variety of trivia topics to choose from and prizes available for the winners.  

Create and sell art calendars

Use digital images of the children’s art and crafts activities throughout the year to create art calendars. Then, print a wall and desk version to sell to families. This is an excellent idea to execute before the holidays, and they make great gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members.

Grow and sell food and flowers

Plant a vegetable and herb garden with the children, and sell the produce at your center or local farmer’s market. Start with simple vegetables like cucumbers, lettuce, and herbs. A daycare garden teaches children the importance of growing their own food and how to care for and maintain a garden. If flowers are blooming in the garden, collect bouquets for sale too.   

Host cooking lessons

Families can always use simple recipes to prepare quick, healthy meals for their children throughout the week. Collaborate with a local chef or restaurant to teach families how to cook these meals for a fee. Host the lessons at your center or an offsite location, depending on your needs and budget.

Acknowledge your donors with a thank you letter

After you have received donations from your fundraiser, it’s important to send out thank you letters. This shows your donors that their contributions are appreciated and helps build relationships for future fundraising efforts.

When writing a thank you letter, remember to:

  • Thank the donor by name. This helps to create a personal connection with the donor. 
  • Include the amount of the donation. This will show your donors that you recognize their individual contribution.
  • Indicate how the donation will be used. Remind donors that their money is going to a good cause and reiterate your fundraiser or event.
  • Express your gratitude. Show appreciation for their specific gift.
  • Include a personal note. Acknowledge any special contribution the donor may have made such as volunteering their time in addition to a monetary donation. 
  • Sign the letter. End on a personal and sincere note.

While there are plenty of sample thank you letters for donations to use as a guide, the most important thing to remember is to be genuine and show appreciation for the donation. Once you've completed writing your letters of gratitude, send them out as soon as possible. You don't want to wait too long, or the donor may forget about their contribution. The sooner you can thank your donors, the better.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions and answers on planning a successful fundraiser for your preschool.

What are the tax implications of an annual fundraising event?

Depending on the kind of fundraising you're doing, there may be tax implications. Always verify with your accountant or tax advisor to ensure you comply with all federal and state tax laws.

Should we involve the children in our fundraising efforts?

Absolutely! It's important for children to play an active role in your fundraising efforts. There are many activities that they can do to help such as decorating collection jars or signs for your event, showing off their skills at a talent show, participating in a walk- or bike-a-thon, or donating items to a yard sale.

How do we ask for donations?

You can ask for donations in several ways, including in-person, at events, over the phone, via a website, email, or your newsletter. Remember to provide details about your fundraiser, what the money will be used for, and who the donation supports. You can also offer alternative options for people to help your cause in different ways such as donating event supplies or volunteering their time.

How can I make my fundraiser fun?

One way is to involve the children in the planning and execution of the event. This will give them a sense of involvement in the event and build their enthusiasm about participating. 

Another way to make your fundraiser fun is by choosing an activity that people enjoy. You could hold a bake sale or have a raffle with prizes that people will want to win.

How can I involve families that can't make a monetary donation?

Invite families to donate items that can be used for the fundraiser, such as baked goods or prizes. You can also ask them to volunteer their time to help with the event. This could include setting up, manning a booth, or helping to clean up after the event. A family that cannot make a monetary donation can still be a valuable part of your fundraiser.

Final thoughts 

Preschool fundraisers can be a great way to support your business operations or help pay for special projects or activities. Choose an effective fundraising idea, involve your families and children, and remember to thank your donors. With careful planning, you can achieve your fundraising goals and put on an event that’s fun for all.

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

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