Event Guide: Easy Indoor Fundraisers

Need some inspiration for a quick and easy profit boost?

Check out our handy event guide, packed with ideas, hints and tips!

When the cold, dark and wet months are upon us, it can be hard to get motivated for some of the more basic life tasks (getting up in the dark – yuck!) let alone having to conjure up ways to lure people away from their warm and cosy homes to attend a school fundraiser! So we’ve compiled this handy event guide to see you through the dreary winter months, packed with ideas for easy, fuss-free fundraisers that are perfect for any weather, and guaranteed to brighten up the long days ahead!

Check out our other event guides… coming soon!

Event ideas

Fancy trying something new this year?

In a recent PTAsocial poll, the most popular indoor events were discos, movie nights and quizzes. Most of you probably organise one or all of these events at least once a year, but here are some other ideas that you might want to try adding to your event diary for an easy profit boost.:

* Bingo – eternally popular with all ages, this can also be combined with a themed meal such as curry or fish and chips. Sell books of tickets in advance (or entry tickets) and scour the January sales for some great prizes at bargain prices 🙂

* Cake sale – never mind the diet, a slice of cake for a good cause never hurt anyone! Ask parents to donate cakes (homemade or bought) and sell off slices after school, for a quick and easy fundraiser. And by selling donated goods you’re guaranteed 100% profit, hurrah!

* Wine tasting night – ask your local off licence or wine merchant if they’ll hold a wine tasting evening in return for a share of the profits. This could be a winner for a February fundraiser after Dry January?!

* Comedy night – a great way to cheer up a cold and dreary month! Book local aspiring comedians to perform a family-friendly set, and get the kids up on stage during the interval to tell their best jokes! You could also include a free drink in the ticket price to entice more potential customers too

* Band night – a great covers band always goes down a storm at family events, combine it with a raffle and refreshments and you’ve got a fun and easy fundraiser!

* Secrets Room – this is a really popular event for special occasions like Mother’s Day,, Father’s Day or Christmas. Small gifts for parents are sourced and wrapped, then children bring in a couple of pounds and choose a gift to give their loved one. The kids really love being grown up and getting to pick a present all by themselves, this can be such a rewarding event 😀

* Afternoon Tea – this would make a lovely Mother’s Day fundraiser, or perhaps an Easter themed high tea, complete with a visit from the Easter Bunny?

* Easter Egg Hunt – lots of fun for the little ones. You could hide either plastic eggs, small chocolate treats or laminated numbered egg pictures around the school grounds for the children to find. Easter Eggs can be sourced quite cheaply from wholesalers, meaning lots of lovely profit for your school. And if you sell tickets in advance, you won’t be left with a mountain of eggs!

* Pamper night – a very easy and feel-good fundraiser for the colder months. Get local beauticians, hairdressers, nail technicians and masseurs to book stalls for a fixed fee, they can sell treatment slots in advance and also bring goods to sell on the night. Great advertising for them, lots of profit for you!

* Magic show – kids love a magic show, so this one is guaranteed to put bums on seats! And if you ask parents to stay too, you have a whole new captive audience 🙂 You could sell refreshments, magic wands and even have a bar for the grown ups (but make sure you have an alcohol licence.)

* Plant sale – approach a local garden centre and ask if they’d like to collaborate on a project to sell plants to parents for a share of the profits. Great advertising for them too!

* Karaoke night – could be an event in its own right,or a way to entice the kids to another fundraiser such as a quiz or bingo. And you’re guaranteed a bigger audience if you can persuade some teachers to take to the mic!

* Variety/talent show – a “School’s Got Talent” show is a popular one with kids who have skills they want to show off (and parents won’t be able to resist seeing their little darlings up on stage!) Lots of fab fundraising opportunities here: ticket sales, refreshments, raffle, interval games, lucky programme winner etc.

* Uniform/book/table top sale – 100% profit guaranteed for minimal effort here! Ask for donations of good quality, outgrown uniform and books and set up stalls at drop off or pick up time – you could set prices or just ask for donations. Make it a social affair and offer some refreshments too!

* Beetle drive – lots of fun and a game the whole family can play! You just need a dice and shaker for each table, pencils, a stack of photocopied beetle shapes and some family-friendly prizes. Minimal effort – what’s not to like?!

* Fancy dress ball – Who doesn’t love an opportunity to dress up?! You could wear posh frocks and suits, or fancy dress on a theme, or even have a masked ball! If you get the kids to make a mask in school they’ll definitely want to come along and show it off.

* Family photoshoot – Find a local photographer – maybe a generous, talented parent or recent graduate? – and organise a day of family photoshoots in the school hall or a spare classroom. Pre-book timed slots, and strike a deal for a share of the profits. This could become a great regular fundraiser for your PTA – it’s sure to be a winner with parents!

We love this idea – a Board Game Cafe combined with a second hand uniform stall:

And this sounds like our kind of fundraiser!

This is a nice and easy way to make a bit of extra cash!


Spread the word!

If you’re planning an event where the local community can take part such as a pamper night, maximise your footfall (and profit!) by advertising around the local area with printed banners displayed in prominent areas, leaflets and posters, newspaper adverts and local listings in “What’s On” guides. If a high street shop or business will sell event tickets on your behalf, this will also help spread the word and encourage on-the-spot purchases! And if you’re already signed up to PTAsocial, you can also sell tickets online!

For a school-only event, posters in classroom windows and flyers are a must, along with adverts in the school newsletter, parent texts and letters in book bags. An invitation designed by pupils is sure to attract attention, especially if you turn it into a competition! Maybe the winner gets a cool prize, or they could even cut a ribbon to open the event 🙂 Make sure you give parents lots of advance notice about your fundraiser, and encourage them to sign up and volunteer to help via PTAsocial by chopping the tasks up into manageable 30 minute chunks. Most people can spare half an hour, right?!

Maximise your profits

Make all the effort worthwhile!

If you’re going to commit your time and effort to a PTA event, you’ll want it to be worthwhile right? So we’ve come up with some some ways to make sure you maximise your profits.

* Parents, carers and grandparents are a wealth of knowledge and resources! So ask them if they have skills they can offer (DJ, caterer, printer etc)

* Gaining sponsorship for your event (or even your PTA) is a fantastic way of raising funds with little effort, and also creating community spirit. Ask parents if they run, or know of, a local shop or business that would be interested in the chance to advertise to a whole lot of parents (and potential customers!) We’ve recently launched an easy way to get potential sponsors and raffle prizes online via PTAsocial – no more trawling the high street with begging letters! Email us if you’d like to know more 🙂

* Sign up with a local wholesaler (some charge a membership fee and some don’t, so shop around!) Buying items in bulk like catering supplies will save you a bundle of cash and also maximise your profit margins.

* Make friends with other PTAs in your area, and consider sharing facilities! If one school bought a candy floss or popcorn machine, another purchased a bouncy castle and one some DJ lights, you could organise a sharing rota for all of your events so you could use these items without the extortionate cost.


Delegate, delegate, delegate!

We hear from lots of PTAs who struggle to recruit new volunteers. So here are a few simple rules to help you get lots more parents chipping in instead of the same people helping out at every event!​

The first rule is to be REALLY clear about exactly what needs doing. A fear of the unknown stops a lot of people getting stuck in, so be upfront about exactly what jobs you need people to do, and how long you expect to need their help for. And also whether or not their kids can tag along too (if you’re pretty relaxed about this it can really help boost volunteer numbers – plus there’s something that kids seem to LOVE about being in school when they’re not supposed to be!)

Most people don’t mind helping out for a short while during an event, so it’s worth remembering you’ll get lots more offers of help for a 30 minute slot on a stall than a 3 hour shift! Of course, if you’ve already signed up to PTAsocial you’ll know all about this already 😀 And if you haven’t – what are you waiting for?! Our free app helps schools make the most of its amazing parent community, minimising admin effort and removing the barriers that can often stop people from volunteering. What’s not to like?!​

Our blog has more hints and tips on recruiting more volunteers for your PTA.

And if you’re looking for ways to thank those amazing people who’ve stepped up to help out, we’ve got some lovely ideas on our Pinterest board

Enjoyed this guide?

Email us if you’d like a copy of this event guide as a downloadable ebook.

Have you joined our Facebook PTA Q&A group? A fast-growing community where you can ask PTA-related questions, share tips and advice or chat with like-minded volunteers!

And look out for #PTAhour on Twitter, running regularly throughout the school year on a Wednesday night. Click here for all the info you need to join in!


Did you know that PTAsocial’s free app is used by 1500+ schools to organise events and recruit more volunteers?

Take 2 mins to start a free account for your PTA now!

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