One of the biggest struggles for a lot of Physical Education programs is budgetary. In some cases, teachers are lucky enough to work in a district where they have a budget that is fully capable of funding all of their needs and even wants. But for most, PE programs are one area where school districts cut all or some funding, leaving teachers with old, beat-up equipment and unable to try new technologies or ideas in their classrooms to help improve the motivation and fitness levels of students. Here is a fun physical education fundraiser that can help boost your budget!
At my school district, our elementary PE teachers host a fundraiser in an effort to bring in money to purchase much needed equipment. I call it the Run for the Money fundraiser because students are asked to find sponsors who will either donate a set amount of money or who will donate so much per lap completed by the student they are sponsoring.
For the first year or two, I’d recommend having the students run during their PE class time. This helps keep the numbers manageable and makes tracking their laps easier as well. Invite the students’ parents to attend and support their children. You can also ask them to help you with lap counting. The other advantage to having parents help you is when it comes time to calculate how much money each sponsor is going to owe each student. Again, remember if you have 500 students in your school and they each get 3 sponsors, that means 1500 calculations that you would have to write down, so get help!
When you have collected all of the sponsor’s donations and calculated your total amount raised, host a BIG celebration to announce the grand total! This is a great time to bring a spotlight to your program and the benefits of physical education.
Add in some competition by having grade-level competitions to see which grade can raise the most money, and offer the winners extra recess as a reward. I caution against awarding individual students who have raised the most money, only because most schools are going to have several students who simply can’t find a sponsor and don’t have the means to be a sponsor. Remember one of the other goals of the event is build school spirit and pride, and to make everyone feel like they are a big part of making your school better!
This might seem like an event that could get overwhelming; but if you get parents, classroom teachers, and your administration involved, it can be a very manageable and fun event for the entire school. Be sure to set goals and make the reason you are raising the money is clear to parents and students early on. People like to know what their donations are used for. So, for example if you would like to raise money to install a rock climbing wall, get the word out about the benefits of the wall and how it will be used in class.
Fundraising at the Middle- and High-School Levels
For those who teach at the middle- or high-school level, this is something you could do as well. It might be a little more challenging to get students to buy in to what you are doing, but it can be done. It can even be used as a school-wide fundraiser for a local or national charity. Sometimes an event like this, where everyone is trying to support a great cause, can really increase school spirit and pride and it may be just what your school needs!
If you have ever held an event like this, please share your stories and what went well and what didn’t. Let everyone know things to consider if they host an event like this. The more input from everyone the more successful an event like this can be for others!