The school playground equipment is in need of repair, the library books torn and tattered. The band uniforms are frayed and the choir robes ragged. Budget woes may keep administrators from doling out funds to spiff up your child’s school. But you can help.

The new school year is here. It’s time to take charge! You can help your school district pay for repairs and improvements. Roll up your sleeves and organize a fundraiser. Form a committee to decide which project comes first and how much money you need to raise. Then cast your vote for one of the ideas below and let the preparations begin. Fundraising isn’t just about bake sales any more.

  • Silent Auction. Fiesta time! Set up a taco bar and serve margaritas. Hang piñatas and dance to the mariachi beat. Solicit auction goods and services from local businesses in return for publicity and excellent PR. Bid on romantic weekends, quality Chardonnay, exquisite fruit baskets or a day at a spa. Prefer a public auction? Hire a professional auctioneer for added fun and excitement. Charge per person.
  • Adult Sock Hop. It’s time for the mamas and the papas to rock and roll. Select one decade and hire a D.J. to spin a few tunes. Choose the 50’s; Elvis is your man. Prefer the 70’s? It’s disco all the way. Set up a refreshment stand and sell sweets and treats that reflect the era. Charge per couple.
  • Adult/Child Tennis Tournament. Love, anyone? Invite kids to choose a doubles partner – mom, dad or maybe Aunt Sally. Let the training begin. Teams climb the tennis ladder by process of elimination. Offer ribbons to all players and trophies to the winners. Charge each team an entry fee. Sell tickets to spectators and refreshments to all.
  • Limited Ticket Raffle. Raise $5,000 to purchase a new Mac for the computer room as fast as you can say Steve Jobs. Sell 200 tickets priced at $50.00 each. Total sales: $10,000. The lucky winner takes home $5,000; the school takes what’s left. Fun, easy, and everybody wins.
  • Can’t decide what to sell? Call in the pros at this fundraising supply site. They offer candles, World’s Finest Chocolate bars, frozen cookie dough, magazine subscriptions and much more. One-stop shopping for everything you need to plan a profitable event.

So next time your child comes home with a splinter from the playground, make some phone calls and roll up those shirt sleeves.