I like things to be easy. At the beginning of the year, a fundraiser needs to be easy to fit into a hectic schedule. My team used to do a Spell-a-thon to raise funds, but that meant we had to then grade the 100 word spelling tests. Not necessarily fun. So we switched to a Walk-a-thon, and it has worked out great.
About a week before the walkathon we send home this note to the families:
It has some donation supplies on the bottom of the form, asking for bottles of water, or a treat to share after the walkathon. My big thing is to be able to give each child a water bottle when they walk.
On another sheet of paper we have the sponsor log.
Then we make a big deal in class and on email that our students will receive rewards for bringing in donations. Every $25 that a student brings in will earn them a homework pass. The top 3 earners will win a gift card to their choice of places (Target, Coldstone, Starbucks, Menchies...).
On Walking Day, I label the tops of the water bottles with their class numbers, and then put the bottles and an index card on their desks. When we head outside they bring both items with them. The water bottle is put near my corner of the blacktop so when they come by to get a tally mark on their lap (index) card they can also get a drink.
We have 4 classes, so each class takes a corner of the blacktop. Each teacher also chooses a different color sharpie to make tally marks on the cards, and the kids know they are only allowed to come to our corner to get credit for the lap. If kids want to take a seat, that's fine. But the competitive spirit usually makes some kids want to get as much as possible.
In 4th grade we walk for 45 minutes. Our first grade buddies walk for 30 minutes during theirs. Some years we have music blasting, some years it's a little quieter. The kids still have fun! All in all though it's a very easy fundraiser to complete.
What do you do to raise money?