Top Tips for Organising Your Next School Fete or Fundraiser

If you’ve been co-opted onto your school’s parent council or fundraising committee you’ll already understand that there’s a lot of work that goes into organising a successful fete or event.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ve got some tips to make planning easier and help you get the most from the special day.

Make a Plan, Select a Date and Set a Budget

Before you dive into booking rides and equipment, make sure the basics are planned right. The most important starting point is the date and budget, then the venue (usually at the school) and theme can fall into place next.

Check with other local schools and community groups to find a time when nothing similar is on nearby. You don’t want the fundraiser to clash with any sporting events or activities staff/children may already be committed to.

Assign someone to manage the budget properly (including handling cash on the day of the fete). Use an event money tracker to budget for everything – from the small decorations to the big-ticket items. There are multiple free templates and tools to use.

Cross check all the finer details for your date, venue, budget and theme. Are there any regulations you need to abide by for food handling and health and safety? Do you need to arrange insurance? Does the event require security and/or traffic management?

Create A Carnival Atmosphere

Once you’ve got your plan in place and dates decided, it’s time to consider entertainment. While your school may be setting up stalls and games, hiring a few quality amusements will help create a carnival atmosphere, attract families and keep visitors around longer. If everyone’s having a great day, they’ll stay longer, eat more food, spend on the stalls and return next year for more.

Inflatable amusements are always a favourite and options to design your own package mean prices can be kept to within budget and reasonable ticket prices set to raise funds. It’s also one of the easiest activities to set up and organise with many companies providing free delivery (metro), set up and pack up as part of the hire charge.

Laughing clowns, teacher dunk tanks, Piñatas, face painting, raffles, petting farms, giant bubbles and arts and craft stalls are great to include as well.

If space and budget permit, small carnival rides and sideshows can add to the hype of the big day, providing there’s enough staff to monitor everything. Don’t go overboard – 2-4 rides are sufficient. Make sure the entertainment and activities you choose for the fete coincide with the theme.

A wide range of food, stalls and entertainment is also key to the success of the event. Think market stalls selling homemade wares, jams, dips, plants and craft stands. You can get as creative as you want!

Recruit Helpers Early

Schools fetes and fundraisers, regardless of the size, demand many hands to help. Recruit a reliable team. Creating a ‘fete committee’ is important. Someone should be assigned to be the convener, treasurer and secretary to encourage a smooth process before, during and after the event.

Encourage as many parents as possible to help, whether it’s baking something for the stalls, collecting money on the day or overseeing one of the rides. Work together to assign the best-matched jobs for each person well before the event.  Have a few people on standby too – just in case.

You may also want to consider sponsorship and calling for donations well prior to the event.

Be Smart about Food Selection

A school fete isn’t complete without tasty treats! Organising a good food selection can be tricky especially when trying to cater for a wide range of tastes and dietary requirements.

Hot food stalls are usually the most profitable area for fundraisers and fetes, so ensure traditional hamburgers, hot chips and sausage sizzles are on the menu. Try to offer a few healthier options too. This will break up the greasy food and regular donuts and ice-cream stalls. Don’t forget to have multiple drink stands, coffee and tea stalls and water available.

Promote Your Event

How are you going to get attendees to the event? The great thing about school fetes is most parents will be involved in helping, which means families generally come on the day. Aim to boost the numbers via advertising in school newsletters and on website and social media channels to spread the word. Put posters up around the school or have flyers sent home.

Check with your local newspaper to see if they offer free community notices. Take advantage of school databases and notices to help build awareness. If the school has a Facebook page, create a Facebook Event to promote across other marketing channels. It’ll make it easier for people to invite their family and friends and RSVP too. Use videos, share photos from last year’s event or post countdowns with what people can expect to create excitement.

Map it Out

Make sure families know where to find everything. Map everything out prior to the event to determine where stalls and rides will be. Make sure people know where to find the closest toilet and water station. Pay attention to how spread out everything is. You want everything to be close and easy to find – signs can also be helpful.

Don’t forget – carnival rides and pop-up stalls will need their own power. Planning their set-up location before the big day will help to eliminate any issues.

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