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School fete

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#1 BRB

Posted 22 September 2019 - 03:13 PM

I need some help please. My kids school have not had a fete for almost 10 years because no one wants to organise one. Im considering doing it as we need an influx of cash for some small projects.

Can I please have some advise from anyone who has organised a fete... what works? What’s doesn’t?

Those who have been to school fetes ... what do you enjoy? What don’t you like?

Any advise or tips welcome. Thanks in advance.

#2 LiveLife

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:03 PM

Start by analysing the small projects and how they possibly could be direct funded. Otherwise you are double organising ie organising a fete and then secondly organising for the small project to be completed with the fete funds. Sometimes it’s just easier to direct fund the small project.  So if it’s to build a kitchen garden at school you can often get goods and services all directly funded to the actual project.

#3 Dianalynch

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:16 PM

We’re in the middle of fete organising...it’s a ton of work, see if you can apply for some grants for the projects, your federal, state map offices are good places to start for info

If you decide on a fete, the bbq, cake stall, other food stalls are popular, seek out local business sponsorship so anything the stalls make are profit, other popular things are the rides, silent auction, lucky jars stall, face painting,  trash n treasure, etc we run a twilight fete so in the early evening there is a bar, bands, food stalls

#4 Mollyksy

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:22 PM

It may be controversial but could you seek donations big and small in lieu? I'd happily give some cash to a avoid a fete! Except for toffee. Love a good toffee in a paper case! A fete is a labour (yyous especially) intensive event for not much return IMO.

I love PPs idea of a project at a time. Seeking donations from cash to labour to materials, as appropriate.

Our school recently did a quiz night? You could make it more family friendly on a weekend afternoon at the school with kids and adult questions? BBQ dinner? Not as big an event to organise and should bring in a decent return from entry to quiz comp and dinner, especially if you can get donated supplies and prizes.

Good luck!

Edited to clarify I'm not the fete grinch! I just recognize how much work they are.

Edited by Mollyksy, 22 September 2019 - 04:23 PM.

#5 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:26 PM

Have you considered other major fundraising activites like colour runs, Outdoor inflable screen movie nights, inflatable obstacle course stuff with a few stalls? That way you have a major attraction, plus only have to have a small amount of stalls operating which should be easier to get volunteers for? Or a parents auction night dinner with a silent online auction for non attendees to participate in? Local businnesses often are happy to donate gift vouchers or product in exchange for advertising during the event.
Fairs do require lots of stalls to be worthwhile and therefore lots of volunteers to run. If you can reduced or outsource the amount of people required it can be more successful.
Plus if you have a certain project to are needing to fund like playground upgrade rather than "general funds" you can often get grants from councils, charitable organisations such as Rotary, Lions or even businesses such as Real estate companies. They like to be able to promote involvement in the comunity on a physical thing, and signage advertising etc.

#6 Jenflea

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:32 PM

Our school does a fete on election days(we're a polling place) and it goes really well.

Helps that we have 4 years to organise it I bet too.
We ask local businesses to do a stall (bakery, craft, few MLM's, food stalls) the preschool does the cake stall and this year they did lolly jars where you did a pick and mix type thing in a cup.

We also do a Walkathon which parents and families etc sponsor, colour run, gold coin dress up days.

#7 JomoMum

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:38 PM

The best fairs we have been to, and I’ve worked at as a stall holder, have huge staff volunteering rates. So many activity stands for the kids to do (hair spraying, cupcake decorating, coits etc), and they are all manned by a “volunteering” staff member = maximum profit.

In my observation, choose either markets for stallholders to sell their goods, OR rides/games. Both doesn’t work.  
Make it on a weekend so people from the local community can come. Our school is doing. Friday 1-6pm one this year ... so many issues.
Contact a few local businesses to see if they would be interested in being a sponsor, promote them on FB a event page etc.

Get students to participate by making things that can be sold on the day- crafts, Christmas cards, potted seedlings etc.

Games like choc toss, ping pong balls into cups etc are relatively easy to set up and run and profitable.

Activities like plaster painting can be profitable if you can find a local business to supply them at a discounted rate for kids to sit down and do (paint from the art room and a paper plate can be provided by the school).

#8 gettin my fance on

Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:44 PM

A local school does a 'Night Market' when the weather is a bit warmer in the run-up to Christmas.

Lots of small businesses (handmade craft items/cosmetics/candles/cakes/clothing etc) hold a stall, pay a fee for stall (and may pay a small percentage of takings - not sure).  They sell some of their products and get to promote their businesses at the same time.

Even some local trades people get together and hold a stall - distribute flyers and business cards, chat with prospective customers.

There are still some fete like stalls, chocolate wheels etc.  

I know that as word spreads, the P&C have businesses contacting them to ask about stalls.  Depending on the size of your school, their may be a lot of parents who have a small business on the side that they would be happy to promote.

Edited by gettin my fance on, 22 September 2019 - 04:46 PM.

#9 28 Barbary Lane

Posted 22 September 2019 - 05:03 PM

If you live in a big community and are doing the whole school fair thing so looking for volume, definitely go the weekend route.

The rides and a prepaid wristband seems to be a pretty good earner. Hair spraying is another that seems to bring in a bit of $$ (need parent volunteers if all day though).

Books/toys/clothes are all great but what you don’t sell has to be cleaned up at the end and it can be a bit stressful.

Outdoor movie night is a pretty good earner with less coordination/volunteers/clean up required that a weekend school fete.

Best of luck!

#10 MsLaurie

Posted 22 September 2019 - 05:04 PM

One I went to recently ran it in conjunction with an open day for the school, showing off the classrooms, doing tours etc. The school has declining enrolments due to demographic changes in the area, and this was a good way to get people to come, and have a bunch of activities for a gold coin from a wider group than just the usual parents group.

#11 BornToLove

Posted 22 September 2019 - 05:05 PM

I am on our schools fete committee and it’s a lot of work. You really need buy-in from parent volunteers, without it you are basically pushing rocks up hill.

Our school does one stall per year level - second hand toys for FOYS, BBQ for year 1s, etc. this is important as parent engagement at our school is low. We also have rides and market stalls from the community, which is where most of our money comes from. Food stalls (other than BBQ) is all outsourced including bar. Stage Music is coordinated by our very wonderful music teacher.

I would suggest if you are looking to raise funds but not go all out on a fair, to run a market. Other schools in our area do this and they do quite well and have generated a really nice community feel to them. They have the maker stalls and food trucks, the school that puts it on has a few stalls they make money from (used books, BBQ etc) but make most from the fee they make from the stall holders.

#12 #YKG

Posted 22 September 2019 - 06:08 PM

The school near me does car boot sales, depending on how big the car is depending on fee, the flyer I got said hatchback $20, Sedan $25, SUV/4x4 $30, van/truck $35, everyone mans their own boot, they get a variety of people like people selling pre worn kids clothes, toys, MLM, homemade stuff, they also had a few food trucks people could buy from, they had a few kids distraction activities like face painting, basketball/football clinic (gold coin donation thing).

They also do a “community summer movie night” early in the evening is the “family” movie (usually kids movie) early this year was toy short 3 and the adult one was Aquaman which started at like 9:30pm. They had food trucks and entry was $10, you could bring a picnic, byo chair or hire a bean bag for $5 I think. Was a good night.

#13 seayork2002

Posted 22 September 2019 - 06:35 PM

You might be willing but will you get enough volunteer from everyone else?

Ours doesn't which is why we haven't had one in about 10 years (in told)

The other schools have some, one annual massive one which is a full on professional one but lots of parents volunteer also.

#14 ~J_F~

Posted 22 September 2019 - 06:53 PM

We have an annual fair, it raises a decent amount of money - like $25k. It’s on a Friday evening.

Each year level has a stall, that way we get enough helpers. Different clubs do things like showbags, hot chips, hot dogs, popcorn and fairy floss!

Everything for the stalls in donated.

The BBQ is a huge money spinner - we do steak sandwiches, chicken kebabs, sausages in bread. You can get them with salad.

We also do a whole heap of inflatable castles, ride on jeeps, rock climbing, sumo wrestling and so on. You can buy wrist bands early for $25 or $30 on the night.

Adults pretty much wander the stalls then grab a table and socialise while the kids go and play.

Edited by ~J_F~, 22 September 2019 - 06:53 PM.

#15 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 22 September 2019 - 07:01 PM

OK, OP, fetes can be massive money spinners... or a way to p*ss off every last parent and ensure no-one volunteers for anything ever again.

I walked into a P&C in option 2. So we've taken a difference approach.

Walkathons are great. Easy to organise, easy to make $3-$4k. That's with 230 kids in a low SEC area.

Another things that make $1000 are raffles. We do one for easter (drawn at the end of the easter hat parade) and one for Halloween (drawn at the end of the halloween parade). Both times, the prizes are hampers, we spend about $100 (or get a nice parent to buy and not ask to be reimbursed)

Cakes stalls - also easy $2k.

And all MUCH easier than a fete...

#16 Fossy

Posted 22 September 2019 - 07:09 PM

It is pretty much a full time job for the main organizer, so be prepared for that, especially in the month leading up to the event.  Utilise the school community, get people to help in Areas they already have experience in, ie marketing, advertising, IT, logistics etc. Use their expertise to your advantage.
Visit other fetes and see what’s popular, we make around $20k alone from the bar so look into that! Show bags, face painting, animal farm and providor are also popular, as well as get good food stalls, great food will keep people on site spending more money.
Speak to local schools, don’t schedule 2 local fetes on the same day/weekend.
Run your auction online too so people can bid in the weeks leading up to the fete and also bid if they can’t attend, our profits soared once we went online. There are lots of free websites that will host.
Good luck, it takes a big team of very driven and passionate people to organise, get your team organized and on task early.

#17 JomoMum

Posted 22 September 2019 - 07:11 PM

View PostBornToLove, on 22 September 2019 - 05:05 PM, said:

I am on our schools fete committee and it’s a lot of work. You really need buy-in from parent volunteers, without it you are basically pushing rocks up hill.

Our school does one stall per year level - second hand toys for FOYS, BBQ for year 1s, etc. this is important as parent engagement at our school is low. We also have rides and market stalls from the community, which is where most of our money comes from. Food stalls (other than BBQ) is all outsourced including bar. Stage Music is coordinated by our very wonderful music teacher.

I would suggest if you are looking to raise funds but not go all out on a fair, to run a market. Other schools in our area do this and they do quite well and have generated a really nice community feel to them. They have the maker stalls and food trucks, the school that puts it on has a few stalls they make money from (used books, BBQ etc) but make most from the fee they make from the stall holders.

Market stalls can definitely be a great way to raise revenue. As the event organiser, you need to make sure the stalls appeal to your target market and that they are a well curated selection of holders. There also needs to be a lot of promotion of the stalls so people know who will be there. I have been to one event that charged a very high fee, for a school fete, and gave no promotion to their stallholders and we all had a disastrous days of sales and would never go back. Just some feedback as a stallholder :)

#18 Lunafreya

Posted 22 September 2019 - 07:36 PM


Tombola stall, kids in the school bring in jars/bottles
White elephant stall. You do need volunteers to sort through crap in the donations.

And here’s another: contact your local 501st Legion of Rebel Legion. They can show up for free for photos and all they generally require is a free room to change in. A donation to their nominated charity though is appreciated.

#19 PrincessPeach

Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:00 PM

For the pp suggesting a colour run, our very mixed socio-economic based school had one recently & we raised over $50,000 - with approximately 800 kids, its not a bad effort.

Cant help much with the fete organising, but i recall when i was at school mum making up massive batches of marshmallows for the lolly stall. As well there were option for donating new goods as prizes for games.

#20 Bearynice

Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:27 PM

I think school fetes are an awful lot of work. It’s great if you have a team of about 20 reliable volunteers.... but if you don’t have a big team then something like a lapathon or colour run makes plenty of money for minimal fuss.

School fete also is after hours, in term four which can be crazy I think things during school hours work well.

#21 can'tstayaway

Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:35 PM

I’ve been involved with a few schools and I have to stay I’m ‘fair’ed out. I would much rather make a direct donation for a purpose.

A public primary school (high SES area) we were at, makes about $60-80k every second year from the school fair. It takes A LOT of work and I’ve noticed the support is dwindling from when we were there.

Another primary public school, where I know families that attend, makes $60k from a boozy mother’s lunch. Still lots of organising but a lot less than a fete/fair. The restaurant does a deal near cost price for them. Lots of local businesses donate prizes for the raffle and the local shops (including the Coles) also sell tickets at their registers so they make money from more than just the school community.

As a parent, I have had enough of the spending hours preparing for a stall that only makes a few dollars. I hate begging people for donations or to help. I have purchased cakes to put in a box for cake stalls. I have donated items for raffles/auctions and seen it make less money than the item was worth. I get annoyed with opening the wallet for children to spend on ridiculous amounts of junk food, overpriced dangerous rides, and general clutter or having to be the mean parent who says no.

#22 Chocolate Addict

Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:57 PM

The main reason a lot of schools don't do them is because they can't get volunteers. For a good fete you need at least 20 reliable volunteers.

I run markets , things to consider -staff/volunteers, insurance (because it is a public event), $$ to hire rides (ride packages cost $5k +) , stalls both school run and public.

Get every year involved which would mean parents donating something, jars or chocolate or cakes etc.. can be hard to get. Also all food needs to be fully labeled (at least in Victoria) which can be a pain.

Businesses, lots of local small business, craft etc but you need to ensure they all have insurance plus any food trucks you get (or your own) require council registration,at least in Victoria.
Advertising - contact real estates to see if they will donate the billboards, run a competition within the school to design a billboard and flyers. You would then need a prize. I pay a graphic designer a smallish fee (mates rates sort of).

Our last school fete with 2000 students raised about $20k, our school colour run raised around the same amount with much less work.
For the colour run we got the local fire brigade and used the local public oval which is on the same block of land as the school. The volunteers ran a sausage sizzle and they were giving out zooper doopers to all that took part.
Teachers and year 12 students threw the colours and water. Parents and family came along to watch, bought a sausage and drink etc..

#23 Meepy

Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:04 PM

Fete takings can be subject to weather and other events.  Our 2 years ago fete made $50,000, the one a couple of weeks ago made $30,000 as it was really cold and raining most of the day. It also had more volunteer spots than students at the school.  A massive effort is required by the whole school community.  State primary school mid ses.  In a neighbouring suburb they make $100,000 each fete, difference is they sell alcohol and have better auction/raffle prizes.

#24 lozoodle

Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:26 PM

You need a lot of volunteers and its a tonne of work. our school has one every second year, and its largely donations and volunteers and freebies that help run it, none of this would be possible without everyone stepping in and offering something. There's a huge amount of of work put in by everyone, but as a result the overall spend is low. We raised over 40k last year (profit) and our school is quite small with less than 500 students.

#25 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 22 September 2019 - 09:40 PM

Fossy: 20k just from the bar? What's your secret? Do you change the labels to high end stuff, or does every parent just get sozzled?! :D I don't think ours makes anywhere near that much.

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