Party Ideas for School Fundraising

Sociables can raise significant funds for your school

A sociable is an informal social gathering frequently involving a special activity providing people the opportunity to visit with each other. Most schools have a designated event, typically, an auction or festival where parents can secure a party spot for an adult or kid sociable. Auction guests purchase a sociable spot for a manageable “fixed” amount and collectively make a huge impact. For instance, let’s say that Mrs. Smith is hosting an ice cream social for her class. Each spot is $20 per child and there are 25 students in her class. That comes out to $500 for just the one party. Ideally, if you have found a sponsor to underwrite the supplies, that is full profit for the school. As you can see from the above example, social parties can raise significant funds.

Fundraising committees are creative in organizing gatherings for both kids and adults. Everyone enjoys a party and supporting their school is an added benefit. Space the parties out throughout the school year so there is no conflict with other school events or major holidays and include a theme for extra excitement. If you are not already incorporating social parties at your school, consider how you can include on your planning calendar. After assisting many schools over the years, I would like to share a partial list of some parties that clients have used in the past.

Kid Gatherings
You can have a lot of fun putting together kid gatherings. Keep in mind age appropriate activities and themes that are broad to include a class, grade or even entire school event. Some kid sociable that have been organized by schools have been: Principal’s Ice Cream Social or Grilled Burger Lunch, Free Dress Day, Sports Lock-In, Grade Level Pool Party or Rock Climbing Party to name a few. A fixed amount per student is charged and a limited or unlimited number of students can participate. Some events can be sold for the purchaser’s child plus one to include child’s guest so “none of my friends are going” would not be an issue.

Parent Parties
Parents do not want to miss out on the action either. There are so many ideas to build community and have fun. Party hosts can plan sociables for moms, dads or couples. The ideas are endless! Ladies can enjoy brunch, spa day, trunk show, and a get-away. Dads can enjoy a ball game, beer tasting, sailing or hunting. There are a variety of parties to plan for couples which can include a progressive dinner, with a variety of cuisines (Indian, Italian, Spanish, Etc.)
Couple parties can also be planned around a theme such as Cinco de Mayo, Tailgate, Dance Party or Scavenger Hunt.

Translating your party ideas into actual results

Here is an illustration of how one local school raised funds with their parties. The below numbers are actual results tallied per party. A partial list from the total party list has been provided to show price points for a variety of parties. As you can see, even with just eight parties, the school raised about $25,000. Start with a manageable number of parties, and see how you can implement parties that work for your community. Feel free to contact me for more ideas on creative sociable fundraising.


Valarie Minetos, Business Development Manager of CrestWare, Inc. (providers of AuctionStar® software and services) has chaired and consulted on silent auction fundraising events. Valarie was drafted into fundraising by her children’s soccer teams, where she became enamored with helping non-profit organizations through the application of technology and volunteer management. She has published several articles in Ronald McDonald House Charities Headquarters “Flash Facts”, Ronald McDonald House Charities “Hearts and Hands” and Advancing Philanthropy magazines. She leverages extensive commercial experience including small business management, sales and marketing management and accounting in various positions with Prudential Insurance Company, Prudential Health Maintenance Organization and Chevron Corporation, as well as international business experience with the National Bank of Greece.

Valarie holds a Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees in Marketing and International Business from the Ohio State University and an MBA from the Ohio State University.

You may reach Valarie at 713.665.1231 or

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