Show Me The Money! 5 Easy Lessons for Your Fundraising Program

With all the talk of fundraisers for the art room, are you feeling inspired? I know that after reading the great article about Artsonia and Art to Remember, I am interested in trying out some new things in my art room this year!

My experience with fundraising over the years has taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Whether you’ve been doing fundraisers for years or you’re trying it out for the first time, these easy lesson plans are guaranteed to get results.

Let’s go over some basics first. There are three main things that I have found really get great results and increase parent participation. In no particular order they are…

1. Use bright, bold media

Your fundraiser packet will usually suggest makers for this purpose. Working at an elementary school, I find the students have very little patience for coloring in their entire paper with markers, and therefore, I get a lot of scribbling. Because of this, I always use a combination of oil pastels and tempera cake paint. This combo allows the entire paper to be covered in bright, bold color in one class period.


2. Don’t let the kids choose what to draw

As an art teacher, I want students to have as much freedom as possible. I have found, however, that a beautiful flower will be an easier sell to parents than a ninja light saber battle. I generally do one theme for each grade level. Keeping it simple makes my job easier and also gives the students some focus.


3. Include student names whenever possible

Having the students write their names on the artwork makes it more personal. Including the school year is another great technique. Names and years encourage parents to order a keepsake for each year their child participates.


Now, onto the lessons!


Georgia O’Keeffe Flowers

This lesson is successful at any grade level. I usually do it with my kinders as a lesson in shape. We look at some of O’Keeffe’s work and notice how she always fills the page. I demonstrate how to draw a flower with oil pastels. We start with a circle in the middle of the paper. Students then choose another shape to add around the circle for petals. They continue choosing and adding shapes until they draw right to the edge of the paper. Once the flower is drawn, they paint over it with the tempera cake paint.



Under the Sea

My students study the ocean at the end of their kindergarten year, making this lesson a great place to start for my first graders. I read them a fun book, such as Over in the Ocean, for inspiration. Using what they saw in the book, we then brainstorm about all the different sea creatures they could put in their drawings. The sea creatures are done in oil pastel, and we use a wash of blue tempera cake paint to finish.


Beautiful Butterflies

Butterflies are great for any grade level, and grandparents love them! I tie my butterfly projects in with symmetry. The beautiful illustrations in Lois Ehlert’s Waiting for Wingsare a great reference for students. Oil pastel butterflies, tempera cake paint background.


Kandinsky- Inspired Grid

If you like to tie your projects to artists or art history, this would be a fun lesson for you to try. I have the students look at Kandinsky’s Color Study of Squares With Concentric Circles. We discuss how Kandinsky really thought about his color choices for each set of circles. Using oil pastels, the students divide their papers into 3×3 grids. Their names go in the middle and then they draw various concentric designs in the remaining spaces. Finish these off with tempera cake paint!


These hand designs are nice keepsakes and always a hit with parents. Students trace their hands and add their names and school year inside. The background is then divided into sections, which are filled in with different designs. Tempera cake paints add the finishing touch.


Keeping the ideas simple will let all artists in your room be successful. If you’ve been too nervous to try fundraising, I hope these ideas will inspire you to give it a go!

What other lessons have you found to be successful for fundraising? 

Any other material suggestions? We’d love to hear about them!



Amanda Heyn

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 


  • HipWaldorf

    This is brilliant.  One day for fundraiser art.  I have spent too much time on it over the years and now I am convinced you have the solution….oil pastels and tempera paint!  I am not a fan of markers in the art classroom because children can use them at home and in their classroom so easily, so I appreciate your insight.  Thank you.

    • I agree, HipWaldorf! I’m happy to help with fundraising, but I don’t want it to take hours and hours. I’m glad you’re going to try out this one-day technique. Let us know how it goes! :)

  • Pingback: 50 Ways to Make Art Class a Valued Part of Your Community | The Art of Ed()