In many areas, school starts this week. It used to be that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day were all about popsicles, bicycles and running through sprinklers, right? School seems to start earlier every year.
With all the recent budget cuts, districts are more in need of funds for even basic supplies so expect the doorbell to ring more this fall with kids selling the usual magazine subscriptions, chocolates and wrapping paper. Unfortunately, that revenue won’t cover the arts and sports so groups will still be open to new fundraising ideas.
Whether you’re an artist, crafts person or just good at organizing, this is the perfect opportunity for you to approach the PTA, sports teams or chorus and band leaders with a new fundraising project. Any group in need of funds will be thrilled to have someone else handle the details and have something that doesn’t require the kids going door-to-door.
A craft fair can be a high revenue, low-cost event to operate and is also a convenience for the teachers and parents who don’t have to use their personal days to run around town shopping for gifts. Simply contact the person in charge of the school bulletin to put out a call for entries or send a flyer home with the kids letting parents who are artists or crafts people know that you are organizing a crafts fair and include a booth entry form with your phone number and email address. Ask each participant to donate a specific percentage of her sales to the school, teams or organization. Ideally, each craftsperson will man her own booth or table. If you don’t have a network of artists on your radar, you can approach a local crafts guild to participate. And don’t overlook the obvious. While bake sales went out with poodle skirts, the new gourmet cupcakes and artisan breads command a higher price and are well received. Of course, hand-made soaps and body lotions are also considered crafts so include a good variety.
If your neighborhood school holds a fall festival, you may choose to piggy-back on that event and run the crafts fair simultaneously or you may find it more beneficial to run it as a separate boutique. However you do it, make sure to solicit help from other parents and artists.
Remember, each event is more exposure for your craft so be sure to always have a personal bio and tag with your contact info. Look at each time you show your work as an opportunity to build your mailing list of raving fans. Rather than see this fair as a one-shot time to sell your art, view it as exposure to more repeat collectors who will not only buy from you but tell their friends about your work. Include extra cards with each purchase so that your customers can pass them out to others who admire your work.
Do you have hints you’d like to share with other readers about raising funds with your crafts? As always, we’d love to hear your comments.