School Fundraising Idea - Wheel of Misfortune

Ron Strand

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Many fundraising ideas involve the enjoyment people have in the misfortune of others, as long as it is safe and no one gets hurt. This is especially true if the person suffering the misfortune is someone like your principal, coach or teacher. That’s why dunk tanks, head shaving and pie in the face remain popular fundraisers.

This school fundraising idea builds on that concept, adding to it the idea behind a popular TV show. Here’s how it works:

Make a big wheel like the one used on a popular TV show that is divided in sections, spins on an axle and has flexible plastic dividers separating each section. If making a wheel like this is difficult in your circumstances, a large pair of dice made from foam or cardboard will work just as well. A different misfortune is written on each section of the wheel or each side of the dice. The examples used earlier could work, such as, head shaving, pie in the face, or getting doused with water. Other ideas are getting wrapped in toilet paper, covered with shaving cream, covered in slime, or eating something disgusting.

Celebrity participants agree to do or submit to, whatever misfortune turns up on the wheel or the dice. Your principal, coach or teachers are likely prospects. Other prospects may be the student council, team captains or other school officials. Parents may also participate. Depending on your location, other celebrities might include prominent business people, town council, mayor or police chief.

The celebrity participants should only agree to do what is on the wheel if a minimum amount of money is pledged. People can pledge towards each misfortune. The more popular misfortune will raise more money. When the participant celebrity spins the wheel or throws the dice and then does the misfortune they spin or roll, the people who have pledged towards that misfortune must pay up. If you are concerned about collecting pledge payments, you may want to collect the money in advance, and have someone trustworthy hold the funds, to be turned over to the school when the task is completed.

The fundraising event at which the wheel is spun and participants get sprayed, dunked, pied or whatever, should be organized so that there is a minimum of mess to clean up. You may have more options if the event is held outdoors, but indoors can be done with some planning and care. Make sure you work with school maintenance staff and get their ok before you start throwing water or pies around.

The fundraising idea should be organized and promoted like any other event. Organize volunteers to do specific jobs, publicize the event in school newspapers, local papers, and other media. Decide on what misfortunes and which celebrities will participate before you publicize the event. This will increase the amount of the pledges and funds raised.

This is a school fundraising idea that is unique, low cost and has the potential to raise a lot of money and be a lot of fun.

Ron Strand is a part-time member of the Faculty of the Center for Communication Studies at Mount Royal College, where he teaches applied communications in the business school, and the President of Strateo Consulting Inc. a fundraising, marketing, and communications consulting firm. He has three undergraduate degrees, a Master of Arts Degree in Integrated Studies, and a Certified Fundraising Executive designation from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He is also a member of Mensa and the International Association of Business Communicators.


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