I am looking for ideas to start a business in my third grade class. I do not need a fundraiser, per se, because I want something that will make money consistently. I want my class to raise money for a school in Africa to help pay for tuition, etc. for their students.

I am not artistic, so that limits some ideas. We do not have access to an oven, so we cannot bake. The only idea I have come up with so far is "take and bake" dog treats/cookies. I mainly thought of this because I really like dogs, but I do not know if it is a sound idea or not.

My class is low income with very little parent support, which I need to consider in my plan. Any thoughts or ideas?

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Sounds like a touch situation. I could not think of anything off the top of my head, but maybe you could do various programs and not just one. Maybe something dealing with recycling or so?

Is this an ongoing thing or is there a particular deadline?

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You should look into the Young Entrepreneur Fair. Students have to come up with, market, create and sell an item. Whole grade groups do this in my district. For example grade 6 in one elementary did this and many ideas were: flower pens, scented candles (in shells, as we live by the ocean), braided & beaded bracelets, driftwood sculptures (with house tag #s), etc.
Good thoughts! Where can I find this Fair? I was having the thought about making some kind of office supplies to sell to local businesses, but I could not think of anything specific.
My school is also low income with very little parent support. Our fifth grade class sold Smencils. They sold extremely well. All grade level students were buying them for themselves, friends, and family. We sold them for a dollar a piece. Purchase one case and use earnings to pay yourself back and to purchase another case. You will eventually make a profit.
http://aimfundraising.com/smencils.htm We sold four and a half cases last year; each case has 500 pencils. Our customers came to us.
Those are awesome--thanks for the link!
Could you have raffles for savings bond or laptop computer? Maybe try writing Apple or Microsoft of your intention and idea to see if they would be willing to donate a laptop for the drawing. Maybe even Best Buy. If you make a big deal about it and let your local press know, they may be willing to help you out.
Better yet, have your class present the idea to Mac, Bank or Microsoft.
Some ideas:
Recycling scrap metal or cans? They collect from littered areas and you deliver to scrap yard?
An online product? Use a template to create online scrapbooks for older folks?
Bath bombs or homemade soaps? Recipes and idea on the net...
Tie-Dyed Shirts, Pants, Undies, Canvas Shoes?
Custom-braided belts, jewelry, leashes, etc from fabric scraps?
Tie-blankets for all ages?

Best idea: Buy and maintain a vending machine of some sort? Maybe one for your school grounds containing snacks, school supplies, and personal care items? Something small you could buy for a few hundred, pay yourself back and track which products sold better, worse, etc? Perhaps a business in the community would allow you to place it there because of who you are and where the money would be going? A business might even front you the money to buy it, if you make sure they get x% of your profits until it is paid off.
The smencil idea is a great one! A school in our district sold them last year and had to re-order several times. They are a big hit.

I found a few resources on edutopia.org (a fantastic site), that might give you some ideas if you want to have the fund-raising overlap with content areas for a project based learning activity. Here are two: From Worms to Wall Street (video) and Books For Africa.




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