“Raking in the Dough!” (or… a leaf-raking fundraising idea)

| November 3, 2011 | 1 Comment

For the past 9 years my team has conducted a popular and successful fundraiser raking leaves for local homeowners in exchange for donations.  We’ve never earned less than $1,000.00 with just 2 days of work.

Getting the Word Out

The first year or so we advertised by stuffing a flyer in each teacher’s mailbox at the high school.   We also posted the info at local churches and contacted neighborhood associations to get the news out. We try to stay in the school boundaries of the high school but do have clients outside of these boundaries as well.

How Much Does It Cost?

We do not tell the homeowner how much to donate – we only say that most homeowners pay approx $3 per city-accepted bag raked.  We will also rake to a tarp or garbage can and drop the leaves on a different part of their property, such as woods or in a creek area, if the homeowner prefers.

Some Additional Tips

  • Students bring their own rake, gloves and lunch money.
  • The CG Director advertises the event in advance with our repeat customers having propriety and our band has even joined in to earn funds as well.
  • The school administration approves all fundraisers including this one.  Make sure, especially for outreach fundraisers like this one, that it is approved by your school administration.
  • The students NEVER enter the homeowners home or garage for any reason.  Not even to use the restroom.  We require students to stay in the public eye and to be on their best behavior.  Yelling or other types of bad behavior have never really been a problem for us.
  • We show students how to rake in the most efficient manner their first year.  We also talk about and I demonstrate the proper way to carry the full bags to the curb/garage.
  • I also have them alternate who is raking and who is bagging.
  • I buy hot chocolate at our local Quik Trip each morning we rake.
  • Adults do the driving and we pay for some gas to help offset costs.

We are consistently booked full.   No inventory, no sales and no cash for any student to collect.  Our school has a nearly 70% free and reduced lunch population.  Very few of our squad members can afford the cost of participation so they have the opportunity to work for student credit to pay for camp, purchase equipment and uniforms through this event and a variety of other fundraisers.  The community loves the event and, though exhausted at the end of the day, we can be proud to have paid our own way without being a burden to the community by selling things people don’t need – instead we provide a service people are grateful for!

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Category: Fundraising/Budgets, Team Management

About the Author (Author Profile)

Michelle Eggleston has coached at Des Moines East HS for 12 years. The Des Moines East program defines success, not by trophies, but by building pride and confidence in their students through teaching responsibility and work ethic.

Comments (1)

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  1. David Harris says:


    I’m interested in learning more about how you implement this fundraiser. From what I understand, you advertise the fundraiser, then do your clients/customers makie appointments for you to come rake the leaves? Or do you just choose one day to rake and rake the entire day for anyone who is interested?

    David Harris

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