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Pennies in bottles

Give your supporters a plastic bottle and ask them to fill it with coins - fundraising schemes don't come much easier than this!

Zoe Redmill, volunteer, Girlguiding UK, Southampton division:
'Pennies in bottles is one of the easiest initiatives we have used to raise funds. We source empty 200ml fizzy drink or water bottles from a local B&B or hotel, keep the lid on and cut a slot near the neck. We then make the slot safe with a sticker around it and stick another sticker on the side explaining what we are raising funds for. We give one bottle to each child. Amazingly around £8-worth of change fits into a full bottle. We ask our local B&B to keep the empty bottles back in advance - the lady who runs the B&B is a Brownie leader, so she's very supportive! We hand the bottles out at the beginning of September and ask for them to be returned by Christmas, but some still trickle in after that. Last year we raised £351.87 from around 100 of our girls. We treat it as a low-effort event, but the girls enjoy feeling that they have had some involvement in raising funds.'

Deborah Teasdale, PTA member at Covingham Park Primary School, Swindon:
'We used to run a Silver Smarties fundraiser, but as the school has Healthy Schools status, we wanted to avoid giving out sweets. Also, the children are encouraged to bring water to school for breaks and we wanted to support that. We had a lightbulb moment and came up with the idea of filling a bottle of water with coins instead - the name "Drink Up, Fill Up" came later! We purchased enough bottles of water for every pupil and sent a letter out via Parentmail a few days before sports day. As an added reminder, we stuck labels on the bottles with the "Drink Up, Fill Up" message. We asked school staff to distrubute the bottles for us on sports day itself. Depending when sports day falls, we usually give two weeks for bottles to be filled. We also send out a Parentmail reminder. It works really well, as children like filling the bottles and it's not something that requires too much time and effort from parents. It doesn't disrupt the school day and doesn't require a lot of school staff time either, although counting all the coins takes some time from the Friends! We usually make £340 profit. My advice would be to give the bottles out at the end of sports day, when children are going home - otherwise they drink the water and leave the bottles behind on the field!'


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