Great Ways to Have a Great Carnival!
School Carnivals are a blast for kids and adults alike, and with cost-cutting everywhere, PTAs and school Booster Clubs are using them as an important fundraiser. Some schools haven't made the leap yet, because setting up and running a school carnival seems like it's just too hard. The truth is, with some simple organization, and an easy way for parents to sign up and work a school carnival shift, a school carnival isn't that hard to successfully pull off.
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The other great thing about school carnivals is that unlike an auction, which is usually an adults only event, school carnivals are serious fun for the whole family and serve as a community spirit raiser in addition to being a fundraiser for the school.
At my school, our Carnival took a siesta for a few years as more energy was put into the annual auction. But then a couple of our more experienced parents remembered how much fun it was and spearheaded a drive to bring it back. Thank goodness!!
I have a confession -- I'm not a person that enjoys the cost or chaos of County Fairs or amusements parks -- and I was biased against a Carnival for that reason. But with heavy arm-twisting from both kids, suddenly I'm standing in the field holding streamers of tickets looking for the next great opportunity to have fun. My favorite booths were ones that our parents and kids just made up -- there was a pen full of shaving cream and the kids sloshed around in it with some big play balls and you couldn't hear a conversation for the gales of laughter coming from the kids. Locking people up in made-up jail cells is always good, and here in Texas, cascarones are a must have (*for those of you outside the area, this is a real eggshell filled with confetti or birdseed that you smash on people or throw at them. Totally biodegradable and probably improves the soil!!)
Carnivals are really only limited by two things -- the inventiveness and the involvement of the parents -- because it takes a ton of people and coordination to make these things fly!! But with a good plan and a good volunteer coordination setup, these events can be put on and taken down in a short time window, with a major positive impact on the bottom line and the school community. Here's a link to our free eBook with Carnival Ideas to spark your planning: Fabulously Fun School Carnival Ideas.
VolunteerSpot's free volunteer scheduling software is perfect for coordinating your school carnival volunteer workforce. One coordinator can simply set up the entire schedule of volunteer tasks from preparation beforehand, to set up, staffing and finally breakdown and cleanup. It may take a ton of people, but once the job assignments and dates are in VolunteerSpot's free coordination and scheduling tool. simply pop in the parent email list and invite them to help. Shifts get claimed from each parent's email, and the coordinator can watch (in real-time) as the event gets staffed up. 2 days before each shift, volunteers are contacted and reminded where they are supposed to be (especially handy if they signed up months before and forgot!). On the day of the carnival, printouts of what everyone has signed up for and where they are meant to be can be brought to the event to help things run smoothly. All this handy coordination muscle is absolutely free, so start using VolunteerSpot today to make your school events way way easier.