Organizing a book fair is a great fundraising idea that always seems to bring good results. Parents and teachers love such idea of a fundraiser that encourages students to love reading. Children get excited about reading and families get to spend time together on campus. Here are 10 tips to organize, publicize, and make your book fair a fun and exiciting event that kids will look forward to year after year.
Engage a planning team or committee to decide on dates, a place, a vendor or a theme for your book fair. The ideal time to schedule your book fair fundraiser is just prior to the holiday season. This kind of initiative is sure to encourage families to buy books as gifts. Be sure to include one or more family-centered evening shopping opportunities or parallel the book fair with parent-teacher conference week so families may easily attend.
Coordinate Book Selections:
Work with teachers, librarians, reading professionals, and the book fair vendor to determine the best books for the students in your school. Increase sales by including several interesting gift selections for parents and reading-related merchandise like bookmarks, pen, pencils, writing pads, and reading lights. If you are organizing a spring book fair at a public school, be sure to include books about many different holiday traditions. Also consider your parent preferences when ordering inventory. Some prefer religious-themed books, popular cartoon or video game characters.
Bring on the show:
Organizing entertainment at several different points during your book fair is one of the most effective ways to attract traffic to your store. Some of the most common events that can be considered are having choir sing a few songs, inviting local authors, or engaging customed voluteers read to the children. There are many other ways. Ideally, several grades will have a chance to perform and showcase their talent during the book fair. Families can’t resist a chance to see their children perform – and while they are there, kids can’t resist shopping.
Recruit Schedule volunteers:
Recruit Schedule volunteers. Request parents, teachers, members of the community, and older students to help. Mrs Nelsons Book Bindery lets you set up an online calendar that volunteers can easily access to choose their time slots, and sends an automatic email reminder two days prior to their shift.
Make sure all volunteers receive flexible choices so that they can find a job they are comfortable with. Possible roles include setting up and cleaning up, shopping assistant, cashiers, entertainment, and cassroom escorts. Offer 50 minute time slots, and allow ten minutes between each class visit to the book fair so volunteers have time to tidy up and restock.
Encourgae children to make posters. Holding a contest for the same can be an interesting idea. It would be great to post those posters in the hallways, in the carpool lane, and on school bus windows (if allowed). Notify the students through the school newsletter and advertise on the school website. Distribute fliers with envelopes among kids so that they can plan their purchases. Ask teachers to talk to their classes about books that will be on sale at the book fair to build interest and excitement.
Set up for success:
Post your volunteer assignments in one place so that everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when. Post instructions for how to operate the cash register and train your cashiers. Keep good records and create clear cash-handling procedures. Arrange the books by reading level, holiday theme, or author. Adorn the area with posters and displays. Make some arrangement for snacks and refreshments to keep your team energized.
Hosting barbecue or a spaghetti dinner in conjunction with book fair is an incredible idea you can trade on while school fundraising. Invite families, parents, and kids to attend the program. Share tips and activities for encouraging their kids to read. Raffle off prizes and gift certificates. These special events add excitement and attract more people to the book fair.
Engage a few volunteers to serve as “guides” for younger students, helping them to select books. Having guides wear a distinct uniform helps kids know whom to ask for help. Give guides a small stash of change to subsidize kids who may be just a little shy on the purchase price.
Approach each teacher to make personal wish-lists of several books he or she would like to have in the classroom. Have these selections set aside in well-marked boxes or baskets for shoppers to purchase as gifts. Provide name-plate stickers and pens so the buyer can dedicate these new class treasures.
Stamp books after they have been paid for, bag the items, and provide a receipt. Many local grocery stores offer branded reusable grocery bags as an added bonus for shoppers.