Winter Fundraisers Series: How to Host a Penny Wars Fundraiser

Penny Wars Fundraiser

Penny wars are a fantastic way to get people to donate to your cause. Curious?  Read on!

What is a Penny War?

Penny war fundraisers are a style of fundraising where different teams, groups, or etc. compete to see who can raise the most money.

This is how it works:


Get a bucket or empty water cooler. You’ll need one container for each team. Design a sign or other kind of artwork that clearly shows which bucket belongs to which team.

Place these containers in a central location that’s relevant to your fundraiser. So, if you’re raising money for a school, display your penny war buckets in a hallway with high traffic. Fundraising in an office? Position your penny war buckets in your break room.

Start the War!

Now, it’s time for the war of dollars and cents! Participants in a penny war donate change to their team’s bucket. Whichever team collects the most change in their bucket during your fundraising period is the winner!


Penny wars can have prizes, but they don’t need to. Usually the people donating to the cause will also benefit from the funds raised. However, if you want to incentivize your donors with a small “winner’s reward,” that could generate more interest in your penny war fundraiser.

How To Host a Penny Wars Fundraiser

All you need for a penny war fundraiser is buckets (or some type of receptacle), a place to keep them and two or more competing teams. Here’s a few ideas for the types of teams and groups that can benefit from penny wars:

High School Penny Wars: Freshman Vs Sophomores Vs Juniors Vs Seniors

Encourage the different graduating classes to compete in a penny war. Use the funds raised to produce school-wide benefits.

Sports Teams: Varsity Vs Junior Varsity – OR – Sport Vs Sport

If it’s two divisions of the same team, the money raised can directly benefit that sports team. If you run your penny war against competing sports, try doing it during the same season.

Penny Wars for Adults: Millennials Vs Generation X – OR – Pirates Vs Ninjas

If you’re fundraising audience is a group of adults, you can still have a penny war. If you don’t have different “teams” just choose two fun groups or ideas that people can donate to. The first example separate competitors with the year they were born. The second is silly and cosplay friendly – what are you, a pirate or a ninja!?

A Fun Variation For Your Penny War

Want to step up your penny war competition? Put meaning on the literal pennies with this fun variation:

Teams are encouraged to put pennies in their own team’s bucket. Each penny is worth a point. The team with the most points at the end of the fundraiser wins.

Each team is also encouraged to donate other forms of currency in the opposing team’s bucket(s). Each piece of non-penny currency is results in 1 point getting subtracted from that team’s total points.

For example, Team A has 1500 pennies in their bucket, but they also have $250 in other currency (nickels, dimes, quarters and various dollars.) As a result, their penny war points are 1250.

This version of a penny war can bring extra profits because it encourages higher denomination donations and creates more competition for the participants.

Increase Profits with a Penny War Party

Throw a fundraising event and include a Penny War as one of the activities.  For example, if you have a buffet dinner fundraiser, have two team buckets at the beginning and/or end of each line.  Before people begin going through the line, divide them into teams and let the donations begin!


Winter Fundraiser Series: Flowery Fundraiser in February

How to Do a Flowery February Fundraiser

If you are looking for a fundraiser to do during the winter months, February is a great month for which to plan. Valentine’s Day is a holiday when gifts are given, so it is a perfect time for a fundraiser.  People love giving and receiving candy and flowers, so why not have a fundraiser that supplies them?

Start Early

While this fundraiser is fairly simple, it is date sensitive so start planning early.  Because you will be delivering the flowers on a particular day, the florist will have a deadline for the order so they can deliver your flowers to your group on time.  You need time to take and collect orders.  You also need time to plan.  Therefore, pull your fundraising team together in plenty of time to get everything planned.


Planning a flower fundraiser is easy. Start by assembling your fundraising leadership team.  The team doesn’t have to do all the work. They help plan and make sure that all the work gets done.

Determine the Type of Flowers to Sell

Easy Alternative to Live Flowers

Chocolate flowers are usually chocolate lollipops shaped like flowers. This is a fundraiser that is especially good for elementary schools.  It’s simple.  Purchase the lollipops and then sell them.  Companies like The Goodies Factory offer a wide selection.

The first step is to determine which type of flowers you might want to sell — live or otherwise. For this article, we are going to focus on live flowers.

Research which type of live flowers you would like and where you will get them. Get in contact with your supplier to find out when you need to place your order so that you receive them on or around February 14th.

You also need to determine if you want to sell individual flowers or arrangements.  This can be determined by profit made per sale as well as by simplicity. It is much easier to sell and deliver individual roses for Valentine’s Day than to deliver whole arrangements.

Finally, plan for prizes to help motivate sellers.  The amount spent on prizes should be a very SMALL percentage of the profit.  Don’t be afraid to go to local businesses and ask for donations to use as prizes.  You’d be surprised at how motivating a free pizza or hamburger can be.  Offer a large prize for the top 1-3 sellers.  If possible, offer a small prize to anyone who meets a certain sales target.  For example, it could be a $5 Starbucks gift card for anyone who sells 30 roses.

Organize Your Group

Once you know your product and deadline, recruit and organize participants to do the selling.  How you organize depends on the size of your group. Smaller groups can simply distribute order forms to your participants and have them take orders.

Larger groups will need to break your sellers into smaller groups with each group having a leader.  Some organizations naturally break into groups such as schools. Each classroom becomes a group with the teacher as a leader.  Group leaders are responsible to distribute and collect order forms from the participants.

Promotion and Sales

Get the word out!  Make up the fliers and distribute to friends and family. Use social media to your advantage. Send out invites to order your fundraiser flowers. Take orders as they come in and do not be afraid to follow up with people you have contacted but have not yet placed their order or said they would rather not.

Collect the Orders

Depending on the size of the group, you may want to give 2-3 days for participants to turn in their orders.  However, set a specific date and time by which all orders need to be turned in.  Be sure to emphasize this deadline to participants and group leaders.


Some groups, especially larger ones, set a date and time during which customers can come pick up their orders.  Others prefer to deliver which is more personal and shows a bit more customer service.

If you are selling individual roses, it is easy enough to have a list of all participants and have them come and pick up the number of roses they need to deliver to their customers.

If you are selling arrangements, hopefully the florist sorts the orders.  If the florist does not sort orders, you will need to have a team to sort the various flower orders for distribution to individual customers.

If you have a smaller group, simply give the flowers to the participants and let them deliver them.  For larger groups, distribute the orders to the group leaders who, in turn, give the orders to individual participants.  The participants can then deliver the orders.

Throw a Prize Party

The goal of the party is to create a final fun memory associated with the this fundraiser so that your group is motivated for the next one.

Most groups need to fundraise more than one time per year.  Therefore, it is important to keep your group energized and motivated.  Once the fundraiser is done, throw a party for the participants.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Just make sure it’s fun.  While at the party, award the top sellers in front of the group and then make a big deal out of distributing the smaller prizes as well.