Why am I including this page of fund-raising ideas for spelling bees? It's because some school districts are well-funded and others are not, yet all school systems should be able to hold their own spelling bees!
These ideas may help to level the playing field so that more schools can offer excellent, motivational spelling bee competitions in their communities.
You don't have to spend much money at all to hold a spelling bee. You can use the free spelling bee words here at Spelling-Words-Well. Or you can compile your own lists of spelling bee words.
Likewise, you can print off some of my free spelling bee certificates, or you can make your own. And, you can give away prizes that others have donated, or you can skip the prizes altogether. (Although, I must warn you, you'll have some very disappointed, talented kids!)
However, if you conduct spelling bees for several years in a row, you'll probably need to start thinking about fundraising ideas. Sooner or later, most spelling bee coordinators become overwhelmed with the monumental task of compiling appropriate word lists, adding definitions, writing sentences, researching the language of origin, etc. They eventually wish to purchase graded spelling bee word lists, like the ones offered on this website.
You may also want to purchase professionally-made certificates, and you will probably want to give out at least a few fabulous prizes!
Here are a few ways you may be able to cover the costs of your bees:
Tell them up front what your expenses will be and ask if they would like to cover all or part of the cost. In exchange, tell them their business name and logo will appear on all of your spelling bee notices and programs. They may view a donation to your bee as an advertising expense, and/or a way of building better community relations.
Think about newspapers, radio and television stations, as well as stores, services and manufacturers.
Business may be happy to donate prizes, even if they are unable to give cash, so be sure to offer them that opportunity.
Sometimes they have a bit of cash to use for worthwhile education events. A spelling bee certainly fits this description. This group may also be able to help you on the day of the bee with such tasks as greeting attendees, passing out programs, serving refreshments or cleaning up.
Sometimes those who know you best and already believe in what you're doing are happy to contribute; they only need to be asked! Often, these people might be able to give only a portion of your total need, but remember that all assistance you receive is valuable. These folks will probably probably wish to remain anonymous, and that's okay.
If none of the above fund-raising ideas seem to work for you, consider holding bake sales, candy sales, or other similar events in which all the proceeds go into your spelling bee fund. It's not a bad idea for the spellers and their families to take part in this side of the process.
Be sure to extend your heartfelt thanks to all who donated and helped you in anyway with your spelling bee. Say "thank you" by name, if appropriate, at your spelling bee. Mail written thank you notes, too.
If you have more fund-raising ideas, especially ones that you've used successfully, please tell me about them. I'll add them to this list.