Align Back-to-School with Back-to-Fundraising for Your COTA Community Campaign

Wake Up … It’s time for school!

Whether your local schools are already in session or just getting ready to start, back-to-school season is upon us. That means this is the perfect time to plan and host back-to-school COTA fundraisers in your community.

We encourage you to consider these COTA fundraising ideas as yellow school buses are spotted in communities across the country:

Back-to-school garage sale. Collect donations of unused school supplies, clothes and, if you live in a college town, dorm room furniture to sell as the school year begins. You will not only save families a trip to the store but also save them money by having new or gently used items for sale.

COTA Paper Icon or Coin Canister competitions. Seeing which class can raise the most money for COTA in honor of your local patient over a period of time is one of the most popular types of fundraisers teams pursue with schools. Use COTA Paper Icons – a donation of $1 or more gets a student’s name listed on a Paper Icon that gets hung up in the classroom or out in the hallway – or COTA Coin Canisters – adding however much change or dollars they’d like. The winner is the class that ‘scores’ highest based on the number of icons sold or amount of change contributed. A pizza or ice cream party can be a great reward for the winning class.

Sporting events. Ask your local school for permission to run the concessions stand for a game or two and have all (or a portion of) proceeds go to your COTA community campaign. During these games, make halftime announcements about COTA and your COTA family’s journey. Fans can contribute to participate in a spirit contest, or you could offer COTA campaign wristbands as a premium for a donation. The wristband may not ‘match’ their team colors, but it does demonstrate they are all on the same team — cheering for a COTA family in the midst of their transplant journey.

Moving banners around a school. Friendly rivalry is a great tool to raise money and school spirit! After partnering with your local school, locate a banner displaying a rival team’s logo or name. Hang that banner on a teacher’s door and when that teacher contributes to your COTA community campaign, they can select a different teacher and move the banner to that door. Bottom line? No one wants to support the rival team.

Pie a teacher. Using COTA Coin Canisters, host a penny war for students to vote (using change) which teacher should get ‘pied’. Consider having students raise money for the COTA community campaign and whoever raises the most (perhaps top 3) gets to pie a teacher – or even the principal!

‘Lock In’ night. For an entry fee, students are ‘locked in’ for the evening at school with a variety of activities to participate in throughout the night. One classroom could have video games set up to play; another could have a craft table. Students can be supervised in the gym for games of HORSE or four-square. Plan an after-school experience students will remember that will simultaneously help with transplant-related expenses!

School dance. Partner with the local school to host a special school dance benefiting the COTA community campaign. When decorating, hang flyers with information about your COTA patient. Ask a local DJ if they would donate their time for an evening and recruit volunteers to supervise.

Dollar dress day. For a donation of $1, students can participate in a special hat day, pjs day or crazy outfit day — or even make it a whole spirit week for $1 each day! Utilize COTA Paper Icons to indicate who donated to participate. Similarly, teachers could donate $1 for a dress-down jeans day.

Remember to send all promotional materials to for approval before printing, posting or distributing. For more fundraising ideas, visit the Fundraising Resources tab.

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Fundraising for Transplant-Related Expenses

COTA can help remove the financial barriers to a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support.