By Sarah Svarda, Book Fair Chairperson and Librarian at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, TN
It is 5:38 PM on Wednesday. I am in the bed. If you've had book fair recently, you can empathize. I'm tired but it's a really good tired. Our school has raised a lot of money in only three days. Tonight I'm so excited about something that I've got to blog about it.
That something is one word: Concessions.
This is my first year selling concessions. It is also my first year in a middle school. But I think concessions can be pulled off successfully in elementary schools as well. I'll tell you a few tips and tricks to make more money and raise money for All For Books by selling concessions.
First, let me share with you everything we offer to our middle school students and faculty (each is one dollar):
- 1 bag of popcorn
- 1 cup of hot cocoa or coffee
- 4 pieces of candy (small sizes)
- 1 slushee (sold only at lunch)
We asked parents to donate everything we needed to pull this off so all sales would be straight profit. Our school owns a popcorn machine so popping was free. I did look up the price of popcorn machines for any of you thinking about investing in one and you can get a good one for around $150. This would be great for a principal or PTA to invest in for the whole school.
I brought in my Keurig from school and we asked for cocoa packets instead of k cups. Students can run the water through the Keurig to heat it and mix in their cocoa. It's cheaper with packets so you'll make more money that way.
Blow Pops and small Hershey bars were our biggest candy sellers.
Our slushee machine was donated by a parent and we only needed ice from the cafeteria and the flavoring to create drinks that the students love to buy at lunch.
We've been making an average of $400 a day on just concessions. So think about this scenario...instead of having a change drive for All For Books, try selling popcorn and compare your earnings. Advertise to your students and families that every dollar they spend on popcorn goes to buy books for their classroom teachers.
At the end of your fair, let your families know how much they've raised in concession sales and how many books were purchased for classroom libraries with their support. Also, be sure to tell everyone this is a win-win situation because Scholastic matches those monetary donations / concession purchases with a donation of up to $1 million in books from The Scholastic Possible Fund, which distributes books to children through organizations such as the Kids In Need Foundation, Reader to Reader, Inc., and the National Center for Families Learning.
Plus, keep in mind that All For Books donations are counted towards the book fair totals as tax exempt sales, which will help bring up the fair totals for your school.
If you've had success with concessions at your book fair and would like to share your tips or suggestions, please comment below. I'm excited to see what you think about trying this out and what has already been successful at your school.