Fetes can be money spinners for schools. However, new research reveals how schools can maximise their earnings and success.

The line-up of stalls and activities on offer at a school fete can have a significant impact on the event’s bottom line.

The simple, back-to-basics BBQ has emerged as the biggest earner at school fetes, followed by amusement rides, raffles, auctions and cake stalls, according to the findings of the first National Fete Research Project.

The survey of almost 500 school fete convenors from Australian state, Catholic and independent schools also found:

  • the most popular month to hold a fete was October, followed by September, November and March
  • the most common reasons for fundraising were for new playground equipment/outdoor repairs
    and/or upgrades
  • only 40% of state and non-state schools in the study received a handover report from the previous fete
  • apart from security, females dominated volunteer roles
  • the average fete profit for a large school (more than 700 students) was approximately $26,000, $10,000 for a small school (fewer than 300 students), with the largest profit from a single fete being $93,000.

According to the project report, 38.5% of respondents said “it was somewhat or extremely difficult” to recruit a fete convenor while 58% said the biggest challenge with recruiting volunteers was being unable to “get a firm commitment until the last minute”.

The project was conducted by QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies.

Centre director Associate Professor Wendy Scaife said the research showed men could play a greater role in school fetes.

“Apart from security roles, females made up most of the volunteers,” Professor Scaife said.

“In fact, more than three-quarters of volunteers are female and, when it comes to the organising committee, that number jumps to almost 90%,” she said.

The report contains a wide range of feedback, advice and tips schools can use to boost their fete profits and success.

School Fete Tips

Start early – a year out if possible, straight after the previous fete.

Use online signup for volunteers – this will help with recruitment.

Prioritise safety – have someone responsible for Occupational Health and Safety matters.

Hire a portable ATM – more cash means more sales.

Have a wet weather plan – especially for the rides.

Access a copy of the fete report here | REPORT