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Fundraise With A Penny War in 5 Easy Steps

Updated: May 26, 2023

1,2,3,4; I declare a penny war...Yourtown Elementary is off to the races! A penny war, or coin drive, is an ever-popular school, PTA, or PTO fundraiser. This year, it can be more impactful than ever. As we recently discussed in our webinar, How PTAs Are Beating Fundraising Goals, there is a national coin shortage, so you may have second thoughts about running your coin drive. However, Alecia Whittaker Pace, an author, and New York school PTA leader, points out that this fundraiser is actually a good way to get coins back into circulation: people have coins sitting at home that they likely won’t go drop off at their bank, but if you turn it into a competition, those coins are getting put back into circulation.


So how do you run a penny war? It is easy.

Poster on the wall with Penny Wars info
Penny Wars

Source (Penny War)


Step 1: Create your teams

Split your school into 2 or 3 groups by grade, or have each class compete. If splitting into 2 or 3 groups, doing it by grade is easiest.


Step 2: Advertise your contest

Share your team groupings, a start and end date, and the prize.


Make sure to publicize what the winning team gets. A pizza party is a common prize, but other options include spirit wear, discount on a local restaurant,


Ensure you are sharing across all your channels (newsletter, website, social media) and sharing often. Start to advertise at least 2 weeks before the event begins.

Step 3: Put out a bucket/jar for each team in a central location

Many schools use their office. The jars must be accessible to all students.


Step 4: Encourage families and the community to drop off all coins

Pennies are worth 1 point, so drop them in your team’s bucket.


Any silver coins are minus points (minus 5 points for each nickel, minus 10 points for each dime, minus 25 points for each quarter), so drop them in any opposing team’s bucket.

  • Pro tip: some schools even allow $1 and $5 bills to use as minus 100 or 500 points or as plus 100 or 500 points.


Use social media to encourage competition – post daily pictures of the jars!


Coins spilling out of a jar.
Coins in a Jar

Source (Coins)

Step 5: Count the coins, declare a winner

Good job! You’ve raised money for your school via all the coins collected. You can now take them to the bank to get them back into circulation.


  • Pro tip: If you know of local businesses needing coins, you can also take them there to exchange for paper currency.

There you have it, how to create your penny war in 5 easy steps. If you need help or have success stories, don't hesitate to contact us at K-12 Clothing.


Need additional ideas for fundraising? Check out Porch’s “How to Fundraise For Charity from Home.”


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