Sponsored fundraisers: Link to literacy

Creating links with the curriculum means parents and teachers are sure to be supportive, while giving the children a fun challenge is a fantastic way to encourage pupils in their literacy skills.

Sponsored fundraisers are some of the simplest money-makers to organise, as there's no need to recruit volunteers, you're not dependent on getting parents and families to attend anything, and half of the work is done after you've handed out a sponsorship form!

When planning sponsored events, it's important to hold them at the right time – laying the groundwork for the fundraiser before a half-term break allows pupils time to complete the task over the holiday, whether it's learning words, putting in reading hours or creating anagrams. Try to hold it over a week-long holiday rather than anything lengthier, as this risks people forgetting about the challenge or losing motivation. Always set a specific date as a deadline by which pupils need to return their entries.

Sponsored spell

Ask teachers to prepare a spelling test appropriate for their class, which can then be sent home with a sponsorship form. Children can practice the words and seek sponsorship, e.g. 10p for every correct word. Teachers test the children when they return from the holidays, then send a note home to parents confirming how many words they spelt correctly so the children can collect their sponsorship money. Award prizes to the top fundraisers in each class, year or key stage.

Word in a word

Give every child a sponsorship form and asked them to find as many words as they can within your school name. Give prizes for the most words, the longest word, the most unusual word and the best anagram.

Ready, Steady... Read

Usborne runs sponsored literacy challenges which combine fundraising with promoting a love of reading. Ready, Steady...Read! for older children or Ready, Steady...Listen! for younger children are easy-to-administer initiatives which allow your school to fundraise for, and benefit from, books which everyone will enjoy. Children are sponsored to read as much as they can in a given time. An Independent Usborne Organiser will provide sponsorship forms, posters and letters to parents to ease input from the school side. Depending on the amount of money raised, you can get up to 60% of free books for your school. Schools can find and contact their nearest Organiser through the Usborne website.

Matchbox challenge

Purchase empty plain white matchboxes and send them out to parents in book bags with letters and sponsor forms. Pupils must collect items in their matchbox and can win prizes for:

  • Most money raised
  • Most items in the box
  • Most unusual item
  • Best decoration of matchbox

Pupils must write a numbered list of the contents and submit their itemised list together with their matchbox and sponsor form. Ensure you ban anything inappropriate (no nail clippings or insects!) and ask that nothing of value is included. Pupils can only include one of each item, (i.e. a seed, paperclip, bead) so no filling the box up with sand!


It makes sense to encourage literacy engagement further through the prizes, so award books or book vouchers to lucky winners. To boost profits, can you get donations from local bookshops or ask a company to sponsor the prizes?


If you run a sponsored event through your PTA, your PTA could raise an additional 25p for every £1 donated by claiming Gift Aid. Find out how at www.gov.uk.


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