The Lanyard Fundraiser: Dressing up Event Badges for School Spirit


Selling Event Badge Lanyards for Educational Fundraising

I was a cheerleader all four years of high school, and now I coach high school cheerleading. My girls are real school boosters, always looking for ways to earn money for various programs—not just their own, but for other athletics, extracurriculars, and academics—and generate school spirit. So I can’t take credit for the lanyard idea. It was the girls’ from start to finish.

Why Lanyards?

Lanyards, I thought, were those ugly woven plastic keychains we had to make in overnight camp more years ago than I care to admit. Back then, we had one security guard in our school, and he knew all of us by name. But the school where I work now has over two thousand students, and each and every one of them is required to wear an ID tag on a lanyard (not plastic, but fabric) around their neck. The lanyards were pretty plain, and some kids liked to customize them with funky buttons. Some cliques had secret codes involving knots in the lanyard, and others tossed the lanyard entirely and brought their own colorful ribbons, shoelaces, or necklaces to hang the badges on.

My cheerleaders found out that the lanyards sold with event badges and printed name tags did not have to be boring, generic, or plain. They came in colors and could be printed with custom messages. At first, they thought about just buying their own cheerleading lanyards in school colors, but then they thought bigger.

The Competition

Why not challenge some of the biggest clubs in the school to a fundraising competition? Each group could design their own lanyard and try to sell as many as possible to raise money for the spring dance. Of course, the cheerleaders thought they would win the contest hands down, but they enlisted the football players, girls volleyball, the National Merit Scholars, AV club, and a few other groups. Each group was responsible for their own design and raising the initial funds to order the lanyards, and then worked all month to sell as many as possible.

The contest is still going on, so it’s hard to know who will ultimately win. What I have figured out is that the student body is buying lanyards, and they’re not taking sides. Some kids are collecting them and color-coordinating their outfits, or braiding them together, or decorating their backpacks with them.

Great Idea, Great Execution

Wearing ID tags at school is an unfortunate reality of the modern world, but my kids have made the best of it. They’ve got to wear their name badges, they might as well make them fashionable. And while they’re working on making the school more stylish, they might as well be earning some money to support the programs they love. It’s a win-win situation.

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