I am sure I mentioned this in the past but.....
I am Chair of my kids' school parent council and we were looking for different ways we could help raise funds for our school. One idea (I am a tad smug as it was my idea!!), was to hold a balloon race. We ran off entry form and issued them to the school children to sell balloons to friends and family at £1 a pop! We did far better than expected and sold a whopping 637. When I first mentioned it I said it would be fantastic if we reached 500 sales. There was a lot of "Dream on" comments from the "my-glass-is-always-half-empty crew". I have gleefully stuck two fingers up to the Moaning Myrtles in our group as they failed to come up with any better ideas!
Anyway 637 sales then scared the living daylights out of me as we then had to fill the blooming things. Having read online it was advised to allow 1 minute per balloon to fill, knot, label and put in the net. This considered we had a team of 10, 3 gas canisters and two nets. We knew that the first filled balloons were only really able to sit for 4 hours before they would start to loose gas and therefore be at a disadvantage compared to the later ones. We filled them all in just under 2 hours, which meant that we no longer had to panic about still filling them as the spectators were arriving.
One child from every class was randomly selected to come out and help send the balloons on their way. This was also the photo opportunity for the local press as well.
Three weeks have now passed since the launch and the closing date has come and gone for returning the tickets. I have checked, rechecked and checked again to see the mileage travelled by the winning balloon. We hear of balloons making it to Poland etc from the UK but alas ours didn't travel that far. The winning balloon made it to Glasgow and had a clear 20 miles on the balloon that came second.
This has been a real money spinner as we have made a clear £400 profit. It had helped that we had the gas donated to us by a local firm otherwise we might have had to charge for for the tickets and that may had discouraged people buying them in the first place.
But all in all it is a fundraiser that really took off!