Penny Wars

Penny Wars

Penny Wars - The perfect fundraiser

These "battles of the spare change'' are a popular fundraiser in North America and are particularly used by schools and offices as quick and easy ways to indulge in a bit of friendly competition whilst raising cash for good causes.

How does it work?

Each group, class, team, school year, office department etc has a large see-through collecting jar / bottle. These are clearly labelled and placed in a central location.

Penny Wars Ammunition

Teams then compete to see who can fill their jar with the most pennies. The team with the most pennies wins.


The key aim (and the real fundraiser) is to sabotage the jars of your rivals. This is done by adding coins (and banknotes) other than pennies to their jars which score negatively. Therefore 10 pennies in one team's jar can be wiped out by the addition of a coin worth 10 by another team.

It is usual to run Penny Wars over the course of a week. A deadline is set for the last day when the coins will be counted and totals for the jars - positive and negative, will be announced.

Teams continue to monitor their own jar and those of their rivals adding pennies to their own and negative coins to those they feel may be "overtaking" them.

The final reckoning!

Penny War

As the deadline approaches feverish activity will often ensue as last minute efforts are made to boost your own team's total and see off the threat from rivals.

In fact a good tip to boost final totals is to "set up" a bit of a finale and countdown.

It is not at all unusual for most jars to be "negative" at the count up

The winner is the jar with the best total even if its a minus number.

Do make a big thing of announcing the winners. The whole point was competition and you need to play up to that. You might like to count the jars in private and then reveal the final tallies in the manner of a TV competition.

Make sure you give at least a big cheer to the winning team. Prizes such as cakes, chocolates and other things that can be shared also go down well.

Penny Wars Winners

The winners also get the bragging rights for a while…… least until you run the fundraiser again!

The other real winner is your good cause.

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