“MCHS Band Chicken Fundraiser”

2023 Innovative Fundraising Award Recipient

Montgomery Central High School Band

Montgomery Central High School
Cunningham, Tennessee


Our fundraising initiative was a whole smoked chicken sale. I came to this school in October of last year. When I arrived, the program was in dire need of new uniforms. The program had only saved $6200.00 and needed a total of $21,000.00 by December. If they raised $21,000.00 then our central office would match up to $21,000.00. We were able to purchase 100 uniforms and they will arrive in October of this year!


Our objective was to raise $21,000.00 for the purchase of new uniforms.

Target Audience

Our target audience was our very small and very rural community of Cunningham, Tennessee. This community was our focus. The people who live in this community really know how to support their school organizations and take a lot of pride in those organizations.


This chicken sale was held over a two week period. Students were asked to sell 10 whole chickens and pre-sold tickets for two weeks. We then held a one day event where the chickens were smoked. Customers came to the event and picked up their chickens and could also purchase other items such as side dishes and desserts. That portion of the event was for donation only and customers could give whatever they felt was a good amount. We had several people pay high dollar amounts for side dishes and desserts.


It takes about 4 months of planning to get everything lined up.


August: Reach out to our local Civitan as they allow us to use their facility which has the outdoor grills capable of grilling at least 250 chickens at one time.


September: Reach out to our local grocery store and ask them to be thinking about ordering the whole chickens around October.


Reach out to a local lumber mill and ask for a load of wood for a bonfire.


October:   Pre-sale the tickets for two weeks. After the sale ends, the boosters call our local grocery store and order the whole chickens.


By the time we buy the above-mentioned items it is usually around $1200.


November: Boosters go shopping for items we need for the day of pickup/cook.  We usually buy aluminum foil, we ask Hilltop grocery to donate grocery bags, Clorox wipes, paper towels, coffee (because it is usually cold on the day we cook in November), hot chocolate, trash bags for cleanup, latex gloves, and the spices for the rub we use on the chickens, and oil to rub on the chickens to keep them lubricated.

Overview of Planning and Execution

The band booster organization was in charge of planning and executing the event. Students were also asked to sell tickets for the purchase of whole smoked chickens. The band booster treasurer came to class everyday to pick up tickets and to collect money. On the day of the event, parents arrived at 3:00 a.m. to begin smoking the chickens. At around noon, the chickens were done smoking and parents and students wrapped each individual chicken in aluminum foil and then bagged them. The bags were put into empty coolers to help keep them warm. At 1:00 p.m., customers arrived at the event center and picked up their smoked chicken. We had students stand with signs at the road to advertise the sale. We had students work the bake sell portion and they even played their instruments.

Tools and Resources

We used social media, school announcements, and word of mouth to help get information out about the fundraiser. We also had the help of a local grocery store. This store sold us the tickets at a portion of the cost. They love to help our band program as we have a lot of students who are employees of the store.

Marketing and Promotion

We used our band app, facebook page, website, school marquee, and emails to help get the word out about our fundraiser. The chicken sale is very popular in this community. Our product is very good and people remember each year that we sell the chickens. We have people asking at the beginning of school each year when the sale will happen. Our students did a great job of promoting the event through the selling of tickets as well.


The band booster organization only had to purchase the tickets which cost about $1000.00. We profited $7.000.00. While this is probably not a lot of money for most band programs, it was a huge amount for our very small and very rural program and community.


The biggest challenge I encountered during this initiative was getting the students to buy in to helping their own program. When I arrived in October, the program was unfortunately not flourishing. They had been through two band directors in a span of two months. The program had declined in numbers and the atmosphere was not positive. We got to work on this as soon as I arrived, and once a positive atmosphere was introduced, the students took off taking ownership of their program.

Success/Effectiveness Measurement

Our initiative was highly effective as we were able to reach our goal of $21,000.00. We were able to purchase new uniforms and there is a lot of excitement about them!

Community Impact

The goal we set to purchasing new uniforms really helped to turn the atmosphere into a positive environment. The old uniforms were out of date and the kids just did not have any pride when they put them on. We made sure the new uniforms represent the school and the community at large in their design and both students, faculty, parents, and administration are excited about them, which in turn makes them excited for the program in general.

Advice for others?

If you have parents that love to cook, then you can achieve this project! The front side of selling the tickets is fairly simple and the day of is so much fun! Your parents will be able to bond with each other as well as the students. It is not just a money maker but a band family builder.

Supporting Materials