Fundraising Ideas for Schools
Whether you are a school looking to raise money or on a fundraising journey for a school you love, you'll need to know the best fundraising ideas for schools to maximize your funding. Hosting a fundraiser for schools is an excellent way for staff, parents, students, and teachers to come together for the good of the community and its school.
However, getting people excited about a fundraising event can be challenging when you have the same ideas each year. Since the pandemic swept through in 2020, fundraisers have had to think outside the box for unique ways to make money with exciting virtual fundraising ideas. This shift from in-person to virtual became a huge success, but you need the best fundraising ideas for schools to get the job done.
Explore the many profitable school fundraising ideas and why you need them!
Fundraising Ideas for School
It's no secret that public schools are underfunded, and there is a spending gap between wealthier districts and low-income areas. In fact, the wealthiest districts, on average, spend three times more per pupil than low-income district schools.
Benefits of School Fundraisers
School fundraising has the following benefits:
- Financial support: Fundraising helps schools supplement their budget and fund programs that the school may not be able to afford.
- Equal education outcomes: Unequal school funding can affect education outcomes for students, and raising funds will bridge the gap.
- Strengthens engagement: Fundraising promotes partnerships between schools, families, and the community. As a result, students gain many advocates focused on their success.
- Promotes pride: When students and the community are involved in fundraising, it increases everyone's sense of pride through their involvement.
In addition to these fundraising benefits, teachers can fund classroom technology, purchase school supplies, and offer professional development to improve teaching skills. Lastly, school fundraising can provide much-needed scholarships to kids who need them.
School Fundraising Ideas
A well-planned fundraising strategy creates excitement and pride for the school and gets the community to play a more active role in the student's education. So, if you're looking for new ways to reach a larger audience and boost your efforts, choose from these school fundraising ideas and make the most of your event.
1. T-Shirt Fundraising
Don't we all love a good t-shirt? What's great about t-shirt fundraising is combining it with an in-person event. About a month before, have t-shirts made with the school's name, logo, and event name, so all who are attending can wear their shirt on the big day.
Getting custom-made t-shirts is easier than you think. There are companies such as Bonfire and Printful that will boost your campaign, help you save money on printed shirts, and create custom print designs everyone will love. Both sites are free to use, have templates and a step-by-step guide to help you with the design process, and will fulfill and ship the orders, so there is one less thing for you to worry about!
2. Online Donations
Receiving online donations is one of the best ways to expand your reach. Create a fun donation landing page and express your school's needs. What are the objectives of the online donations, the target amount, and how do you intend to use the money to improve the school?
Remember that spreading the word is the tough part and requires attention. Create a Facebook page for the school if you haven't got one already, and start promoting your donation requests. In addition, you can send a note home with each student and ask them to spread the word. The great thing about social media is how quickly word can spread. When people start to share your posts, you get more of a reach and increase funding. That leads us to the next fundraising idea for high schools – social media.
3. Social Media
Social media ranks as one of the best school fundraising ideas. You can utilize various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Create an exciting post, express your needs, and use hashtags to further your reach.
You can spotlight your initiatives and get followers involved in the school's fundraising events. Instagram lets you add a donation sticker to your posts. You can go live on social media platforms with a Livestream fundraising event with an easy-to-add donate button so viewers can donate throughout the live event. Lastly, don't forget the Geotag. This allows your donation requests to be shown to people in your community and establishes your credibility.
Who doesn't have a cellphone these days? Texting-to-give is a great new way for schools to communicate financial needs to parents and guardians. The average donation is $107 for text-to-give fundraising, which can significantly impact your bottom line.
Text-to-give helps you gain ongoing support from the community when school fundraising. Use a text-to-give platform, such as Snowball, that gives you unlimited text, personalized campaigns, and offers reoccurring gift options at a low cost. Donors will text a word like "donate" to the text-to-give phone number for the school and confirm the donation amount. Their credit card information gets saved for future donations, and a reoccurring donate option will help maximize the funds raised.
Crowdfunding is one of those valuable high school fundraising ideas that are a must for any money-raising initiative. An online crowdfunding campaign gets done on various platforms such as Livingtree and DonorsChoose. The fundraising management software allows you to monitor the progress, tell your school's story, and get the whole community involved in the efforts.
Here's how online crowdfunding works:
- Develop a plan for your campaign and build the outline
- Create an account on your preferred crowdfunding site
- Set up the campaign with the fundraising goals and tell your story
- Make the campaign live and start sharing it on social media platforms
- Monitor the progress of the campaign and adjust if you are not on track to meeting your financial goals
6. Corporate Philanthropy Programs
Corporate philanthropy is a different school fundraising idea that many aren't aware of, but it can be highly effective. You can contact parents or guardians to enquire about whether they own or work for a company with philanthropy programs and find out how to apply.
Three corporate philanthropy programs could benefit a school fundraising program:
- Matching gifts: Many companies will match an employee's donation to a nonprofit. For example, if an employee gifts $100 to the school, the company will match the donation with $100. Each company is different, and some may have higher contributions than the traditional 1:1 ratio, such as 1:2 or 1:4 contribution ratios.
- Volunteer grants: This is a great way to raise money and get the much-needed hands-on help many schools require. Employees will volunteer their time to a nonprofit, and the company will provide a financial donation.
- Corporate sponsorships: Companies can sponsor events in exchange for positive publicity. For example, a company can fund an event such as a bikeathon or fun run; the school can promote the business in return.
7. Cookie Dough Fundraising Ideas for High Schools
Chocolate chip, cookies, and cream, or peanut butter – whatever your flavor, we all love cookie dough! Not only is cookie dough a comfort food that takes us back to the sweet memories of growing up, but it can also be added to your list of school fundraising ideas. Host a cookie dough fundraiser and get parents, guardians, students, and the community involved in this tasty idea.
So, how does a cookie dough fundraiser work? It's simple. Use a company such as SavoryFoods or Palmetto Fundraising. You won't have to pay any money upfront, they will fulfill the orders for the sale of cookie dough, and you get to keep the majority of the profits. Give customized catalogs of the various products for sale, or host the sale online. This idea takes very little work, and you can raise money for your school in a fun way.
8. Pledge Fundraising
Pledges and donations are different from one another. Pledges are a promise for donation. For example, you can plan a bike-a-thon, walk-a-thon, or fun run, and people can pledge donations for the distance the participant goes. The pledge gets made and paid at a future date.
Pledge fundraising is a great way to raise money for schools and organizations. It is a volunteer-driven program that raises funds in an annual, one-time gift through a personal fundraising campaign. Through pledge fundraising, you collect donations from friends, family members, and neighbors who support your school financially before the event occurs.
The first step to organizing a successful pledge fundraiser is simply organizing the people who will take part in it. Second, you should decide on the goal of your campaign and how much money you want to raise during that time period. At last, set goals for the number of pledges you want to receive and then divide up those tasks accordingly.
9. Silent Auctions
Silent auctions are becoming increasingly popular for school fundraising because they offer a fun way for people to bid on items and raise money for the school at the same time. Proceeds from silent auctions help schools solicit more funding, provide more enrichment and enable more learning. Not to mention, they're a fun way to socialize and mingle with new people at the event.
Charity Safaris is an excellent company to help raise funds for your school. We can help with the entire process, including auction display, online bidding logistics, and catalog production. Sell one of our hunting trips in South Africa, Argentina, or New Zealand multiple times for the event and raise thousands of dollars for your school. Fill out an online donation request and sell the trip of a lifetime at your school fundraiser.
If you're looking for other types of silent auction items, TheShareWay provides a guide on 400+ companies that donate hotel stays, beauty products, gift cards, and more.
10. Email Campaigns
More than 4 billion people use email, and 77% of marketers say they have seen an increased engagement with their email marketing campaigns over the last year. So if marketing companies and businesses leverage emails to gain followers' support, why not do the same for your school and community?
An email fundraising campaign is simple once you have an email list. You can send reminders to subscribers of fundraising events, express the school's needs, and request help from the community. What's great about email campaigns is that you aren't just driving traffic to your fundraising page, but you can gain ongoing financial support.
11. Spelling Bee High School Fundraising Ideas
There are many reasons why a spelling bee is a great fundraising idea for schools, including:
- Friendly competition among students
- Educating students
- Highly affordable to host the event
- Community involvement
You can combine a spelling bee fundraiser with a pledge campaign. Students can get family and friends to pledge funds for every word they spell accurately. You can print certificates online and request donations from local businesses for prizes for the winners.
A walk-a-thon is a great event for students of all ages, and there are many ways to host one. Color runs have become highly popular over the years, and platforms such as MyFunRun are making it easier and easier to do. They offer all the digital materials, personal fundraising pages, and pre-registering participants.
Students are not the only ones who can participate. Family, friends, and community members can all participate in the walk-a-thon. You may even switch things up and do a zombie run and see the community show up in their best zombie outfits and spooky makeup. There are no limits to what you can do with this school fundraising idea - have fun with it.
13. Prom Dress Drive
The best way to host a prom dress drive is a couple of months before prom or homecoming season. Shopping for the perfect dress can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Instead, reach out to the community through social media posts and send notes home with the students. Ask them if they have gently used dresses of all sizes to donate for the prom dress drive. You can also approach second-hand clothing stores and see if they can part with dresses too!
Hand out pamphlets to local businesses and the community with information on the event, such as date, time, location, and whether it will be a cash or card-only event. Remember to have private facilities for students to try on the dresses and hanging racks for easy displays. To guarantee attendance, sell tickets to the event. This is also a great way to maximize profits and know how many volunteers you'll need.
What better way to get the students involved in the school fundraiser than a cook-off? Kids can pay a small fee to enter the competition, and attendees pay to be taste testers. In addition, tasters will make donations for the foods they love the most, and the winner will be crowned by the amount of money they raise.
Students can make simple but tasty meals such as chili, mini burgers, tacos, and baked goods for those with a sweet tooth. These meals are easy to make and won't need much kitchen space. These high school fundraising ideas don't have to be the "typical" event. Spice things up with live music, host fundraising raffles, and sell drinks to get the most out of the event.
15. Lip Sync Showdown
Consider lip sync showdown if you're looking for a unique high school fundraising idea. The kids have a lot of fun choosing a song, practicing, preparing dance moves, and performing their favorite songs. Friends, family, and the community will get the privilege to see the lip-sync showdown by paying an entrance fee. The winner can be determined by how loud the applause is.
16. School Carnival
School carnivals require that all hands be on deck as it is quite an involved event. There are games to create and run, lots of fair food to make, and entertainment to plan. Carnival games and booths to consider are:
- Mini golf
- Ring toss
- Picture booth
- Tattoo booth
- Face painting
A school carnival fundraiser will require student committees, parents, guardians, and volunteers to participate in planning the event. First, browse company websites such as Rode Island Novelty to find bulk carnival prizes that everyone will love at a low cost. Then, maximize profits by charging admission tickets and charges per activity. These are very popular Fundraising Ideas for School.
17. Pajama Day
Pajama day is a simple and effective way to raise money for a school fundraiser. The costs are low because there is not much to organize. Have each student pay a small fee to come to school in their pajamas. This fee can be as low as $1 or $2.
Add more fun to the day by letting the students watch a movie during lunch in the cafeteria and have a prize for the class who participates the most.
18. Principal Challenge
A fantastic and fun way to raise money for your school is by getting the principal involved. Principals are typically known to have serious and authoritative reputations. While fundraising for your school, this exciting fundraiser will influence your pupils' perspectives and foster a sense of camaraderie.
Ideas for prizes include:
- Sliming the principal
- Principal kissing a pig
- The principal gets pied in the face
- Principal colors their hair in their school's colors
Schools set fundraising goals that students must attempt to meet. The fundraising target must be realistic so that the students can see the results.
A class wins the prize when they reach a certain amount. The entire school gets to watch the hilarious act of the principal facing their demise if they reach the specified target.
19. Prospect Research
Performing prospect research, you will better understand who in your school can donate and will most likely donate regularly. In addition, through research, you can find the parents or guardians who participate in philanthropic work and may see what you are doing in your school worth donating to.
Certain wealth indicators will help you determine who to approach:
- Foundation affiliations
- Real-estate and assets
Prospect research is most effective in affluent communities and allows you to change your marketing tactics to target the right people.
20. Field Day
Field days are ideal for when the spring semester begins when the weather is warmer and kids want to enjoy themselves outdoors. A field day is perfect for younger kids who are in elementary school.
This fundraising opportunity can have several activities for the students and their families to enjoy.
- Water games
- Bounce house
- Obstacle courses
- Potato sack race
To make money, charge for both general entrance and individual game participation. Concession stands and a donation booth can get set up for additional opportunities to raise funds.
21. Bake Sale
Who doesn't love a bake sale? Bake sales are one of the most popular – and delicious – ways to raise much-needed funds for schools. It's also a great opportunity to get the parents involved and to show off their baking skills.
To raise money for your cause, ask the parents at your school to prepare a yummy treat to sell. Children can participate by helping their parents bake these treats or by selling baked products at lunch or during recess.
You can take it a step further with a raffle, where one prize winner can win a beautifully designed and baked cake of their choice from a local bakery that is willing to provide a voucher as a prize.
22. Talent Show
Showcase your school's many talents with a talent show! Let there be various categories, such as singing, dancing, and comedy. Get local businesses to sponsor prizes for each category and the grand prize of the best winning act at the end of the night.
Prizes can range from:
- A local pizza restaurant sponsored a pizza for the winner and 2 of their friends
- Tickets to see a movie at the theater
- Mall vouchers
Charge a small participation fee and a spectator entry fee. And don't forget to put together a panel of judges!
23. Guessing Jar
Guessing jars is a cost-effective and easy fundraising idea for schools. All you need is a clear jar and fill it with candy, beads, marbles, paper clips, or anything that will fit in the jar. To increase your potential fundraising opportunities, have several jars in various sizes to allow participants to pay to guess each jar's contents.
For a few weeks, keep the jar in a busy area of the school, like the main office. Parents, teachers, and students should be encouraged to enter their estimates into the competition for a small cost.
Allow multiple entries per person, with each try costing them. Let participants pick up the jar and turn it around to get a closer look.
Ensure you have enough prizes for each winner and runners-up for each jar you have. The closest guesser receives the candy jar when the fundraiser ends.
24. Virtual Parents Party
Sometimes parents and guardians need adult time too! A virtual parent's party involves virtual cooking classes, happy hour, or live streaming of a concert of a local musician. In addition, you can host an art party, such as painting with a twist. These events are hosted online via zoom, and parents purchase the tickets. You will mail the items to the attendee's homes a couple of weeks before the event and have a scheduled itinerary.
Avoid the virtual parent party from getting too crowded. You can set up virtual rooms and divide the groups. After a certain amount of time, switch up the people in the room and keep the entertainment going.
25. Battle of the Bands
Battle of the bands takes high school fundraising ideas to the next level. There may be many talented students in your school who would love the opportunity to share their talents. This fundraising idea is easy because you have all the means to host the event. You have the PA system, venue, and teachers and volunteers can help.
Charge a small fee for each band to enter and an admission fee for attendees. Involve local celebrity to be judges for the event, such as the local weatherman or radio host, to participate. In addition, you could ask local business owners to be judges and help sponsor the event. There are countless opportunities to reach your fundraising goals.
26. Dog Wash
Not everyone takes their pups to the groomers, and many find bathing their dogs a tedious task. So why not host a dog wash fundraiser? The kids will love spending time with your furry best friend too. Post on local groups about the fundraiser and encourage parents, guardians, teachers, and community members to bring the pups for a good wash by student volunteers.
Utilize the school's parking lot as the venue and purchase all the supplies. Ensure there are plenty of kiddie pools to bathe the dogs, hoses, lots of towels, and tasty treats. Take your fundraiser a step further and have music playing, some food trucks, and sell drinks.
27. School Dance
School dances are just as exciting as prom or homecoming. School students get to go out and shop for new outfits and let loose with their friends. It's a simple fundraising idea that everyone will love, and almost all the proceeds get put back into the school. In addition, students will pay a small attendance fee, and you can request donations for décor, food, and drinks from parents and guardians.
Put together a student committee for the dance and have them select a fun theme, such as a masquerade ball, under the ocean, or a Hollywood theme. There is no need to spend a fortune on expensive photo booths or décor. Instead, task the committee with finding an inexpensive solution.
28. Discount Card Fundraiser
A discount card fundraiser is something that can get the entire community involved. Students will sell discount cards in their neighborhood, and the donors will get coupons or special offers from local businesses, such as restaurants. These discount cards are around $10-$20 but can save the purchaser hundreds of dollars.
Making discount cards to sell for a school fundraiser is reasonably easy. In addition, it draws a lot of attention to small businesses, and many business owners are happy to get exposure.
29. Car Wash
Car wash fundraisers have proven to be excellent in raising funds for your local charity, including schools. This is also a fantastic way to get the community involved while students have fun washing cars. The school's parking lot can be used to set up the car wash.
Partner with local businesses to sponsor cleaning materials and supplies in exchange for free advertising on the day of the car wash.
To advertise, get your local radio station to mention the school's fundraising efforts. Have loud music for entertainment and snacks available for individuals to purchase while they wait for their cars to get cleaned.
Assign shifts to students to wash cars, and designate a few students to collect money for the car washes and any extra donations. Set up an online donation page on the school's website to receive additional donations.
30. Auction off Parking Spots
Ask every high school or college student what their worst nightmare is, and they will all say that parking at school or on campus is the worst! On a busy day, students are likely to be found circling the parking lot in the hopes of a spot becoming available.
For a successful fundraising idea, select a few parking spots the school won't mind reserving for the winning students. Host a live auction or an online bidding war, and see how far students are willing to go for a parking spot reserved for them for the semester or school year.
AmazonSmile is a minimum-effort way to raise funds for your school. The process is simple:
- Register your school with AmazonSmile
- Once your school has been accepted to the program, notify your student's parents and the local community
- Shoppers can add your school as their chosen charitable organization and shop items that are eligible for AmazonSmile
That's it! Your school will then receive 0.5% of every eligible purchase they make. There are no fees or costs for your school and shoppers donating to you.
32. Video Challenge
97% of teens use social media! Therefore, a video challenge is an excellent fundraising idea for high school. Social media video entertainment is highly popular, and students can utilize platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to post videos and hope it goes viral.
We have seen fundraisers or awareness viral videos such as the ice bucket challenge, eating a hot pepper challenge, and other fun activities that increase engagement. For example, you can create a dance, activity, or something fun for the kids to perform. Each student who performs the challenge will donate to the online fundraising site.
33. Dorm Decorating Contest
For new college students, decorating their dorm room is the time to let their creativity shine. Shopping for storage boxes, fun wall art, and adding color to spruce up the dorm room is a great bonding experience for kids and their parents or guardians. Make this activity exciting by adding competition to the mix with a prize for the winner.
Host a dorm room decorating contest where students pay a small fee to enter and have them compete with each other for the best-looking room. This event can be held throughout the year during the holidays, such as Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and summer.
34. Beard Challenge
College students love the beard challenge! In addition, fraternities and other social clubs can all join in on fundraising for the college by growing a beard. Each student will donate to enter and get sponsors who have faith in their beard-growing skills to donate too.
As donations increase, the longer the participants have to grow their facial hair, and the bigger their beards get!
35. Chore Auction
A highly entertaining way to earn money for your school is through a chores auction. The wonderful aspect of this type of fundraiser is that it is completely free, allowing all of the money you raise to support your fundraising goal.
Approach your students to volunteer for the chore auction. Invite your community to the live auction where attendees place bids on household chores, errands, or menial tasks they want to be completed by students.
For a fee, the school can auction the following:
- Classmates can clean other students' lockers
- Students can clean the classrooms
- Parents can have their lawn mowed
- Students can wash cars
36. Movie Night
From the glitz and glam of Bratz and Barbie to the animated adventures of Disney Plus, having a movie night or movie day is a fantastic way to raise money and keep the children occupied simultaneously.
Movie days are a great way for families to bond while raising money for your fundraiser. With themed classrooms and snacks, the movie day/movie night is the perfect family-friendly night for both parent and child!
37. Carnival Game Day
Hosting a Carnival game day is a great way to create a fun-filled activity day. This fundraiser will surely be a success with games like a dunk tank, dunking for apples, and various games to win prizes!
What better way to have students and teachers connect on a more personal level than to let students pay a dollar or two to dunk their favorite teacher?
38. Balloon Raffle
Nothing says fun like the sounds of glee from children trying to pop balloons. So a unique twist on an ordinary raffle is to host a balloon raffle event. The entry fee secures each participant a balloon with a piece of paper.
When the time comes, parents can watch in amusement as their kids try to pop a balloon to see if they are the lucky winner of the raffle ticket. Balloon raffles are a great way to include the whole family, as parents or guardians enjoy their time with family while the kids pop a balloon.
39. Family Day
Invite families to come to the school for a few hours during a school day. Parents or guardians can see the kids' classrooms, have lunch with them in the cafeteria, and bring a photographer to take photos of the families.
Families come in various shapes and sizes, and time can go by in the blink of an eye! A professional photographer from the community can capture precious family moments. Families can freeze a moment in time and have it captured in a picture for a small fee.
40. Picnic Day
Fundraising can be about spending time together. School picnics are an excellent way for kids to get some fresh air as they soak up vitamin D and play games together!
For a small entry fee, students will get to spend some time with friends at a picnic during an extended lunch. Hosting a picnic is as simple as finding a nearby park and going on a day with good weather conditions. The fee will help cover the food cost, and what's left over will go towards your fundraising efforts.
41. Haunted House
The time for spooky season draws near, and it is the opportune time for hosting a Halloween fundraiser. So rope in some fellow spookiest, whether teachers or parents and create your own haunted house. Halloween decorations can be inexpensive, and once the lights are off, they'll set the tone for a scary night.
With spooks and thrills to keep the kids returning, hosting a haunted house in season is sure to be a success.
42. Luck of the Draw
Like Bingo, scratch cards are another fun way for adults and kids to participate in school fundraising events. Donors will get to show their kids the fun of using scratch cards and donate the money on the scratch cards in exchange for coupon cards.
Platforms such as Fundrazor and Mr. Scratch Off allow you to make custom scratch-offs by design and order bulk.
43. Freestyle Day
Hosting a freestyle day is a great way to raise money for schools with uniforms. Host days where kids can get out of their uniforms and into themed costumes for a small fee. Students can decide on a theme for each month to make it more fun, and the best dressed can even win prizes.
Getting rid of the uniform for a day will raise the excitement and enjoyment for your next fundraiser.
44. Hula Hoops and Just Dance
Elevate your fundraiser and get a chance to see your students bust a move. You can see participants twirl and dance to their favorite songs for a small entrance fee. Parents and children alike will love this fundraiser as it will get their blood pumping to the beat of their favorite songs. The last student standing wins the tournament. With prizes to be won and a fun time guaranteed, this is a fantastic way to raise money.
Do hula hoop challenges where groups of students hula hoop and the last one from each group will win a prize.
45. Game Day Tournament
A big hit with middle school fundraisers is game days. Game days are fundraisers that provide families and teachers with an unforgettable experience. Hosting a game day is one of the best ways to garner funds without spending too much.
Parents can contribute to the day by lending any board they may have at home for the event. After the entrance fee is paid, all that's left for you is to watch who becomes the king or queen of the game day tournament!
Games like Cluedo, Uno, Monopoly, Scrabble, Chess, and even Checkers are great ingredients for a fantastic game-day tournament. Go the extra mile, and buy small trophies to give to the contest winners.
46. Benefit Concert
What could be more fun than a live concert performed by a local musician or famous artist to generate funds for your fundraiser? If you have an alumnus who is now a performing artist, you can ask them to perform for your school.
It's important to reiterate that they will perform at no charge or at a significantly discounted price. In addition, tickets can be discounted for students bought at school, while the public pays full price.
Ensure concession stands are available to generate more funds and attendees have a better experience.
47. Coin Jar
Coin jars, also known as money jars or donation jars, are an effortless way to make money for your school. Approach local businesses to keep a small jar at their registers so you can collect small change as donations from shoppers. The donation jar must be eye-catching and include a brief history outlining who the donations are for.
Arrange with the businesses that you will empty the jars weekly, or however often you deem necessary.
48. Penny War
A penny war is often referred to as coin drives, coin wars, and penny drives. This fundraising idea for your school is quick and easy to organize, results in a sizeable amount of funds, and encourages student engagement and friendly rivalry.
Each classroom or grade level will be a team. Encourage your students to bring spare change from home to deposit into containers or jars over a week or two. Students will get competitive with each other in the hopes of winning this challenge!
At the end of the penny war, the class or grade level that wins can win a prize, such as:
- Extra recess
- Pizza or icecream party
- Movie afternoon at school with snacks and drinks
49. Restaurant Fundraiser
Restaurant fundraisers are an excellent opportunity to raise funds while families and the community come together for a social event eating delicious food! Your school needs to join forces with a local restaurant that agrees to host your fundraiser for a day. They will give a portion of their proceeds to your school and get community exposure.
Thousands of restaurants host fundraiser events if you can't find a local restaurant to participate in your cause. From casual family restaurants to fat foods, there's an eatery willing to assist! A few suggestions of restaurants that support restaurant fundraisers include:
Make the day fun by asking parents and students to dress up in the school colors, and remember to notify guests to mention your fundraiser while paying.
50. Karaoke Night
Karaoke night is a great alternative if you're getting bored with the same type of fundraising events each year. They're especially ideal for high school and college students, offering a night of entertainment and plenty of laughs!
If you don't already have karaoke equipment, you can purchase one for your school to use every year or rent one for the day of the event. You can host a karaoke night at a local restaurant, in the school hall or gym, or at a community hall.
51. Pet Contest
What better way to show off your students' furry (or scaly, feathery, etc.) friends than by having a pet contest at school? Take advantage of this by holding a pet contest to find your school's cutest pet.
Prizes can range between various categories, such as birds, cats, dogs, chameleons, etc., and one grand prize for the cutest pet across all the categories. The student must pay a small entry fee for each pet entered into the competition.
Pet contests can be held online so students can upload pictures and vote for their favorite. Then, share the pictures across the school's various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to encourage students to vote.
52. 50/50 Raffle
Students, no matter what their age, is driven by money. A 50/50 raffle can be a profitable fundraising idea for your school, as students will pay to win an unknown large amount of money.
The premise is simple: students purchase tickets for the raffle, and the proceeds from ticket sales go toward the prize. The money is calculated after the raffle ends, and a ticket is randomly selected. Half (50%) of the prize money goes to the winning ticket holder, and the remaining half (50%) goes to the school.
53. Engraved Bricks
Engraved bricks are the perfect fundraising event to be held around graduation. For a fee, students get to make a lasting impression on their school or college by offering them a brick bearing their name and a short, personal message. The bricks can then get placed in a courtyard or visible walkway. Charge students per brick, word, or line of text.
54. Flapjack Fundraiser
Flapjacks, most commonly known as pancakes in the US, are a staple breakfast food amongst most households. Host a flapjack fundraiser at a local restaurant willing to partner with the school.
Alternatively, approach your local Applebee's to get involved. The restaurant chain has a pancake fundraiser program where they help schools and charitable organizations raise much-needed funds. They will supply the chef, supplies, and food, while you must arrange volunteers to act as waiters/waitresses to take orders, clear tables, and clean up.
Charge a standard fee for the pancake meals and have donation boxes available so guests can make additional donations towards your school.
55. Powderpuff Games
If you're looking for a way to boost school spirit while fundraising, hosting powderpuff games is the way to go. Powderpuff games are especially popular in the United States and Canada, where football players become cheerleaders and cheerleaders become football players.
Powderpuff games follow flag football or touch football rules, and the host school typically plays against a rival school. Alternatively, you can have your school's junior girls play against the girls' senior class.
Funds are generated from ticket sales, concessions sold at the game, and sales from team t-shirts.
56. Summer Sports Camp
Using your students' talents and skills to teach others in the community during the summer is a great way to generate funds when school is closed for the holidays. Children will pay a fee to attend the camp, and your school's sports stars can teach them how to improve their skills.
Parents will love this fundraising idea as it gives them time to get to tasks they can't normally do while taking care of their kids during the summer.
These sports camps don't need to focus on one sport only. Instead, offer variety, such as football, baseball, and basketball.
57. Head Shaving Challenge
The head shaving challenge is similar to the beard challenge, where students must shave their heads if they reach their fundraising targets. To raise awareness of the fundraiser, get your students to post before- and -after photos or videos on social media.
To encourage more donations, get a cancer organization such as Wigs for Kids to collect long hair that can be used to make wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Then, take it one step further by donating a percentage of the proceeds to a cancer research organization or a cancer children's hospital.
58. Box Tops Challenge
Box Tops for Education is a fun, easy way to raise money for your school. Box Tops has partnered with schools to help them save money on the things they need most. Over the years, Box Tops for Education has raised nearly $1 billion for over 80,000 schools across the United States to buy computers and fund school-related projects.
Students collect Box Tops from participating products to raise money for their school. Each Box Top is worth 10 cents; every 100 collected earns your school $10.
59. Wishlist Drive
School fundraising is not only about money, but can also be for specific items, such as:
- Gym equipment
- Classroom supplies
If your school needs any new items such as the ones listed above, you can create a wishlist to send to parents and your community. When someone orders an item from your wishlist, the online retailer will have it delivered straight to the school, making this process effortless.
An example of an online retailer is Amazon, where you add items to your wishlist and they get marked as unavailable once someone has purchased them.
60. Shoe Drive
Did you know that every year, a minimum of 200 million pairs of shoes and sneakers are thrown in landfills in the United States? This is the "sole" reason you should use this to your advantage!
Donate to a charitable organization by hosting a shoe drive while you are fundraising for your school. Most people have a pair of worn-out, old sneakers around the house. Invite your students and their families and the local community to participate in a shoe drive by donating their new, used, and gently worn shoes.
Partnering with a shoe drive organizer like GotSneakers allows your school to make money from donated shoes. Shoe drive organizers will pick up your collection of shoes after your fundraising event and provide your school with money for each pair collected!
The shoe drive organizers will then distribute the shoes and sneakers in disadvantaged communities and recycle those that can't be worn.
61. Art Auction
No matter their age, some kids are itching to get their creative juices flowing for a good cause! So approach your school's art class and the rest of the school to donate artwork to get sold at auction.
Many people in the community are interested in supporting these young artists by purchasing their creations. Host a gallery exhibition in the school gym and auction each item. Have a concession stand and sell drinks and snacks to boost funds.
Invite the artists to attend the auction and mingle with the guests who are interested in their art. They can talk about their creative work and answer questions bidders may have.
62. Candy Grams and Carnations
Candy grams and carnations are the perfect opportunities to raise funds during special holidays like Valentine's Day. Students preorder and pay for candy grams and carnation flowers to be sent to their Valentine crushes at school.
Candy grams are candy attached to a blank card where the sender can write a message to the recipient. The card and candy, along with carnations, get sent to their chosen Valentine.
63. Junk Drive
Nobody likes having junk lying around, and often, we don't know what to do with it. So we toss our junk into the trash, never to be seen again. However, a junk drive can change the way we think about these items and allows schools to raise money.
Ask your students and their families to sort through their junk at home and keep aside items like:
- Old electronics
- Damaged cell phones, laptops, tablets
- Empty ink cartridges
These items get collected at school and then sold to recycling companies for a profit.
64. Used Textbook Sale
At the end of a school semester or school year, students are left with textbooks they no longer need. Unfortunately, while some students sell their books or give them away, others tend to throw them in the trash.
When it's nearing the end of a semester or school year, get your teachers to announce to their students to leave their unwanted textbooks in the classroom. You can then sell these textbooks to bookstores or other resellers and keep the profit for the school.
65. Polar Plunge
The polar plunge is the perfect fundraising idea if your school is situated in an area that gets snow in the winter months. With the polar plunge, participants will jump into the icy cold water and submerge themselves for as long as their bodies can handle it.
Challenge your daredevil students who wish to participate in collecting pledges from their families and friends. Pledges can be a flat rate or a predetermined amount for each second the participant endures!
Don't forget to sell some warm drinks to the spectators to keep them warm and cozy. Have hot cocoa, tea, and coffee ready to serve, and if you want to serve a meal, prepare grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany a warm bowl of soup.
The jailhouse fundraiser is a great way to raise money for your school. It's fun, and easy, and is a great way to motivate students to participate in fundraising initiatives. To get everyone excited leading up to the event, post "wanted" posters across the school or campus.
Students pay for their classmates, teachers, friends, or family to be "jailed" at the center of campus. They must raise a matching donation from others who will get them out of jail by contributing to the cause.
67. Book Swap
Book lovers all have the same problem: buying books, reading them, and then leaving them on bookshelves to collect dust. With a book swap, you can give your books a new home.
Host a book swap in the school's library or a central location. To attend the book swap, students must pay an entrance fee and bring an old book (or books) to trade.
68. Clothing Swap
Encourage your students to bring their used clothing, shoes, and accessories to your school's clothing swap fundraiser. This is a great way to get rid of old clothes without throwing them in the trash.
Pick the best option for your school on whether to charge an entrance fee, a fee per bag or sell discounted individual items to raise money. You can also combine this event with other services like a school dance party or kids' game night fundraiser to raise money for your school.
69. Detective Day
Add a little creativity to your fundraiser by hosting a "detective day." The idea is similar to geocaching but with a twist. Once the students and parents have paid the entrance fee, they can get the first clue about the mission.
The missions can be as simple as finding a lost item or playing a card game to win. The students will win prizes at the end of the day based on the results. This fundraising idea is relatively inexpensive and easy to pull off as long as you use a bit of imagination.
Using your school on the weekend, you can set up the different classrooms as mission rooms. This fundraiser is a great way to see how quickly your students can think on their feet and an excellent way to create excitement for your following fundraiser.
70. Bingo Day
Bingo is a "luck of the draw" game. Known for being fun and easy, hosting a bingo day is a great way to get your students involved with the fundraiser. For a small entrance fee, everyone can participate.
You can start the event during recess or close the school a little earlier so the fun can begin. Bingo is a fun and easy game that anyone can play. Using bingo sheets, markers, a ball, and a cage (or a hat) will help you get the ball rolling.
This fundraising idea would take place over an entire semester. Your school can separate grades or classrooms into team houses, similar to Harry Potter, with specific goals to gain house points.
The idea behind a readathon is that the sponsors or donors will donate a specific amount of money for each book read within a particular period. Then, all that's left to do is to get your kids excited about winning the prize for their team. An example of a prize could be a day off for the winning class or pizza day.
Read-a-thons reignite a passion for reading, and the spirit of competitiveness may even get unexpected students to enjoy reading more.
72. Community Yard Sale
Community yard sales are a great way to teach children some responsibility while decluttering your home. In addition, a community yard sale will give families and the community a chance to eliminate some unwanted things while helping raise money for your high school fundraiser.
Parents can even have their children donate one or two of their toys and teach children the joy of giving to others. In addition, community yard sales are a fantastic way to bond with the community while raking in some much-needed money.
73. Scavenger Hunt
A good old-fashioned scavenger hunt is a definite must when considering fundraising ideas. This school fundraising idea is similar to Detective Day. You can increase the stakes with middle and high school students by making the game even harder. You can even use the lessons the kids are learning as clues.
With the different teams formed, the teams will have a set amount of time to decipher the clues and find the items before the time runs out. Scavenger hunts are a great way to get the kids thinking and working together as a team to decipher clues, and they work as a great fundraising tool.
74. Video Game Day
While you usually want to limit the screen time for your kids, hosting a video game day is a great way to get parents interested in their children's favorite pastime – gaming!
A game day is a great way to see how skilled the learners are at different games while raising funds needed for the school. Donors can give their time and money and beat their kids in classics like Mario Cart.
75. Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship
Host a tournament or championship for one of the most competitive games known to man - rock, paper, scissors!
Make the fundraiser a school-wide event that allows students to verse one another until the top player emerges. Then, for an entrance fee, students can challenge their favorite and not-so-favorite teachers to a game of "rock-paper-scissors" and receive the title of champion of rock-paper-scissors.
Build the tensions as you have class versus class, and eventually grade versus grade until only one winner is left. Remember to give each grade winner a gift.
76. School Sleepover
Most students seem to think that teachers are robots who live at school and wait for their return the next day. Give students the chance to see what their school is like after hours by hosting a school sleepover.
Students can bring their jammies and sleeping bags to camp out with their friends in the gym for a small entrance fee. Give parents a small break while the students enjoy a fun-filled evening of movies, games, and snacks with their friends. This fundraiser is a win-win for everyone!
Plan Your Next School Fundraising Event
Time-consuming, energy-draining, and worthwhile in the end, fundraisers really do have a lot in common with children. But, like children, fundraisers can come in many forms and sizes and require attention to detail. A detailed plan is one way to ensure that everything is still going according to plan.
Use the following pointers to help you get your school fundraiser planning started:
Determine Your Fundraisers Objectives
Knowing your objectives is the first step to creating a fundraiser destined for success. What are you hoping to achieve by hosting a fundraiser? Is there a plan in place for how the funds will be distributed and used? Your goals should include the following:
- An estimate of how much money needs to be raised
- Which areas are in dire need of funding
- How funding will be used and distributed
- Determine who will be in charge of the funds that are raised
Set A Timeline for Your School Fundraiser Ideas and Event
A school fundraiser is much like any other project, and it needs to have both a beginning and an end. Unfortunately, fundraisers that are not planned according to a timeline can seem never-ending and demotivate those planning the fundraiser.
Having an end date for your fundraiser lets donors know which date they should be donating to your fundraiser. Tracking your progress will also be made infinitely more accessible as you can see how much progress you have made over time.
Why are You Hosting a School Fundraiser
Education is something that impacts everyone. But not everyone has the same resources available to them. This is why school fundraisers are so important. School fundraisers, in particular, raise funds to ensure that programs and resources can be provided for students struggling to survive in the typical school environment.
Be honest about why the funds are needed. Your fundraiser needs to be able to answer the five essential W's:
- Who? (Who are the funds being raised for?)
- What? (What will the funds be used for? What areas require extra funding or resources?)
- Where? (Where will the funds be allocated to? Where can donors receive updates about the funds being used?)
- Why? (Why is it necessary to seek outside help? Why are certain areas lacking?)
- How? (How was the desired amount calculated? How will the funding help your school meet its goals?)
Determine What Your Campaign Budget Is
One of the most important aspects of hosting a fundraiser is having an ideal amount of money you want to raise. Another aspect is determining how much money you are willing to spend on the event.
Determining how much you are willing to spend on your fundraiser will also help you determine what kind of fundraiser you will be hosting. You can calculate your campaign budget based on previous fundraisers of a similar type.
Create A Finalized Campaign Calendar
Once you have finalized the budget for your fundraiser, you can start determining which dates work the best for you. Your campaign budget will include a budget for creating teams and meetings to assess the finer fundraiser details, such as location.
Your finalized campaign calendar will allow you to plan for all fundraising phases. The phases of fundraising that your campaign calender will address are:
- The Quiet Phase
- The Kick-Off Phase
- The Public Phase
Spread Awareness about Your Unique School Fundraisers
In the age of digital marketing and the social media boom, it has never been easier to get word of your event out! One of the few positive advancements in recent years is that people have begun to connect more and develop interpersonal relationships through social media.
When planning your fundraiser, it is imperative to determine which ways you will advertise your fundraiser both to existing donors and potential donors. You can use any of the following tried and true methods to execute your advertising:
- Flyers: As it turns out, print media is still alive and thriving. Send home word of the fundraiser with your students by handing them flyers with information about your fundraiser. Or you can place an ad in the local paper to gain the attention of the rest of the community.
- Morning Announcements: Announcements made in the morning tend to stick with you. So while you are announcing the day's lunch menu, don't forget to slip in some information about the upcoming fundraiser.
- Newsletter: Use existing platforms and send information about the fundraiser to donors and parents using your school's email newsletter.
- Social Media: School fundraisers are open to the public. Using your social media platforms is one way to spread the word about your school's fundraiser. Invite family and friends to spend the day with you for a great cause.
- The local news: What better way to spread the word about your fundraiser than to speak about it using the local news sites? Whether it is a local tv program, a radio show, or even the local paper route, spreading awareness of a fundraising event for a good cause has never been easier.
The Dos & Don'ts When It Comes to School Fundraising
Executing a successful fundraiser requires a lot of effort and time from you and your team. Here are a few dos and don'ts you should consider when planning a detailed school fundraising plan:
Don't Neglect Donors
Whether current or new, donors should be contacted more regularly and not only when donations are needed. By keeping in regular contact with your donors, you will be able to build a relationship with them, encouraging them to work with you and help you garner more funding.
Communication is KEY to success as it helps you to build a positive and impactful relationship with the donors you regularly interact with. So whether you are communicating with new, active, or potential donors, creating a solid foundation relationship is essential, making it more likely for these donors to give funding to your school fundraisers regularly.
Don't Make It Complicated
A common mistake made when it comes to fundraising is collecting donations. You will receive fewer donations if you use an extended or overcomplicated process. If you use a complex process, you risk frustrating your donors, leading to a lower donation amount.
Don't Go Too Overboard
Thinking out of the box or demolishing the box altogether is a great way to motivate your fundraising team. In addition, thinking out of the box will encourage those around you to come up with unique and innovative ideas for your fundraiser. However, when brainstorming and creating these fantastic ideas, remember they must be rooted in reality.
Don't Be Scared To Ask For Help
Some imagine working hard to scrounge up funding all by themselves. Others view fundraising as an opportunity to network and work with like-minded people. "It takes a village to raise a child," and it takes a village to provide for one. School fundraising is a way to create opportunities for children by funding different programs and providing much-needed resources. So if you need extra help, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Don't Wait Too Long To Plan
Procrastination is the enemy of creativity! The longer you procrastinate planning, the more challenging creating a detailed fundraiser will seem. However, a mistake some planners make is to wait too long before they start planning. Even if the school fundraiser occurs every year, it is vital to begin the planning process as early as possible to ensure that the fundraiser stays aligned with its goal.
The bigger the goals, the more time is necessary to achieve them. Using a previous plan will not always work as there may be a change of circumstance. That is why getting a head start on planning your school fundraiser is essential. This will allow you time to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and pull off.
Do Be Honest About The Impact
People donate to a fundraiser because they believe they are helping to further a cause. However, when it comes to school fundraisers, donors want to know that the money they have given has made a difference.
When communicating with your donors, be transparent about the use of the funds and how impactful they have been. In addition, be honest about whether or not the funds raised previously have helped you reach any of the goals you set.
You can be more transparent with donors by:
- Clearly outline what the aim of the school fundraiser is
- Be honest about whether or not the funds raised were enough to solve your school's problem
- Using social media, newsletters, reports, and other platforms, report to the community about how funds are spent and how impactful the funding has been to the school and its pupils
Do Be Creative With The Invite
Your school fundraiser should draw positive attention from the word go. By coming up with unique designs or methods to invite donors, you are more likely to gain more attention for your fundraiser.
The more appealing and creative your invitation is, the likelier it will attract more donors and attention from your target audience. First impressions count, and the first impression of your fundraising event is the invite.
Do Use Themes
School fundraising events usually coincide or are linked to one another. Use this to your advantage and look into different themes you can have for school fundraising events.
Using themed school fundraising events will make it easier to garner attention and hype your target audience about attending your fundraiser. Themes are a fun and exciting way to gain your event's attention and provoke donors' thoughts.
Thinking outside the box and organizing themed school fundraisers will enable parents and donors alike to participate in a fun and unique way. A theme is a fun way to express our excitement through advertising, games, and crowd participation. However, when choosing a theme, it is also essential to consider the following factors:
- Choose a piece or a theme that is both fun and thought-provoking
- Make sure your theme will work well with both advertising and designs
- Consider the season and whether the theme fits with the school fundraising idea
Easy School Fundraising Ideas: Keep It Simple
Planning a school fundraiser can be complex and involves a lot of teamwork and effort. However, when you are creating your detailed school fundraising plan, it is imperative to remember that the fundraiser should not be too long.
The last thing anyone, donor and parent alike, wants to do is to attend a seemingly never-ending fundraising event. Ensure that your fundraiser runs according to a schedule and that the event does not monopolize the whole day.
To ensure that the event goes smoothly like butter and proceeds in a timeous manner, you can:
- Speakers are informed of their time constraints
- Keep to your schedule as much as possible
- Create events that are fun and easy to complete swiftly
Do Engage and Participate in Discussions With Your Team
When planning a school fundraiser, you will be grouped with people with the same mission and vision. However, to ensure that your fundraising event is a success, you will need to trust and engage with your group members on a more personal level. By developing a deeper level of trust, you will encourage better group dynamics and create a positive synergy that will help carry your event to the end.
When planning a school fundraiser, it is essential to keep communication channels open with your members. Listen to the ideas and plans of others and decide together as a group what the best course of action should be.
Do Show Your Donors Appreciation
Give thanks to the donors contributing to your school fundraising ideas. Whether people are donating to your fundraiser in time, money, or effort, you must show appreciation for everything they have done for the school. The more appreciated your donors feel, the more likely they are to be interested in helping next time.
Simply put, your fundraiser will be increasingly difficult to pull off without a proper and detailed plan, whether holding a simple bake sale or car wash, a lavish gala dinner, or a theatre night.
Plan Your Next Successful School Fundraising Event
Don't forget to have fun while planning and participating in your school fundraising events. Gain the much-needed funding and make a difference in your community.