110+ Incredible School Fundraising Ideas: Raise Money Now!
Whether you’re a booster club parent, PTA president, teacher, administrator, or professional fundraiser, you know how essential fundraising is for your school. Fundraising helps you support sports teams, clubs, the arts, events, class trips, and building repairs and expansions. You also know how difficult fundraising can be—especially when you keep using the same school fundraising idea over and over again.
In order to truly engage your school’s community of supporters and get them excited about giving to your school, you need fresh, fun, and creative ideas, which is where we come in. Below is our definitive list of the strongest fundraising ideas for schools—ideas that will work whether you’re raising money for a new student union building on your college campus or seeking funding for new instruments for your elementary school music class.
For your convenience, we’ve divided this list of ideas into the following categories:
- Matching Gift Drive: Our Top Fundraising Idea for Schools and Universities
- Our Favorite Fundraising Ideas for Schools and Universities
- Donation Request Fundraisers for Schools
- Online School Fundraisers
- Product Fundraisers for Schools
- School Fundraising Events
- Seasonal Fundraisers for Schools
- School Fundraising Games
- Elementary School Fundraisers
- Middle School Fundraisers
- High School Fundraisers
- College and University Fundraisers
- Low-Cost School Fundraisers
- Year-Round School Fundraisers
Let’s jump in and explore these school fundraising ideas that are sure to help you on your fundraising journey.
Matching Gift Drive: Our Top Fundraising Idea for Schools and Universities
Matching gifts are a type of corporate philanthropy in which a company financially matches a donation an employee makes to organizations of their choice. When an employee submits a donation, they’ll request a matching gift from their employer, who then makes their own donation. Usually employers match donations at a 1:1 ratio, but some will match at a 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 ratio! Many companies offer gift matching for higher education, but there are also companies that will match contributions to high schools and elementary schools. Make sure you educate your school community about this easy way to multiply their donations’ impact! Matching gifts are great because they take employee donations and help them go further in helping your school. Plus, companies love to engage their employees by helping them give back to their favorite causes. Matching gifts also help you to get more money for your school for less work. Your school gets two donations for the price and work of soliciting one! And they’re great for schools of all shapes and sizes—from pre-kindergarten to higher education institutions. A matching gift drive is super easy to set up. Simply educate your supporters about matching gifts and encourage them to make a donation to your school and submit their donation information to their employers. Of course, each employer has their own unique matching gift form and request process. However, you can simplify these steps by integrating a matching gift database into your online donation form, allowing your donors to find their employers and submit requests in a matter of seconds. Want to learn more about matching gifts? Check out these articles:
What are matching gifts?
Why do we love matching gift drives?
How do you get started with a matching gift drive?
Matching gifts are a type of corporate philanthropy in which a company financially matches a donation an employee makes to organizations of their choice.
When an employee submits a donation, they’ll request a matching gift from their employer, who then makes their own donation. Usually employers match donations at a 1:1 ratio, but some will match at a 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 ratio!
Many companies offer gift matching for higher education, but there are also companies that will match contributions to high schools and elementary schools. Make sure you educate your school community about this easy way to multiply their donations’ impact!
Matching gifts are great because they take employee donations and help them go further in helping your school. Plus, companies love to engage their employees by helping them give back to their favorite causes.
Matching gifts also help you to get more money for your school for less work. Your school gets two donations for the price and work of soliciting one! And they’re great for schools of all shapes and sizes—from pre-kindergarten to higher education institutions.
A matching gift drive is super easy to set up. Simply educate your supporters about matching gifts and encourage them to make a donation to your school and submit their donation information to their employers.
Of course, each employer has their own unique matching gift form and request process. However, you can simplify these steps by integrating a matching gift database into your online donation form, allowing your donors to find their employers and submit requests in a matter of seconds.
Want to learn more about matching gifts? Check out these articles:
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Our Favorite Fundraising Ideas for Schools and Universities
#1: Professional Fundraising Materials
Professional fundraising materials include any advertising collateral and products you’re selling. Well-designed materials are what will make your school’s fundraisers stick out to parents and the entire community. From promotional flyers to t-shirts, professional designs will level up both your fundraising products and marketing. That way, you can raise more for your school and improve your students’ learning environment in no time. Getting creative with your promotional materials and product designs will make it much easier to raise money for your school. For one, eye-catching flyers will reel your community in. Posters will serve as a great reminder of your campaign when parents see them hanging on their refrigerators and other supporters come across them posted around town. What’s more, high-quality products will simplify the buying decision process, making it a no-brainer for people to purchase your t-shirts, stickers, and any other school spirit items you’re selling. To create professional fundraising materials for your school, you’ll want to work with a graphic design service. That way, you can focus on your campaign rather than creating promotional materials and product designs yourself. We highly recommend Kwala, because their graphic designers have years of experience creating high-quality designs for schools and other fundraising organizations. From fundraising flyers to yard signs, their team will provide you with everything you need to power your next fundraiser. All you need to do is fill out their onboarding form, and you’ll be paired with one of their expert designers.
What are professional fundraising materials?
Why create professional fundraising materials?
How do I create professional fundraising materials?
Professional fundraising materials include any advertising collateral and products you’re selling. Well-designed materials are what will make your school’s fundraisers stick out to parents and the entire community.
From promotional flyers to t-shirts, professional designs will level up both your fundraising products and marketing. That way, you can raise more for your school and improve your students’ learning environment in no time.
Getting creative with your promotional materials and product designs will make it much easier to raise money for your school.
For one, eye-catching flyers will reel your community in. Posters will serve as a great reminder of your campaign when parents see them hanging on their refrigerators and other supporters come across them posted around town.
What’s more, high-quality products will simplify the buying decision process, making it a no-brainer for people to purchase your t-shirts, stickers, and any other school spirit items you’re selling.
To create professional fundraising materials for your school, you’ll want to work with a graphic design service. That way, you can focus on your campaign rather than creating promotional materials and product designs yourself. We highly recommend Kwala, because their graphic designers have years of experience creating high-quality designs for schools and other fundraising organizations.
From fundraising flyers to yard signs, their team will provide you with everything you need to power your next fundraiser. All you need to do is fill out their onboarding form, and you’ll be paired with one of their expert designers.
#2: Fundraising Web Store
A fundraising web store is an easy and effective tool for selling fundraising products to your school’s supporters. ABC Fundraising can help you set up your web store to sell products like gourmet coffee, branded apparel, or any of their other great fundraising products. From there, all you need to do is promote your fundraiser and share your web store link with your supporters. Just sit back and watch as the orders roll in and ABC Fundraising delivers your products for free. Fundraising web stores take the complexity out of fundraising product sales for your school. They offer products that your supporters will actually want, ensuring that you’ll raise the money that you need. Web stores allow your supporters to shop for and purchase fundraising products online. That means no door-to-door selling for your students! All you’ll have to do is get the link to your store out to your supporters. To get started, get a free ABC Fundraising digital info kit to learn more about setting your fundraising web store.
What is a fundraising web store?
Why use a fundraising web store?
How do I get started with a fundraising web store?
A fundraising web store is an easy and effective tool for selling fundraising products to your school’s supporters. ABC Fundraising can help you set up your web store to sell products like gourmet coffee, branded apparel, or any of their other great fundraising products.
From there, all you need to do is promote your fundraiser and share your web store link with your supporters. Just sit back and watch as the orders roll in and ABC Fundraising delivers your products for free.
Fundraising web stores take the complexity out of fundraising product sales for your school. They offer products that your supporters will actually want, ensuring that you’ll raise the money that you need.
Web stores allow your supporters to shop for and purchase fundraising products online. That means no door-to-door selling for your students! All you’ll have to do is get the link to your store out to your supporters.
To get started, get a free ABC Fundraising digital info kit to learn more about setting your fundraising web store.
#3: Gourmet Popcorn
No one can resist this salty snack! Selling gourmet popcorn is a popular way for schools to raise funds because everyone can get involved. For this fundraiser to work, you’ll need to find a company that sells popcorn in a variety of flavors at a discounted price, like ABC Fundraising.
ABC Fundraising offers gourmet popcorn in flavors like nutty caramel, strawberry shortcake, and white cheddar, which means all your supporters can find a flavor they love. Plus, ABC Fundraising can provide you with the materials to sell popcorn door-to-door or online through a fundraising web store. And with home delivery, you can sell to grandparents or other family members who may live out of state but still want to support your school.
#4: Scratch Card
Not familiar with scratch cards fundraisers? Each student is given a scratch card with the potential to raise $100. They can ask friends and family to scratch off bubbles and donate the amount that appears.
This campaign has the potential to raise a lot of funds for your cause. Even if 20 students collect $50 each (half of a scratch card’s potential), you can raise $1,000 for your school!
Among the fastest-growing school fundraisers in the world, read-a-thons have hit the mainstream and are used by thousands of schools to raise more and promote education!
Students participate in your campaign by first logging time spent reading into your read-a-thon platform and sending friends and family their read-a-thon fundraising pages. Next, donors make pledges to support the student’s progress as they rack up reading hours.
Finally, all that’s left is to market your read-a-thon campaign and make sure that students and parents understand how to log time and share their pages. Then you’re all set to start raising thousands for an activity your students are already doing!
Requesting donations is much easier when you have a place to direct your supporters so they can easily contribute. With crowdfunding, your school can create a fundraising page without breaking the budget.
Use social media, email, direct mail, and other solicitation methods to reach out to your donors and ask for gifts. Additionally, encourage supporters to share your page.
#7: Online Shopping Fundraiser
Online shopping fundraisers are incredibly easy to execute and generally have low or no upfront investment needs, which means ROI for these fundraisers is high. An online shopping fundraiser works by directing a percentage of the revenue from almost every item a supporter purchases to your school. When these fundraisers are executed through a trusted platform like ShopRaise, they can integrate naturally into your supporters’ lives, providing them with regular opportunities to contribute to your school in between your larger fundraising events and campaigns.
#8: Direct Mail Fundraising
Direct mail is a powerhouse fundraising tool that can drive a large amount of donation revenue to your school. Statistics show that targeting prospective donors on a one-on-one level using direct mail can increase response rates up to 50% or more.
By partnering with a dedicated nonprofit marketing and communications agency like Meyer Partners, you can create personalized letters to send to your school’s supporters. Be sure to address letters with supporters’ preferred names and include a return envelope in your letter to make it as easy as possible to donate.
#9: A Free Donation Widget
Fundraising is a team sport! Whatever your project or goal, it’s essential that you get as much of your school’s extended network involved as possible. Raising awareness and providing easy digital tools is the best way to start.
Free donation widgets like DonateKindly make it easier than ever to promote specific campaigns online and get students involved. Plus, there are no fees on any online donations.
#10: Dollars for Doers
Dollars for Doers (aka volunteer grants) are funds that a company will donate to an organization that one of their employees volunteers with. They follow a similar structure to matching gifts.
So, if your school has an active volunteer base, you should promote the opportunity and see if any current volunteers work for a company with a Dollars for Doers program.
#11: Shoe Drives
Funds2Orgs is a company that has created a unique and profitable school fundraising idea that also gives back to others.
All your school has to do is collect gently worn, used, or new shoes from students, faculty, staff, and parents and send them off to Funds2Orgs. Within 48 hours of processing, Funds2Orgs will send your school a check based on the number of pounds of shoes you gathered!
#12: Event-a-Thon Fundraising
99Pledges makes it easy to get your students involved in fundraising for your school. When you create a 99Pledges campaign for your walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, dance-a-thon, or other “event-a-thon” style fundraiser, participating students receive personalized fundraising pages to share with friends and family via email or text and on social media.
Want to encourage competition among student fundraisers or groups such as classes or teams? Use 99Pledges’ tracking feature to check your fundraising progress and see who’s in the lead!
#13: Virtual and On-Campus Fitness Fundraisers
Boosterthon partners with 3,000+ schools each year to host highly-profitable, fun, and customizable fitness-based school fundraising events—both virtual and on campus. Experience our full-service or DIY fundraising platforms specifically tailored to your school’s needs.
Whether you want our enthusiastic team to do all the heavy lifting, or you just need the most effective fundraising platform in the industry to host your own fun run, virtual fundraiser, or other fundraising event, schools who use Boosterthon raise more and work less.
#14: Online Donation Tools
Accepting online donations is essential for raising money from alumni, parents, and grandparents looking to give back. And there are plenty of tools to help lift the weight of planning and organizing off your back!
Ensure that your online donation experience is easy for donors and then reach out to all of your school’s supporters. By making it easy to contribute online in seconds, you’ll raise more money. To find the right online donation tool for you, check out this list of the best online donation services for schools.
#15: Silent Auctions
Silent auctions are a fundraising staple, and with good reason! Your school can raise a lot of money at a silent auction. Whether it is combined with a live auction or not, you’ll still attract plenty of bidders.
Be sure to pair your auction with a larger event, like a performance or parents’ dinner. As long as you have a good mix of affordable and big ticket items, you’ll be in good shape to raise money!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Donation Request Fundraisers for Schools
Inspire your donors to focus on your students by requesting “sponsorships” from your supporters. They can sponsor individuals like athletes, musicians, or student body officers, or they can sponsor entire classes, teams, clubs, or programs.
Sponsorships are a great way to get consistent donations from community members, so be sure to offer a recurring gift option. You could also encourage groups or individuals to reach out with personalized thank-you notes (or drawings, for younger students) and thank their sponsors for supporting their activities and ambitions.
#17: Google Ad Grant
While schools and other educational institutions are not eligible for the Google Ad Grant, nonprofit organizations with a focus on education are. The Google Ad Grant is an opportunity offered by Google that gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 per month to spend on Google Ads.
If your organization is interested in pursuing the Google Ad Grant, check out Getting Attention to access resources on how to get started!
#18: Major Donor Outreach
Major donors are donors who have the capacity and affinity to give large amounts of money to schools, colleges, and universities. These might be notable community members, alumni, or business owners in your local area.
By conducting prospect research, you can find major donors who would be interested in contributing to your school. After you’ve identified those donors, you can start getting to know them and engaging them in your school’s activities. Then, once you’ve cultivated a strong relationship, you can make a donation request.
#19: Community Grants
Whether your school is located in a busy metropolis or in a rural town, you likely have local businesses and companies that would like to see your students succeed.
Some of these companies might offer community grants!
Community grants are lump sums of money that corporations and businesses offer to nonprofit organizations.
Sometimes, a company will select an organization whose mission aligns with their own philanthropic interests.
In other instances, the application is open to any nonprofit organization.
Your school or college should research the top companies that make community grants to educational institutions.
#20: In-Kind Donations
In-kind donations aren’t what schools typically think of when they’re fundraising, but that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored! Instead of cash, donations of essential goods and services are donated directly to your school from community members and companies alike.
For example, in-kind donations from local businesses or individuals can be:
- Products for classrooms.
- Decorations, food, or drinks for events.
- Specialized services like tax advice or accounting support.
- Tickets to tours, trips, and other rich experiences for students.
- And countless other products, services, and resources!
In-kind donations aren’t as common as other, more traditional fundraising methods, but they can be a massive help if your school doesn’t have the funds to purchase certain items.
#21: Team Volunteer Grants
If your school or university hosts regular “volunteer days,” you might want to look into team volunteer grants as a fundraising supplement.
Team volunteer grants are corporate giving programs that reward groups of employees who volunteer together.
When a group of employees volunteers at an organization (your school, for instance!), they can apply for a team volunteer grant.
Their employer then distributes a sum to your school or university based on how many hours the group of employees volunteered for.
Team volunteer grants are a great way to encourage your volunteers to help your school out monetarily without asking them to open their own wallets.
#22: Volunteer Grants
Volunteer grants are exactly like team volunteer grants.
The only difference is that volunteer grants are distributed even when only one employee donates his or her time at an organization.
You should promote volunteer grants to the parents, students, and alumni that give their time to your school or university and take advantage of the generosity of their employers!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Online School Fundraisers
#23: Mobile Donation Forms
Create a mobile-optimized donation form to reach out to even more parents, students, and alumni. When your form is convenient and easy to access, more supporters can give whenever the mood strikes them.
To create an effective donation form, you’ll need the assistance of a powerful donation tool. Look for tools that have features such as recurring gifts, suggested donation amounts, and customization.
#24: Online Bake Sale
An online bake sale is a school fundraising idea that puts a modern (and pandemic-friendly) twist on a popular favorite.
For your online bake sale, simply recruit volunteers from your faculty, PTA, or booster group to make delicious baked goods like brownies, cookies, cakes, and more. From there, you’ll need to set up an online order form that supporters can access on your school website or via email.
Once you have all of your orders, start baking and delivering! To involve your students in the process, consider putting culinary arts teachers and their classes in charge of baking some of the treats.
#25: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Do you want to raise money and gain new supporters at the same time? Peer-to-peer fundraising is your solution! For this fundraiser, your supporters will create their own fundraising pages and solicit gifts from their peers, putting your most passionate advocates in charge of your campaign.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll be in the dark about your fundraising—dedicated peer-to-peer fundraising platforms can help you to manage your P2P campaign and consolidate all of your supporters’ efforts.
#26: Virtual Concert
Concerts are fun, especially when you can enjoy one from the comfort of your couch! Ask a local band or singer to donate a performance on behalf of your school. Or ask your school’s music teacher, band, and orchestra to provide a performance instead.
In exchange for a small “ticket” fee, send each supporter the virtual invitation and streaming link for your concert. On the big day, encourage your supporters to stay engaged by encouraging them to request songs and interact with each other in a virtual chat box. To raise even more money, you could also encourage supporters to pay an extra amount of money to dedicate a song to a loved one or join an exclusive Q&A with the performer after the show.
#27: Facebook Fundraiser
Facebook fundraisers are so effective because they help you catch your supporters’ attention where they are—social media! Simply set up a fundraising page on Facebook on behalf of your school or school group. Then, use tags, hashtags, group-making features, and photo-sharing capabilities to customize your page and encourage people to share.
Gamify this fundraiser by encouraging your school’s supporters to share a certain amount of times to win a prize.
GoodSearch offers funding to nonprofits and schools for each time a supporter performs an online search.
Simply download GoodSearch’s toolbar, and your school or university can raise money from everyone’s normal search activity.
GoodSearch makes money just like Google—i.e., from advertising. The difference is that GoodSearch splits their advertising profit with their nonprofit supporters.
If you’re part of a school or university and want to turn all of your internet queries into additional funds, then consider a switch to GoodSearch. All you have to do is use the internet as you normally do, except now you get to make money for your surfing.
#29: Online Auction
This is a great fundraising activity that doesn’t require hosting an actual event. A school charity auction can easily be hosted online using charity auction software.
Online charity auctions usually go down like this:
- Images, descriptions, and values of all items are uploaded to the website.
- Parents and members of the community can go online to create an account.
- They bid on items and can even select “buy now” pricing.
- All bidding, payments, and promotion are done through the website, and it doesn’t require the up-front costs of producing a full-scale event.
One great way to get auction items together for a school fundraiser is to task each class with donating an auction item. Some people may have special items they can donate such as:
- Offering their seats if they are season tickets holders for a sporting event.
- Gift certificates to restaurants.
- Spa certificates.
Your school may also consider adding a few high ticket items (commonly known as consignment items) that can add excitement and be very lucrative for your school. These items include prizes like a vacation get-away or exclusive VIP package at no risk to your school. If the bid minimum is not met, you are not obligated to purchase the prize.
Qmee is a company that offers a free browser app that promotes paid search ads within major search engines.
You might be wondering how your nonprofit or organization can benefit from Qmee, but stay with us.
When individuals search for keywords in Google, Yahoo, or another search engine, Qmee will present them with alternate search results with attached dollar and cent amounts. For instance, a search for “jewelry” might reveal a 7¢ search option.
Users can “cash out” their Qmee piggy banks to a nonprofit of their choice.
You can register with Qmee to be a nonprofit “cash out” choice for Qmee users. All you need is to prove your status as a charity, email their support team, and you’ll be good to go!
Promote Qmee to your supporters and donors and earn a little extra cash every time they search for anything on the internet!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Product Fundraisers for Schools
#30: Face Masks
The demand for face masks recently skyrocketed. Nonprofits can use this increased demand as an opportunity to raise funds, boost awareness, and promote community safety—all with a single campaign. Hosting a face mask fundraiser is a unique and relevant fundraising choice for all types of organizations!
Your supporters will jump at the chance to support your cause while receiving a tangible, practical incentive for themselves.
#31: Discount Cards
A discount card fundraiser is a great way for your school to offer a very valuable product to your friends, family, and other supporters. Here’s how it works:
- Partner with a discount card provider, like ABC Fundraising, that has exclusive offers with popular national merchants and local merchants.
- Buy discount cards at a low cost, typically $6-$9 per card (depending on volume).
- Your school or school organization sells each card for between $10-$20 to earn a profit.
- Your supporters save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of the money-saving offers on the card, which can be used over and over for one full year at either national or local merchants.
The best part? Your school makes money and the supporters who buy the discount card save money!
Your supporters will love the chance to rock a school t-shirt and support a cause. Moreover, t-shirts make for a great product fundraising idea because every time donors wear your shirt, they will be promoting your school and fundraising campaign to everyone who sees.
For this fundraising idea to work, you’ll need to partner with a t-shirt company built for fundraising that can help you design and print your shirts, like Bonfire!
#33: Branded Travel Mugs
Everyone loves taking their favorite drink on the go, whether it’s coffee, ice water, or a sports drink. But problems arise when you’re trying to keep your drink hot or cold and you don’t have the right mug.
Solve this problem for your school’s supporters by selling custom travel mugs and tumblers from ABC Fundraising. They can customize your mugs with your school, team, or club’s logo to make each mug extra special. Plus, they can even add your logo to the mugs on your order-taking flyers so your supporters can see how their mug is going to look.
Your supporters will love investing in your school and getting such a useful item in return.
#34: Snacks Fundraiser
A snacks fundraiser set up through ABC Fundraising is an excellent school product fundraiser because there’s something for everyone. A few of the options ABC Fundraising provides are trail mix, gummi bears, chocolate malted milk balls, neapolitan pretzel mix, and honey roasted peanuts.
This is another fundraiser you can set up online with a fundraising web store or take door-to-door in your community. Either way, it’s sure to help you raise money for your school!
#35: Chocolate Bar Fundraiser
A chocolate bar fundraiser is a great school fundraising idea if you’re looking to get your students involved in your fundraising efforts. When you partner with a dedicated product fundraising company like ABC Fundraising, you can order cases of chocolate bars for students (and parents, teachers, and administrators) to sell.
They’ll love selling $1 and $2 chocolate bars to their friends and family. And supporters will be able to choose from caramel, almond, crispy, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate almond-flavored chocolate bars, providing the variety supporters want to see from product fundraisers!
Cookbook fundraisers are very common at schools, and they can be a lot of fun for parents. Almost every mom, dad, grandpa, and grandma has a family recipe, and many of them would love to share the recipe with other members of the community.
School cookbooks often sell for more than twice their cost, so your school has the potential for a lot of fundraising revenue. Schools can either:
- Use their own printers and tools to make the cookbook.
- Use a cookbook making service to put together the recipes in a more professional manner.
By including parents’ and family members’ recipes, you’re much more likely to get them to buy a copy of the book.
#37: Flower Bulb Fundraiser
For a great eco-friendly fundraiser, try selling flower bulbs to the green thumbs in your local community!
You can buy bulbs at wholesale prices through a company that specializes in flower bulb fundraising and sell them during the spring or fall growing season.
Students can sell the different types of bulbs to their neighbors and family members.
Not only is this a great way for your school to raise money, but you’re also helping beautify the community. When your school sells flower bulbs, it’s a win for everyone involved!
#38: School Calendars
A school calendar can be a huge fundraiser, and it can do especially well if directed specifically towards parents and family members of students at your school.
Calendars can include:
- Student artwork
- Class photos
- Pictures of school events
There are several options when it comes to how to create your calendar:
- Keep the price low by using school equipment and volunteers (yearbook or newspaper staff would be a great resource!).
- You can spend a little extra and use a professional printing service.
Calendars make great Christmas presents, so selling them around that time is definitely a strategy you’ll want to consider. But remember: preparing for and creating calendars can take a bit of time, so plan ahead to make sure you have everything done well before you start selling them!
#39: Trash Bag Sale
Think about it. Every household with children, regardless of their age, uses trash bags on a daily basis.
Why not tap into that need and raise some money for your school? Buy some bags at wholesale price and have students sell them in different quantities to their:
- Family members
- Other members of the community
While this fundraiser admittedly isn’t as glamorous as others, it is still a great way for your school to raise some money and provide families in the community with a product that they use all the time. Consider this fundraising idea in the bag!
#40: Candle Sale
If your school is hesitant to sell candy or other sweet treats, try selling candles instead!
Candle fundraisers allow your school to collect up to 70% of the profits made from selling the sweet-smelling candles that everyone knows and loves.
You can even get orders individually packaged so that you and your students don’t have to worry about breaking any of the jars during delivery.
With seasonal options as well, candles provide your school with a great fundraiser that makes people’s homes smell delightful.
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
School Fundraising Events
#41: Team Fundraising
Online team fundraising platforms are perfect tools to support and promote your school’s fundraising events! Start a campaign to raise funds for your big fall festival, or promote your project page at your next PTA meeting. Digital tools and live events make great partners, so get creative.
Plus, with a platform like Edco, you’ll have instant access to the funds you raise. Get started planning your next big campaign today!
#42: Parents’ Night Off
Sometimes parents just need a break. You can invite your student’s parents to enjoy a night off to raise money for your school. For this fundraiser, you’ll need a place to drop off the children and volunteers to watch them.
Partner with a restaurant where parents can have fun and eat a delicious meal. If you’re convincing, you can even persuade the restaurant to donate a percentage of the night’s funds to your school.
#43: Student Art Gallery
From elementary school students to college undergraduates, there are talented artists among every student body. So why not show off their skills and make a bit of money at the same time with a student art gallery?
Send out a call for submissions among your students and select a dedicated venue (like your gymnasium or auditorium) where their pieces will be displayed for friends, family, faculty, and the community. Charge a small entry fee at the door and be sure to offer refreshments within the venue.
To maximize profits and engagement even further, you could even give attendees the chance to buy the artwork being showcased at your event!
What better place to play games than at a carnival? While your school might not be able to get a Ferris wheel and fancy rides, you can still offer all of the same games that kids love to play at carnivals and state fairs.
Students can play games like ring toss, cake walk, bobbing for apples, and more!
You can charge per game or you can use a ticket system that allows students to buy a certain amount of tickets for a particular price.
Either way you go, your school is sure to win the fundraising game when you host a carnival.
#45: Chili Cook-Off
A chili cook-off is a perfect fall-time fundraising idea for schools. It gets parents and kids cooking together for a good cause.
Attendees of the cook-off try different samples and vote on which ones they like the best, and then the top chefs get prizes! You can also have parents choose judges within the community, if that’s the method you prefer.
Make the prizes creative; maybe the overall winner gets top-of-the-line cooking supplies! The attendees pay $5 to $10 dollars each, and they get to try some awesome chilis!
Tip: Have a batch or two of extra chili on hand just in case one of the contestants doesn’t show up or if you have more attendees than chili.
#46: Comedy Night
Everyone loves to laugh. Some even say that laughter is the best medicine.
If that’s the case, your school will be full of healthy kids after you hold a comedy night fundraiser!
A comedy night can be held for children of all ages; just make sure the material is appropriate for each grade level. You can enlist the talents of local comedians to tell jokes and stories to students and their families.
Sell tickets online, during school, and at the door of the event for a few dollars. Additionally, you can sell concessions to bring in a little more cash.
Your students will be rolling on the floor with laughter after you host a comedy night fundraiser at your school!
#47: Karaoke Night
Most people associate karaoke with bars, but it might be a little weird if you take a field trip to your local pub to partake in karaoke night.
Instead, host your own!
Your gym or auditorium can serve as the perfect venue for a fun night of karaoke for students of all ages. You can sell tickets a week or two before the event and charge at the door for students who forgot to purchase admission beforehand.
Hosting a karaoke night is a simple and fun way to bring your students together and raise some money for your school.
#48: Parents’ Party
School fundraising can often focus on the students, but an effective way to raise funds is to focus on parents instead.
A Parents’ Party is a great way to get parents and local businesses involved at the same time.
Team up with a local restaurant to host your event. Many businesses are more than happy to host your fundraiser, and chain restaurants often have special programs just for fundraising. If your students are young, include child care as an added incentive to get parents to come.
This is an excellent opportunity for a corporate match campaign where a local business pledges to match each donation up to a certain amount. It gives the business more publicity, and increases participation in your event, as parents know that every dollar they donate will be doubled.
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Seasonal Fundraisers for Schools
#49: Haunted House
Rally your students and teachers together to create a spooky fundraiser for Halloween. Each class can decorate their room with ghosts and cobwebs—anything you’d find in a haunted house.
You can charge admission to anyone who dares to enter your haunted school. Make sure the event is family-friendly so that students of all ages can attend.
#50: Holiday Wreath Sale
Have your creative students design and create wreaths for the holidays. Since most people feel extra generous at the end of the year, selling wreaths can help you reach your financial goals for the end of the fall semester.
Have your students sell them to friends and family as well as community members. Don’t forget to promote your event in advance to let donors know why you’re fundraising.
#51: Valentine’s Day Grams
Why not raise money for your school on Valentine’s Day? Let your donors send flowers and a short message to their friends in return for a donation.
A week before Valentine’s Day, set up tables where donors can request to have flowers sent to a friend. For this fundraiser, you’ll need volunteers to hand out the flowers on the holiday.
#52: Gift Wrapping Service
Anyone who’s ever tried to wrap a birthday or holiday present knows that it can be tricky. It’s definitely a team effort, and what better team to wrap presents next holiday season than a school’s sports team or club?
Sports teams and clubs can make a little extra money during the winter months by offering a gift wrapping service to:
- Other students
- Faculty members
- People in the community
To maximize sales, make sure that there is a good amount of advertising for the gift wrapping service. You could:
- Make morning and afternoon announcements.
- Make eye-catching flyers.
- Let local businesses know and ask if you can place the flyers at the counter or on the door.
- Let people know by word of mouth.
Pretty soon, you will have raised money for your team or club and the members of your community will have beautifully wrapped presents for their friends and family.
#53: Gingerbread House Competition
Gingerbread houses are a great way for younger and older students alike to express their creativity and engage in some friendly competition.
Right before classes let out for the holidays, have each class design and build their own gingerbread house. You’ll probably want to provide some basic guidelines that help students with size, materials, themes, and other factors.
Once each class has built their own delicious structure, have them display their creations on a table outside of their classrooms. You can also bring all of the houses together in one place, like your gymnasium or lunch room.
Then, have your students and members of the community come in to vote (with their dollars and cents!) on which gingerbread house they like the best.
The class with the most money at the end can win a prize, like extra recess or a party, and your school benefits by raising some extra dough!
#54: Ugly Sweater Party
An ugly sweater party is a popular festive fundraising event. Set up the party in your school’s gym or your university’s student center, and encourage students and their families and friends to come to the party wearing their ugliest holiday sweater. Alternatively, you could provide craft supplies and decorate ugly sweaters with ugly holiday decorations during the party.
However you decide to structure your party, you can charge a small admission fee to raise money. To earn extra money, pair the party with a holiday-themed raffle and sell drinks and desserts to your attendees. Don’t forget to offer a prize to the person with the ugliest sweater!
#55: St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Hunt
To host a leprechaun hunt fundraiser, ask a teacher or parent to volunteer to be your leprechaun. They’ll dress in all green and wear a leprechaun’s beard. Then, they’ll hide!
Have students and their families pay a small admission fee to get into your leprechaun hunt. We suggest hosting the hunt at a local park or inside your school. Whoever finds the leprechaun first gets to ask them where the pot of gold is. Stuff the pot of gold with prizes like chocolate coins, card games, gold necklaces, and gift certificates!
#56: Pumpkin Sales
Students and their families are going to buy pumpkins for Halloween, so why not take advantage of this seasonal fundraising opportunity?
Start by calling a local pumpkin patch or farm and see if they are willing to sell pumpkins in bulk in order to give your school a good deal. Many local farms want to support their communities, so finding one that will be willing to help out your school shouldn’t be too challenging.
Your school’s parking lot provides the perfect location for your sale—it’s free to you and usually empty on the weekends.
You can either do a pumpkin sale on one weekend of the month, or you can do a sale for several weekends leading up to Halloween. It might even be beneficial to do a sale the night before Halloween (even if it’s on a weekday) because some students and their parents will wait until the last minute to get their pumpkins.
Have a few teachers and parents who are willing to volunteer their time to work the pumpkin sales. This, combined with the low cost of setting up the sale, will result in lots of fundraising revenue!
#57: Thanksgiving Feast Food Sale
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday filled with food, family, and fun. But Thanksgiving dinners take hours to make. From basting a turkey to making homemade cranberry sauce, they require a lot of work.
Take a load off of your supporters’ shoulders by selling Thanksgiving foods like frozen turkeys and pre-made dinner rolls and pies. Offer home delivery for an extra fee. Your supporters will love that your fundraiser simplifies their lives around the holidays!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
School Fundraising Games
#58: Straw Draw
The straw draw fundraiser is a great way to motivate students to contribute to your school. The idea is simple: place a basket full of straws in a prominent location. Each straw should have a reward attached to it like extra time at recess or cookies for lunch.
Students can pay to select a straw every day. Plus, you can have a separate basket dedicated for teachers and staff.
#59: Post-it Note Challenge
The Post-it Note Challenge is a fun and inexpensive way to raise money for your school. Here’s how it works:
- Sell students a pack of 20 sticky notes for a dollar.
- At lunch, gather the students to stand in front of a wall and see how quickly they can place all their sticky notes on the wall.
- The fastest student wins!
This effortless fundraiser will not only raise easy money for your school, but it will engage your students with a game that anyone can participate in!
#60: Field Day
A field day is a fun summer fundraising idea that all your students will want to attend. You can sell tickets for the event and have students play games like tug-of-war.
Raise more money for your school by selling food, drinks, and school merchandise to the students and teachers that attend.
Bring a classic game to your school and money to your fundraising pockets with a good old-fashioned night of bingo.
It’s a game that’s simple to understand, so the youngest students can take part. This type of fundraiser is best suited for elementary school students, but can work for middle schoolers, too.
Bingo is a simple event to set up, and parents are often willing to provide refreshments and snacks to get the party going. Offering small trinkets can be a great incentive to win for the younger kids, and edible treats or gift certificates can be ideal prizes.
You can charge $5 to get into the event or charge per game.
#62: Musical Chairs
Did you know that you can turn a game of musical chairs into a fundraiser? All you’ll need to do is set up a circle of chairs and play some music. Participants will pay to enter, and they’ll need to find a chair to sit in when the music stops. If you’re playing with young adults, raise the stakes by asking for a small donation from every person who gets “out.”
The last participant standing (or sitting!) will win a prize!
#63: Pick an Egg
A Pick an Egg fundraiser usually works best with younger students. It can be played during any time of the year, but works best around Easter and springtime.
Basically, you’ll fill plastic eggs with small prizes. If you’re appealing to younger students, you can include things like yo-yos or other small toys.
Then, charge students and faculty who want to “pick an egg” to, well, pick an egg!
You can set up multiple tables with baskets of eggs throughout the hallways and near school entrances. Students will enjoy getting a prize before or during the school day, and you’ll generate a little extra money for your school.
#64: Cake Walk
A cake walk is an easy fundraising idea for schools. Simply set up a circle of papers or stepping stones that each have a number on them. Play some music and have your participants walk around the circle. When the music stops, your participants will look at the number they’re standing on and they’ll receive a prize that corresponds to that number.
To make money, charge each participant a small fee for participating in the cake walk. We suggest you ask local businesses to donate prizes to your cake walk.
#65: Relay Race
Hosting a relay race, or any kind of relay, can be a good way to motivate your students to be more physically active. It can also be a great opportunity to generate some extra revenue for your school!
Have teams sign up and pay an entrance fee to participate a week in advance. Then, when the big day arrives, charge admission for onlookers.
You can even sell concessions and merchandise to participants and attendees.
Make sure that you have enough space to have a proper relay race and that the runners have a safe place to participate. Soon, you’ll be crossing the fundraising finish line in first place!
#66: Rubber Duck Race
A rubber duck race is a fun school fundraising game, especially for younger students. For this fundraiser, you’ll need a few hundred rubber ducks and a moving waterway (real or mechanical)! Have students and their family members purchase a rubber duck to enter in the race. Your participants will write their names on the bottoms of their ducks and put them in the water. Then, you’ll watch them float to victory!
The participant whose duck makes it to the finish line the quickest wins. Make sure to offer a great prize!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Elementary School Fundraisers
#67: Penny Wars
Penny wars is a fun game that’s inexpensive and simple to organize. Any student, especially younger children, will enjoy competing against other classrooms to see who can raise the most money.
Here’s how it works: each classroom gets a large container. The goal is for students to place as many pennies in the container as possible within a week.
#68: Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great family-friendly fundraising idea that can raise a lot of money for your school. For this elementary school idea, you’ll need to create a list of clues that relates to the student curriculum.
Students can pay an entry fee to join the hunt as an individual or a team. Make sure to reward the winners with an awesome prize.
#69: Movie Night
Get your elementary students and their parents and siblings excited about your school’s fundraising efforts by hosting a movie night. Choose a family-friendly movie and charge a small entrance fee. You can make additional money by selling treats like popcorn, movie candy, and soda.
Families will love this excuse to spend time together, and your school will pull in the cash you need for your programs, clubs, and more!
#70: Box Tops
There are several ways to support your school by making use of something you would otherwise just throw away. One of the most popular is collecting box tops.
General Mills offers a fantastic fundraising program that requires nothing more than this:
- Register your school.
- Encourage your students and their families to download the Box Tops app and scan their grocery store receipts.
- Get earnings for your school!
It’s that easy!
Each box top is worth 10 cents. That may not sound like much per box, but as it accumulates, it more than makes up for the minimal amount of effort needed from your students. Box tops can be found on a variety of products that your students’ families buy every day!
Your supporters are likely already buying the products that feature box tops. Why not encourage them to send you those box tops so that your school can make a little extra money?
#71: Handmade Christmas Cards
If you have a creative bunch of students at your school, try a Christmas card fundraiser!
Families send Christmas cards to friends and family members, but they usually end up being the same generic, store-bought kind. You can help people personalize their Christmas cards by selling handmade ones created by students at your school.
Have students make different types of holiday greeting cards and sell them individually or as bundles. This fundraiser is a great way for people in your community to save money on expensive Christmas cards and simultaneously raise some Christmas cash for your school.
#72: Kickball Tournament
Kickball is a popular sport among elementary school students. Encourage your students to get their families involved in your fundraising work by paying a small fee to enter your kickball tournament. Families can face off against each other, or you can form teams of students from the same class (and their families!).
Offer a great prize to the winners of the tournament, and don’t forget that you can make extra money by selling concessions at each of the games, like sports drinks, peanuts, and hotdogs!
#73: Principal Challenge
What student wouldn’t enjoy watching their principal doing something hilarious and silly? What school wouldn’t want to use a principal challenge fundraiser to raise more money?
A principal challenge is all about raising money to see the principal do something ridiculous, like get pied in the face or dye his or her hair.
For a week, a month, or even a whole semester, have your students pay to pick their favorite punishment or challenge. Have different containers set up for each activity and let students donate however much they’d like.
It’s a great way to unify students and create a stronger bond between them and the administration. Plus, your school raises some extra money!
#74: Student Art Auction
There’s nothing more endearing for a parent or grandparent than receiving a handmade art project from their young child or grandchild. Have your elementary school students create paintings, drawings, and even sculptures that you can sell on behalf of your school.
Invite parents and grandparents to an auction where each student presents their work. Students will love seeing their loved ones bid on their work, and parents and grandparents will love having a new piece of art to display in their homes!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Middle School Fundraisers
#75: Pajama Day
A pajama day is a simple fundraising idea that’s fun for students and gives parents a break from the traditional morning routine. Just ask your students to bring in a dollar so they can wear pajamas to school.
The key to this fundraising idea is to promote the event well in advance so students have time to bring their dollars to register for the pajama day.
#76: Family Picture Day
It’s no secret that kids grow up fast. That’s why a family picture day is a great school fundraising idea for middle schools!
Hire a photographer to take family portraits, and have families pay a small fee for their own photoshoot. Parents will love this opportunity to have their family picture taken by a professional.
#77: Cookie Dough
Cookie dough fundraisers are extremely popular, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love having cookie dough on hand and ready to pop straight into the oven?
ABC Fundraising can get your school started with an excellent cookie dough fundraiser and help you capture up to an 80% profit. They offer flavors such as chunky chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodle, and caramel pecan chocolate chip, which will appeal to every supporter with a sweet tooth.
This fundraiser can also be run online with a fundraising web store or in-person with customized order-taking brochures. For an extra fun twist, try hosting a tasting party in your school’s lunchroom or student union building so your supporters can sample each flavor before picking one to buy.
#78: Hat Day
Hat day is a simple fundraiser to put together, and it’s really fun, too!
Since hats generally aren’t allowed in schools, designate a day where students and faculty get to wear one for a small donation.
Charge $1 for hat-wearing privilege, and you’ll create an exciting day for the kids and bring in money for your school. Hat day is extremely easy to organize and lets students express themselves and oftentimes represent their favorite sports teams or club.
This type of fundraiser is usually the most successful with middle schoolers, but can appeal to high school students as well. Give a dollar; wear a hat! It’s that easy.
#79: Hula Hoop Contest
If you’re looking for a way to get your students to be more active and raise more money for your school, look no further than a hula hoop contest!
Students can pay a certain fee to enter the contest, and they can also obtain pledges from family members and friends who want to sponsor their hip-swinging hula-hooping!
Gather all the hoopers in the gym or outside if it’s a beautiful day and start the clock. Whoever can hula for the longest amount of time is the winner.
Because not many people can hula hoop for hours on end, you can have several rounds or even have a bracket system with students going head to head (or hip to hip!).
#80: Back-to-School Barbecue
Celebrate the start of a new school year with a back-to-school barbecue. Set up your barbecue at a local park or on your middle school’s campus, and recruit parent or teacher volunteers to barbecue hotdogs and hamburgers.
Charge a small admission fee for the families who attend, and encourage them to continue donating throughout the night as you play games, socialize, and celebrate new beginnings.
#81: Pizza Card Fundraiser
Another great middle school fundraising idea is a pizza card fundraiser. Families will love this fundraiser, because who doesn’t love a night in with pizza and a movie? With pizza cards from ABC Fundraising, you’ll help your supporters save money on Papa John’s Pizza and at their local Redbox.
Recruit your middle schoolers to sell these cards door-to-door. They can sell each card for $10 and earn up to an 80% profit. Even better, gamify the fundraiser by offering a pizza party to the homeroom class that raises the most money!
#82: Spelling Bee
A spelling bee fundraiser is similar to a read-a-thon in that students get sponsors, but instead of receiving money for how many minutes or pages are read, the fundraising comes from how many words are spelled correctly! Schools can have different categories for each grade to keep things fair, and there can even be an exhibition category for teachers.
Keep things fresh with different themed spelling bees, like:
A spelling bee is an event that is educational and fun, so why not use this idea to raise some money for your school?
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
High School Fundraisers
#83: Teachers in Jail
The teachers in jail fundraiser is a great way to raise money for your cause. If you’re not familiar with this fundraiser, here’s how it works: at the beginning of class, students have to raise a certain amount of money to throw their teacher in “jail.”
As a result, students get a free period and teachers can catch up on grading papers. Make sure to set a significant amount like $75 so students have a challenge.
#84: Fashion Show
This fundraiser will require some help from your high school’s home economics teacher. Have them and their classes work together to create some fashionable outfits for a fashion show. Have other students volunteer to strut their stuff on the runway.
On the big day, charge a small admission fee to the students’ families and friends who attend your show. Make extra money by selling concessions or auctioning off the stylish outfits at the end of the show!
#85: Car Decals
High school students love to personalize their cars! You can sell car decals as a way to raise money for your school. Find a company that will let you create multiple designs at a discounted price.
Once you have your decals, sell them at sports games, school events, and your school store. Teachers and parents can also purchase a decal to represent their school.
#86: Hike Day
Many high school students sit in class for hours at a time, daydreaming about being outside. You’ll catch these teenagers staring wistfully out the window, wishing that they could magically be transported out of the classroom.
If your school hosts a hike day, you can grant those students’ wishes and raise some money for your next school project!
Charge students a few dollars to have a hike somewhere near campus. If you live in a mountain-less environment, use the resources you have. You could host a park day, lake day, or just a go-outside day.
Not only will students get some fresh air and exercise, but your school will raise quite a bit of money. Nearly every high schooler would rather be anywhere other than a classroom at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
Give them a little freedom, raise a little money, and host a hike day!
#87: School Dance
Hosting a school dance as a fundraiser is an idea that can often be overlooked, yet can be incredibly effective. Dances are loved by students of all ages, from younger kids to teenagers.
It also gives you a great venue to combine other fundraising tactics, such as fundraising raffles, silent auctions, and concession sales, to raise more money for your cause.
School dances encourage teachers, parents, students and members of the community to all get involved. Be sure to make it fun by creating a theme that will be popular with your student body.
The primary source of money raised at a dance or similar fundraising event will come from your ticket sales, so be sure to price your tickets realistically to cover your costs. You may also want to consider getting local businesses to sponsor the event via corporate giving.
They can make a financial contribution in exchange for:
- Recognition at the event.
- Access to event registrations.
- Ability to distribute coupons.
Not all sponsorships have to be financial contributions. Some companies will help cover other costs by volunteering at the event or by donating items such as food, drinks, or raffle prizes.
#88: Student Serve-a-thon
A serve-a-thon mobilizes students to raise money for your school. Each classroom or grade chooses an activity to help the community such as:
- Raking leaves for the elderly,
- Cleaning up a local park,
- Or painting a mural.
Supporters pledge money to students in support of this work. This fundraising method is effective in a couple of different ways:
- All the money raised goes towards your goal.
- It helps students get involved in the community, while simultaneously helping their school’s cause.
Using crowdfunding software extends the reach of your fundraiser and allows students to engage with friends and family through their personal fundraising pages. Top fundraisers and top fundraising classes receive awards like a pizza party, movie time, or extra recess.
#89: Talent Show
A talent show is a great way to include kids from elementary school all the way up to high school in your fundraising efforts.
The first step is to create a flyer that includes the time, place, and cost to enter the talent show. Charging individuals or groups a reasonable amount of money to enter will generate more entries, and you will be able to gain more revenue from parents and guests who attend the talent show.
Be sure to create different categories based on age if your school includes several age groups. Organizing seperate groups for elementary school children, middle school children, and high schoolers usually covers it!
Talent show rehearsals are necessary in order to make sure the timing flows appropriately, so have your talent show committee set aside time for students to rehearse.
At the talent show, have a brief intermission for snacks and refreshments. This will encourage parents to go to the concession stand in between acts, which allows for even more fundraising to take place at the show.
Don’t forget to buy medals or trophies for the top three winners in each category!
A school talent show is a fun and entertaining event, and has the potential to bring in a ton of fundraising cash for your school.
#90: Dunk Tank Fundraiser
A dunk tank fundraiser is a popular school fundraising idea for high schoolers. Simply get a dunk tank and wheel it into your school or school event. Get a principal or teacher to volunteer to be dunked, and charge interested students a fee for each throw at the dunk tank.
Students will love contributing to your club or team, especially when they get to see their favorite teacher or principal get dunked!
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
College and University Fundraisers
#91: Engraved Bricks
Is your college or university building a new facility or student dormitory? Sell engraved bricks to cover the costs of your expansion. You can incorporate the bricks into your new structure to showcase your supporters.
For this fundraiser, you’ll need to partner with a company that can engrave bricks with your donors’ names. To raise even more money, sell larger or different colored bricks at a higher price.
#92: 10,000 Step Challenge
Have your college or university’s supporters pledge to walk 10,000 steps a day for a certain amount of time and encourage them to get their family, friends, and coworkers to sponsor them for each day that they complete the challenge.
This is an excellent university or college fundraising idea because it will not only help you raise money, but gather more supporters for your institution’s programs and events while promoting healthy lifestyles.
#93: Food Truck Fundraiser
For a food truck fundraiser, all you’ll need to do is invite local food trucks to park on your campus for a certain amount of time, like a day or a week. Work out a deal with the food truck owners so that you make money off a portion of their profits, and encourage your campus community to stop by for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Your supporters will love having this opportunity to try new foods and support your school!
#94: Book Sale
Whether you’re a student, teacher, or administrator, you certainly have a book or two at home that has been gathering dust for months or years.
Those books can be more useful than acting as temporary coasters. If you set up a used book sale one Friday afternoon, all the books that have been lying around can turn into cold, hard, fundraising cash for your college.
Put drop boxes around your school or at local businesses that are willing to participate. Announce the book drive with fliers, posters, emails, word-of-mouth, and social media.
If you have leftover books that did not get sold at the book sale, you can always donate them to local charities, shelters, or your university’s library.
#95: Wealth Screening
One of the most effective fundraising ideas for colleges, as well as private and independent schools, is wealth screenings.
A wealth screening involves analyzing your supporters’ wealth data to gain a better understanding of their affinity, propensity, and capacity to give.
Wealth data includes:
- Real estate ownership
- Business affiliations
- Past giving history and political contributions
You can use this information to send targeted asks to constituents who are likely to become major or planned donors. Once you have a better understanding of which supporters are most likely to be major donors, you won’t be shooting in the dark with your fundraiser.
Of course, you can conduct wealth screening in-house or seek outside assistance. By hiring a wealth screening service for higher education, you’ll gain insights into the most eligible alumni and how to effectively reach out to them.
#96: Obstacle Course
For this fundraiser, you can either partner with a local ropes course or rock climbing wall, or create your own obstacle course on your campus quad or in your student fitness center. Once you have your obstacle course set up, start publicizing your obstacle course event.
From there, students, faculty, and community members can buy tickets to your obstacle course. Make sure you have a fantastic prize ready to go for the person who makes it through your course the quickest!
#97: Photography Contest
Most college students have at least one image-based social media app on their phone. Whether they’re Instagramming, Facebooking, or SnapChatting, you’ll often see students walking around campus taking selfies or posing for pictures with their friends.
Your university can take advantage of your students’ penchant for photography by hosting a photography contest!
This is a great fundraiser to host on a weekly or monthly basis. Announce the deadline to submit pictures and give students an email address that they can use to send in their images.
You can even theme each separate contest. During Halloween, have a spooky photo contest. When students are studying for finals, have a study-tip themed contest.
Once students have sent in their pictures, display them in a central location and have people vote with their dollars or change on their favorite image. The winner gets a small prize, and your college has an easy way to raise money consistently over time!
#98: Yard Sale
College students invariably end up with a lot of clutter over the course of a school year. Going to campus-sponsored events means receiving a lot of free t-shirts, cups, and magnets. It can be surprising how much gear students accumulate from campus events. Often they end up with boxes full of items they don’t need and that they carry from dorm to dorm throughout their college years.
Encourage your students to clean out their closets, junk drawers, and dorm rooms by hosting a campus-wide yard sale!
Set up some tables in a central location and have students bring their items to sell. You can even set up a year-long Swap Shop where students can drop off items and purchase treasures that other students have discarded.
A yard sale is the perfect way for students to declutter their living spaces and generate some extra revenue for your college.
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Low-Cost School Fundraisers
#99: Jelly Bean Count
Students love guessing games, and they’ll jump at the opportunity to participate in your fundraiser if there is an epic prize on the line. For this fundraiser, you’ll need to get a jar and fill it with candy—it doesn’t have to be jelly beans!
Have students pay $1 to guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar. The student with the closest guess wins the entire jar of candy.
#100: Dog Walking
Dog walking is an excellent low-cost school fundraiser, and supporters love it because it helps their furry friends get out and get some exercise. For this fundraiser, recruit some student, parent, and teacher volunteers to walk dogs.
Next, you’ll have your supporters sign up for your dog walking service and specify when they want you to arrive at their homes to pick up their dogs. Each dog owner will pay for each walk they hire your group for.
To make a little extra money, sell dog washes or dog treats, too!
Raffles are the perfect fundraising ideas for colleges and universities because they’re inexpensive to run and can be combined with other fundraising ideas to maximize your fundraising potential.
All you need for this fundraiser are raffle tickets and a prize for the winner—it’s that simple! Students will enjoy participating in your event, especially if there is a chance they could win a prize.
#102: Balloon Raffle
Holding a balloon raffle is fun for groups of all ages and can be a super easy way for your school to raise a little extra money!
All you’ll need are some balloons and raffle tickets. Before inflating the balloons, place a raffle ticket inside each one. Sell each balloon for a dollar to students and teachers. Once you’ve sold them, announce the winning raffle ticket.
Everyone pops their balloon to see if they’re the winner. Whoever matches the chosen raffle ticket gets a small prize.
You’ll raise money in no time when you host a balloon raffle as your next school fundraiser!
#103: Traveling Toilet
You can be almost certain your school’s supporters haven’t heard of this fundraiser. First, go to your local junkyard and retrieve old toilets. Next, you’ll need to clean them up and decorate them. We suggest painting them with your school’s mascot or colors.
From there, you’ll leave the toilets on the lawns of some of your most loyal supporters. Because most people don’t really want to decorate their lawns with toilets, they’ll be motivated to get rid of them. Charge $20 for a temporary toilet removal, $30 to move the toilet to a friend’s lawn, and $50 for a permanent removal.
This hilarious fundraiser will have you and your school organization rotating toilets around your community and raising money in a snap!
#104: LemonAID Stand
April is the perfect time to have a lemonade stand set up by your students. Best for students in middle school or high school, all that’s needed is a table, cups, a sign, and lemonade!
Buy lemonade mix or make some homemade lemonade and set up a stand outside where students will feel the most springtime warmth! You can have students run the stand where other students are waiting for their parents to pick them up in the parking lot or in outdoor hallways if your school has more of an open layout.
This type of fundraiser will do best if there is a specific cause the lemonade stand is raising money for. Students are more likely to spend their own money if they know what cause they are supporting.
By simply charging a dollar per cup of lemonade, you can make a profit by supplying students with a refreshing beverage!
#105: Make a Money Snake
A Make a Snake fundraiser is a great way for students to compete with each other in a friendly way while they raise a little bit of money for their school.
Each class outlines a squiggly line on the floor outside their classroom. This will be the foundation of their “snake.” Each day, students bring in whatever loose change or bills they can find in their couch cushions or on the floor of their parents’ minivan. They place the change along the squiggly line to fill out the “snake.”
Give students a week or two to complete their legless reptile. Whichever class or grade has the most money at the end of the time period, wins!
#106: No Uniform Day
If your school is a private school in which students wear uniforms, this fundraiser is for you!
Kids love wearing their own clothes to school, and by organizing a few no uniform days per year, you can fundraise while getting the kids excited about showing their own style!
By requiring each student who wants to dress down to bring $1 to school, you are potentially fundraising a few hundred dollars each time you announce a no uniform day, depending on the size of your school.
Whether you have a no uniform day once a month or once a semester, this fundraiser is a simple one to organize and gets kids excited to come to school.
Use our most popular fundraising idea to raise money right now.
Year-Round School Fundraisers
#107: Writing Letters
Whether you’re writing to corporations, foundations, parents, or alumni, asking for donations via email or direct mail is an effective way to fundraise. Plus, you’ll have plenty of space to explain why you’re fundraising and cater your pitch to match each individual’s interests.
A personalized greeting, concise message, and compelling introduction are all signs of a strong, well-written fundraising letter.
#108: Recycle Drive
There is no better way to raise money and help the environment than a recycling drive. Ask your students to bring in clean bottles and cans and deposit them in one of your school’s drop-off locations.
Recycling drives are great because your school can host one every semester. Plus, you can get the whole community involved in collecting recyclables for your school.
#109: Best Seat in the House Fundraiser
The best seat in the house fundraiser is great for school plays, sporting events, and other school gatherings where a good seat is a must. For this fundraiser, your supporters will buy a raffle ticket. The winning ticket holder will receive two front-row seats to your school’s next show or game.
This simple fundraiser will not only raise money, but school spirit, too!
#110: Bottle and Can Drive
Bottle and can drives can be held once a month or once a semester. Let the community know by:
- Posting fliers at local restaurants.
- Putting an ad in the paper.
- Making announcements on local radio stations.
People have to throw away their bottles and cans, and if they’re aware of a bottle and can drive that can support their local school, they’ll be more willing to take their bottles and cans to a drop-off.
Having multiple drop-off spots can be beneficial, as this will make it easier for people to participate.
Make sure to ask your local recycling plant what the best way is to drop off these products, whether it be in plastic bags or bins, and how they prefer the items be sorted.
The amount of cash your school could potentially receive for returning bottles and cans may seem small, but if you have enough people participate, this simple fundraiser could bring in hundreds of dollars. Plus, you are encouraging your students and community to participate in recycling.
#111: Give-It-Up Challenge
Everyone has a habit they wish they could kick, whether it’s drinking too much coffee or eating too much sugar. With a give-it-up challenge fundraiser, you can help your school’s supporters develop better habits and raise money for your school!
Simply have your supporters give up one of these small habits and donate the money they would spend on that daily cup of coffee or candy bar to your school.
#112: Cell Phone Recycling
Have you noticed the growing trend with cell phones these days? It seems like every time a new one is released, people instantly ditch their old one, even if they’ve only had it for a year.
College students are no exception to this, so why not raise a little money by asking them to recycle their old cell phones?
There are many companies that will donate money after an organization or college sends in a certain number of used cell phones. They also pay for ink cartridges and toner.
Your college or university can raise money and help students get rid of last year’s iPhone when you host a cell phone recycling fundraiser!
#113: Fish Tank Fundraiser
For a simple fundraiser that you can host all year at virtually no cost, try a fish tank fundraiser!
Buy a fish tank (or, even better, have one donated) and place it in a central location with lots of foot traffic. Place instructions that students and teachers can drop off their spare change and bills to fill the fish tank as quickly as possible.
You can even turn it into a competition between classes or grades to see who can fill a small fish bowl the fastest.
#114: Library Fundraisers
A library fundraiser is an ideal fundraising idea for schools, particularly because the kids participating in the fundraiser are encouraged to read and support their local libraries instead of selling the same old fundraising items every year.
Additionally, a library fundraiser can bring in lots of fundraising revenue without requiring parents to donate truckloads of their own money.
You can either host a read-a-thon with your local library, or structure your library fundraiser like this:
- Partner with a library fundraising platform, like Love My Library.
- Organize an event and ask students to create and share their donation pages.
- Market and continue building momentum for your campaign.
- In return for donations raised, offer students access to top book titles of their choosing.
Your team could raise thousands of dollars, students will be granted access to their favorite books, and students’ supporters will be happy that their donations will help to further their loved ones’ educational journeys.
It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved!
Additional School Fundraising Resources
215+ Amazing Fundraising Ideas
Need even more fundraising inspiration?
Check out these amazing fundraising ideas for schools and other organizations.
Product Fundraising Ideas
Want to try product fundraising at your school?
Take a look at the top product fundraising ideas that every school should know about.
Graphic Design Tips
Need to step up your school’s marketing efforts?
Check out this ultimate guide to learn the ins and outs of graphic design before your next fundraiser!