Top Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Fundraising is essential for schools to financially support sports teams, clubs, events, class trips, and building repairs and expansions. School fundraising has been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any new ideas or any classics that can’t be revamped into fresh new projects!

Almost all schools are in need of a little monetary assistance, and below we’ve provided a list of several fundraising ideas for schools that work for elementary, middle, and high schoolers who want to fund anything from field trips to football games.

Check out our list of 60 fundraising ideas for schools of all sizes!

Check out even more great fundraising ideas!

Our Favorite Fundraising Ideas for Schools and Universities

Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are corporate giving programs that will double employee donations to eligible K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

Each company has different guidelines for matching gift submission and eligibility, but your school should market matching gifts to parents, alumni, faculty, and staff to increase the chances that your school receives twice as many donations.

Click here to learn more about matching gifts.

Amazon Affiliates

Amazon’s affiliate program allows schools and nonprofits to generate revenue each time a purchase is made with an affiliate link.

Your school can place your Amazon affiliate link, banner, or advertisement on your website and encourage your students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff to use the link each time they shop. You can earn up to 10% off of each purchase!

Click here to learn more about Amazon’s Affiliate Program.

Online Auctions

Hosting an online auction, no matter the age of your students, can be an excellent way to raise money for your school or college.

You can easily list any number of donated items that your students, parents, and teachers would enjoy bidding on. You can even open the event up to everyone in the community to raise more money!

Click here to learn more about online auctions.

Volunteer Grants

Volunteer grants reward the alumni, parent, and teacher volunteers that donate their time and effort to your school or college.

Volunteer grants are another type of corporate giving program that make a donation to a school or university after an employee has volunteered for a certain number of hours.

Click here to learn more about volunteer grants.

Teachers in Jail

When planned correctly, a Teachers in Jail fundraiser has the potential to raise a lot of money for your elementary, middle, or high school.

Students pay a small fee to have their teacher thrown in “jail” while the students get a free class period. The teachers don’t really go to jail; they just get extra time to plan or grade papers and tests!

Click here to learn more about Teachers in Jail.

Jellybean Count

A Jellybean Count (or other kind of candy count) can be a simple and easy way to raise money for your elementary or middle school.

Students simply have to pay a small amount to guess how many jellybeans are in a jar. Whoever gets the closest (or hits the number on the nose!) gets to keep the candy. Plus, your school raises money quickly and easily!

Click here to learn more about Jellybean Counts.

Donation Requests

Matching Gifts Impact on Employee Engagement

Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are the “buy-one-get-one-free” sale of the nonprofit fundraising world.

If your students’ parents or your alumni work for companies that have matching gift programs, their donations to your school might be able to be doubled or sometimes even tripled thanks to the generosity of their employers.

All your school or university needs to do is promote matching gifts to your donors.

After your donors make a contribution, they will have to fill out and submit a matching gift request to their employer. If approved, your school will receive a check from your donor’s employer.

It’s that easy!

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 might be able to apply for these community grants (depending on the specific guidelines, of course).

crowdfunding

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, is the perfect online fundraiser for schools of all shapes and sizes.

They work best in conjunction with other events like walk-a-thons or field days, but they can also be used on their own to raise a lot of money online.

You’ll need to select a crowdfunding platform and then set it up to explain why you’re collecting donations. If you’re trying to build a new playground or expand your cafeteria, tell a story and let your supporters know why these efforts are important to your school and, more importantly, your students.

Then, encourage everyone to share the crowdfunding page with their social networks. A simple share on Facebook by one supporter could result in many more donations.

Pretty soon, you’ll be able to start breaking ground on that playground or cafeteria.

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!

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.
  • And more!

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.

Bulk Matching Gift Screenings

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 volunteer 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.

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!

Online Fundraisers

Amazon Fundraising

Amazon.com — the internet jungle where you can find anything and everything that your nonprofit could ever wish to promote — runs Amazon Associates, a program that provides a share of all sales generated from links to Amazon’s website to the nonprofits who share those links on their pages.

Sharing is caring, and Amazon turns that caring into cold hard cash.

How much cash? For each purchase made through these links, your nonprofit earns up to 10% in advertising fees from Amazon’s affiliate program. 10% might sound like you’re getting the short end of the stick, but millions of internet users buy from Amazon, so you’re getting the beneficial end of a potentially long stick.

Double the Donation's Logo

Double the Donation

Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring in twice as much money at virtually no cost? Sounds too good to be true, right?

It’s not!

Matching gift programs are corporate programs that reward employees who donate to nonprofits and other organizations.

With Double the Donation’s matching gift tool, your school or university can potentially double the amount of money that you’re already bringing in.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You place Double the Donation’s matching gift tool on your website.
  2. Donors who want to make an online contribution can lookup their employer.
  3. If their company offers a matching gift program, they submit a request to HR.
  4. Once the request is approved, your school or university can receive a matching donation.
Ebates Cashback for Nonprofit Shopping

Ebates

Nearly everyone shops online once in a while. Why not make some money while you and the other members of your organization shop?

Ebates can help you earn cash back of up to 30% on your online purchases.

Whenever you start shopping online, begin at Ebates to earn cash back on items like ink, computers, and other office supplies.

Retailers like Staples, Walmart, and Lowes partner with Ebates, so you have a diverse group of stores to buy supplies from. There are no fees to sign up, and you can earn cash back at nearly 2,000 online stores.

Search for Fundraising (GoodSearch)

GoodSearch

GoodSearch offers funding to nonprofits for each time a supporter performs an online search.

Simply download GoodSearch’s toolbar, and your organization 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 a major nonprofit 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.

Online Auction Fundraising

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:

  1. Images, descriptions, and values of all items are uploaded to the website.
  2. Parents and members of the community can go online to create an account.
  3. They bid on items and can even select “buy now” pricing.
  4. 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 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 logo

Qmee

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 me.

When individuals search for keywords in Google, Yahoo, or another search engine, Qmee will present them with alternate search result 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!

Product Fundraisers

Cookbook

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 families of children that go to their child’s school.

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 getting parents and family members involved through the asking for contributions of recipes, you are much more likely to get them to buy a copy of the book that they are included in.

Discount Card Fundraiser

Discount Cards

A Discount Card Fundraiser is a great way for your group to offer a very valuable product to your friends, family and supporters. Here’s how it works:

  1. You partner with a Discount Card Provider that has exclusive offers with popular national merchants and local merchants.
  2. Your organization buys Discount Cards at a low cost, typically $1-4 per card depending on volume.
  3. Your organization sells the card for between $10-$20 (your profit is the difference between the cost of the cards and how much you sell them for).
  4. Your supporters save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of the money saving offers which can be used over and over for one full year at either national or local merchants.

The best part is your group MAKES money and the buyers of the discount card fundraiser SAVE money.

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!

Popcorn Sales

Popcorn can be enjoyed all year long, whether it’s hot or cold outside, at a sporting event or in your very own home. There are several different companies your school can partner with in order to buy gourmet popcorn in bulk so that you can provide tasty treats to your students and their families while also bringing in support for your school.

Selling something as delicious as popcorn isn’t difficult, and by organizing sales once a semester, you can bring in revenue for fall and spring.

Students of all ages love popcorn, and you could even turn it into a competition. Whichever grade sells the most popcorn gets a party or an extra hour of recess for a week.

School Calendar Fundraiser

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:

  1. Keep the price low by using school equipment and volunteers (yearbook or newspaper staff would be a great resource!)
  2. 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!

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
  • Neighbors
  • Friends
  • 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!

Yankee Candle Sale

If your school is hesitant to sell candy or other sweet treats, try selling candles!

Yankee Candle fundraisers allow your school to collect 40% of the profits made from selling the sweet smelling candles that everyone knows and loves.

Yankee will individually package all of the sales so that you and your students don’t have to worry about breaking any of the jars during delivery.

With seasonal options as well, Yankee Candles provides your school with a great fundraiser that makes people’s homes smell delightful.

Check out the best products that your school should sell to bring in a few extra fundraising dollars!

Fundraising Events

Art Auction Fundraiser

Art Auction

Perfect for students of all ages, an art auction is an exciting way to get your kids excited about art, and it has the potential to bring in substantial amounts of money for your school’s needs.

During one month of the year in art class, have your school’s art teachers create a project for your students to create a masterpiece of their own to auction off during an event. There is also the opportunity to ask for donations from local art-centered businesses or galleries.

An art auction is a low cost, high-reward fundraising option for your school. Regardless of what amount of funding is brought in through this fundraiser, anything that fosters children’s creativity is going to produce a positive result.

carnival fundraiser

Carnival

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.

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.

comedy night

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!

karaoke night fundraising ideas

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.

Parents’ Party

School fundraising can often focus on the students, but an effective way to raise funds is to instead focus on parents.

A Party for Parents 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.

Note

Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

Seasonal Fundraisers

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?

High school 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

Make sure that there is a good amount of advertising for the gift wrapping service.

  • 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.

Gingerbread House Competition

Gingerbread houses are a great way for young 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!

Haunted House Fundraiser

Haunted House

BOO! Don’t worry, it’s just fundraising money dressed up for Halloween.

A haunted house is another great fall-themed (and specifically Halloween themed) fundraiser.

Make a haunted house out of your school’s gymnasium or cafeteria. A mixture of spooky and goofy is always a good combination, and the ratio here depends on the age-group of students who plan to attend. You could even have two separate sections, one for younger kids and one for high schoolers depending on how much space you have to work with.

Have teachers work the haunted house in order to add some entertainment. The students are sure to get a kick out of seeing their teachers dressed up!

Charge $5 ahead of time and $7 at the door, then show your haunted house guests a scary (or silly) time!

Holiday Wreath Fundraiser

Holiday Wreaths

The holidays are a time of year when people are feeling the most giving, and they are not likely to pass up contributing to a fundraiser for their local school.

Whether they are parents of children at the school, or just members of the community where the school is located, people are always willing to give a few extra bucks around the holiday season.

Advertise holiday wreaths starting in early November in order to give parents and your local community the opportunity to buy a wreath for upcoming holidays. There are several companies your school can use to buy wreaths for fundraising purposes, and preparing early in the fall semester will get you a jump start on the holiday season.

Selling holiday wreaths is one of the most common ways schools make the best use out of the most charitable season of the year, so get in on this opportunity and decorate some doors with the holiday spirit!

Pumpkin Fundraiser

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 community, so finding one that will be willing to help out your school shouldn’t be too challenging.

Your school’s parking lot is an easy answer for the question of location. 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 work the pumpkin sales. This, combined with the low cost of setting up the sale, will result in lots of fundraising revenue!

Valentine’s Day Flowers

This fundraiser will require a little bit of preparation on your part, but with the right students and faculty members helping you, you can pull it off and spread a little love on February 14th.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, have students and faculty members set up tables in heavily trafficked areas and advertise that they’ll be selling flowers for Valentine’s Day.

When someone wants to buy a flower in advance, simply have them write the following information on a small slip of paper:

  • The name of the recipient
  • A short message
  • Their own name (if they don’t want to be known as a secret admirer!)

The slips of paper should be creatively designed and have hearts or Cupids on them to go with the theme.

Buy bouquets of carnations or other inexpensive flowers and hand out individual ones to the lucky recipients!

Fundraising Games

Bingo Fundraiser

Bingo

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, too. 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.

Field Day

Once winter has left and spring has sprung once again, it’s time to host a field day fundraiser!

There are a few different ways to fundraise at a field day:

  • Sell tickets for a set price and have students use those tickets to participate in events.
  • Have an entrance fee that covers all of the events.
  • Sell merchandise like t-shirts and water bottles.
  • Sell concessions to students and teachers who are helping out.
  • Have a general donation table where teachers and parents can donate.

Field days can be great ways to celebrate the last few weeks of school. Help your students become more active and raise money for your school with a field day fundraiser!

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.

Post It Note Challenge

A Post It Note Challenge can be a quick and easy fundraiser that elementary school students will love!

Sell 20 or so sticky notes for a dollar during lunch or right before school ends. Then, have participants face the hallway wall, sticky notes in hand.

When a teacher says “Go,” students then have to see how quickly they can place all 20 of their sticky notes on the wall. The first student to do so, wins!

While you might not be able to raise an exorbitant amount of money with this fundraiser, it will be a fun activity for your students and will bring in a little extra cash for your school.

Relay Race Fundraising Ideas

Relay Race

Hosting a relay race, or any variation on that theme, 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!

straw draw fundraising ideas

Straw Draw

A straw draw can be held at any time of year and for as long as you want. The premise is so incredibly simple, you’ll be wondering why your school hasn’t been hosting this fundraiser for years.

At the front of your school, or in another prominent location with lots of foot traffic, set up a table with a basket full of straws.

Each straw should have some kind of reward attached to it. For instance:

  • An extra 15 minutes of recess.
  • An extra cookie at lunchtime.
  • A special parking spot (for high school students).

Students can pay a certain amount to select a straw each day. You can also have a separate basket for administrators and teachers (with different rewards, obviously!).

Note

Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

Elementary School Fundraisers

Box Tops Fundraising

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 sending in box tops.

General Mills offers a fantastic fundraising program that requires nothing more than this:

  1. Register your school.
  2. Encourage your students and their families to either send in their box tops to you or drop them off in a designated drop box.
  3. Tally the number of box tops and send them into General Mills.

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?

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 save money on expensive Christmas cards and simultaneously raise some Christmas cash for your school.

Penny Wars

Penny wars is one of the most fun fundraising games there is, and it is applicable for elementary school students all the way up to high school students. This is an awesome fundraiser for many reasons, but the best is that setting it up is almost no cost to your school at all.

How it works:

  • Each class/grade gets a large glass jar.
  • Each jar is clearly labeled and placed in a central location at your school.
  • The goal for each class is to fill the jar up with as many pennies as possible over a week’s time.

The goal here (and the part that’s going to raise the most money) is to sabotage the rival class jars. The students do this by putting coins and bills other than pennies in the jars.

So, 10 pennies would be cancelled out by a dime, 100 pennies would be cancelled out by a dollar, etc. The team with the best total is the winner!

principal challenge

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 silly 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! 

scavenger hunt fundraising ideas

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are great for groups of all ages, but they’re especially entertaining for younger students.

You can incorporate your teachers’ curriculum into the scavenger hunt. For instance, if students are learning about the solar system, hosting a galactic-themed hunt for the planets!

Students can pay to participate on their own or in teams. Whoever finds the most hidden objects, wins!

Middle School Fundraisers

Hat Day Fundraiser

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.

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!) against each other.

pajama day

Pajama Day

If you’re a parent of a student, then you might know the trials of getting your child dressed for school in the morning. It’s early in the morning and all the little tike wants to do is stay in his pajamas and sleep in.

To give parents a little break when it comes to the morning routine and raise money for your school at the same time, try hosting a school-wide pajama day!

Charge students a dollar or two to wear their pajamas for a whole day. Serve breakfast for lunch in the cafeteria to make it feel like a lazy Saturday afternoon.

A pajama day is a simple and free school fundraiser that everyone loves!

Scratch Card Fundraisers

Scratch card fundraisers are one of the simplest ways to raise money for your school.

This is how it works:

  1. Each student gets one scratch card with the potential to raise $100 on each.
  2. The cards have bubbles on them, and students find supporters who scratch off one or more of the bubbles, with each bubble revealing how much they will donate.
  3. The bubbles range from 50 cents to a few dollars.
  4. Each supporter that scratches off is provided with a coupon sheet that the students are provided with when they received their scratch off card.

Even if students only get half of the card’s worth scratched off, the profit is great. With twenty students in a class raising fifty dollars each, each class could raise $1,000!

Spinners Fundraising

Spinners

Add a little luck and excitement to your fundraising asks with Spinners Fundraising.

Here’s how Spinners Fundraising works:

  1. Each individual who is fundraising for your cause receives a customized Spinner with your group’s name / logo.
  2. Each Spinner has a spinnable arrow which when spun lands on random donation amounts ranging from $1 to $4.
  3. Each individual fundraiser asks friends, family, and neighbors to spin the arrow at least twice to determine their total donation amount.
  4. In return for their donation, each supporter is given a sheet of discount coupons to national corporate sponsors (valued at over $100) as a thank you for their donation.

Each spinner contains 12 discount coupon sheets so your fundraisers continue asking other individuals to spin and donate. On average each fundraiser will receive an average of $210 in donations for each Spinner (12 discount sheets).

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:

  • Music
  • History
  • Sports
  • Literature
  • Science

A spelling bee is an event that is educational and fun, so why not use this idea to raise some money for your school?

Note

Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

High School Fundraisers

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 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 else 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!

School Dance Fundraiser

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 all ages of students, from younger kids to teenagers.

It also gives you a great venue to combine other fundraising tactics, such as fundraising raffles, a silent auction, 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 may choose to participate by helping to cover other costs by volunteering at the event or via in-kind donations such as food, drinks, or raffle prizes.

Serve-a-thon Fundraiser

Student Serve-a-thon

A serve-a-thon engages 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:

  1. All the money raised goes towards your goal.
  2. 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.

Talent Show Fundraiser

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 which 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 more parents and guests who attend the talent show.

Be sure to create different categories based on age if your school includes several age groups. A group for elementary school children, middle school children, and high schoolers usually covers it!

Talent show rehearsals are necessary in order to make sure time 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.

teachers in jail fundraising ideas

Teachers in Jail

While putting teachers in “jail” may not sound like a game, students of all ages will definitely get a kick out of it.

Basically, kids collect a certain amount of money to throw their teacher in “jail” for a class period. They then take the money to the faculty or staff member in charge of the fundraiser and then get the rest of the class period to themselves.

In reality, the teachers just stay in the classroom and grade papers or take a nap while the students get a free class period to hang out in the gym or on the playground!

The rates can differ for each class, or you can charge each student a set amount. If your school has multiple class periods in a day, you can make a lot of money off of this fundraiser.

This fundraiser is especially effective at the end of the school year or semester when teachers and students are tired and just want a day off.

College and University Fundraisers

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 year.

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 laying around can turn into cold, hard, fundraising cash for your college.

Put drop boxes around your school or local businesses who are willing to participate. Announce the book drive with fliers, poster, 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.

dorm decorating contest

Dorm Decorating Contest

Many students enjoy adding personal touches to their otherwise stark or bland dorm rooms. It’s a way to remind them of home and help them create their very own living space.

If your college needs to raise a little extra money, why not try hosting a dorm decorating contest at the beginning of the semester?

Not everyone will want to participate, so have sign up sheets in the dining hall, in dorms, and in the student center. Then, encourage students to decorate their dorms however they would like.

When the designated day arrives, have students and even staff and faculty go around to each room and take a peek inside. They can then vote with their dollars for the dorm room they like the best.

The winner can receive a small prize, and your college winds up with some extra money. Everyone wins!

Engraved Bricks

Students and alumni alike want to leave their mark on their school. Provide them with this opportunity by selling spots on bricks that will be used in a walkway or a courtyard at your college!

You can partner with a company to make sure your brick engravings are of high quality, and then place names and small blurbs about each donor/buyer on each brick.

This type of fundraiser brings a great opportunity to reach out to alumni, so make sure you are contacting them through email and direct mail.

Let students know about engraved bricks throughout the semesters so that they can leave their mark on their alma mater as soon as they graduate!

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’ compulsion to visually document every facet of their lives 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 make each separate contest themed. 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!

yard sale fundraiser

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.

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 de-clutter their living spaces and generate some extra revenue for your college.

Low-Cost School Fundraisers

Balloon Raffle

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!

Guess the Number of Jellybeans in a Jar Fundraiser

Jellybean Count

Everyone’s heard of a jellybean count, and most people have participated in one at least once in their lives. There’s a reason so many schools (and businesses) have jellybean counts — they work.

Have students pay $1 to guess how many jellybeans are in the jar, and at the end of a week of guessing, make an announcement over the school’s intercom of the winner, which will be the person who guessed the number closest to the amount of jellybeans in the jar.

The winner gets to keep the jar of jellybeans, and you have just raised money in a snap!

Lemonade Stand Fundraiser for Schools

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 outside 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!

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’ mini van. They place the change along the squiggly line to fill out the “snake.”

Give students a week or two to complete their legless reptilian. Whichever class or grade has the most money at the end of the time period, wins!

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.

Year-Round School Fundraisers

Bottle Can Fundraiser

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.

Car Decal Fundraiser

Car Decals

Car decals might not necessarily be the first thing you think of when coming up with fundraising products to sell at your school, but they have the potential to raise a lot of money.

Students and parents alike want to represent their school, and an easy way to do this is by placing a decal on their car.

You can create decals with your school’s name, mascot, clubs, or sports teams!

Selling car decals can be an especially relevant fundraiser at high schools, because students in 10th and 11th grade are just getting their driver’s licenses and first cars. These are the perfect customers for car decals!

Car decal fundraisers can promote school spirit and bring in some much-needed funds for your school!

cell phone recycling

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!

fish tank fundraiser

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.

Read-a-thon Fundraiser

Read-a-thon

A read-a-thon is the ideal fundraising idea for schools, particularly because the kids participating in the fundraiser get to spend their time reading and learning instead of selling the same old fundraising items every year over and over again.

A read-a-thon can bring in lots of fundraising revenue without requiring parents to donate truckloads of their own money.

You can structure your read-a-thon like this:

  1. Have students obtain sponsors. They can ask their parents, neighbors, and other family members.
  2. Give students a tracking sheet with a place for parent or teacher initials next to each spot for minutes or pages read.
  3. Offer students incentives to read, such as offering fun prizes to the top three who read the most.

A read-a-thon has the potential to bring in thousands of dollars for your school, and no matter how much money it raises, your students are still reading more than ever.

It’s a win for the kids no matter what!

Note

Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

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