17 School Fundraising Ideas for Every Age

It’s no secret that schools need deeper resources for their students, but it can be tough to develop new school fundraising ideas. Whether your school wants to support a building expansion, new computer resources, uniforms, or any number of other desires, creating a fun event for your fundraiser will help make it a success.

While fundraising events have always been part of the school landscape, coronavirus budget cuts only heightened the need. Budget cuts impact which programs are offered, how many teachers the school can hire, and much more.

As schools think of alternative ways to fund educational opportunities for their students, they’re looking to get creative. But it doesn’t have to resort to just gift wrap and candy bars. Here are 17 fun ways to raise money for kindergarten through college.

7 Elementary School Fundraising Ideas

School fundraising ideas: Little boys raising their hands in class

The most successful elementary school fundraisers are easy to implement and rally support around. If you’re a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) member looking to go beyond the bake sale, here are seven ideas guaranteed to boost your bottom line and raise school spirit.

1. Attention-Getting Stunts

Kids and adults alike enjoy seeing a principal or favorite teacher doused in a dunking booth, kiss a pig, get a pie in the face, or participate in any number of other fun and harmless antics. Just be sure you have the buy-in from the “victim” beforehand.

You can take donations via a fundraising page, and if you hit a certain amount, then the volunteer completes the stunt. You can also tie it to something else like a reward to the fourth grade if they raise a certain amount of money through their candy bar sale.

2. Teddy Bear Outing

Host a picnic where kids can bring their favorite teddy bear (or other stuffed animal). An entrance fee will raise money. You can have prizes for the largest teddy bear, oldest, best-dressed, and so on.

3. Parent’s Night Out

Host an evening where parents can drop off their little ones for a couple of hours of supervised play while they go out and enjoy some time alone. The school can charge a fee to raise funds.

4. Gourmet Product Sale

From hot chocolate to popcorn, there are many proven vendors who can help simplify your school’s fundraising efforts. Some schools choose to do the same one every year, which helps build repeat customers.

5. Movie Night

Got a parking lot where you create a drive-in experience? Broadcast a favorite film on a giant screen (or even the side of the building) and let the fun begin! You can sell tickets to the movie and sell snacks separately. You can even borrow or rent a popcorn maker for the true movie experience.

6. Read-a-Thon

This is a great way to encourage reading and raise money for your fundraising goals. You can let participants invite parents and other family members to donate money for your little reader’s efforts. It’s up to you how you organize your read-a-thon, but many schools base it on the number of chapters read or length of time.

7. Field Day

Harness your students’ natural energy by encouraging a little friendly competition with three-legged races, frog hops, and other field day classics. Make it an annual school event so it becomes something to look forward to for the students. Local businesses can get involved by donating prizes and the school can charge a small donation.

Virtual field days can work too if your school is unable to meet in person. For example, children can create obstacle courses in their living rooms (parents or older siblings can help!) and film themselves completing it.

Boost participation in your elementary school fundraising events by encouraging grades to participate together and include the teachers. Not only does it make the school fundraiser more fun, but when you involve the teachers, it helps everything run smoothly.

7 Middle School and High School Fundraising IdeasSchool fundraising ideas: Two students talk in library

Junior high and high school students can take on a bigger role in their school fundraising efforts. Many older students enjoy games and organizing events that make excellent fundraisers. (Bonus: They learn teamwork and leadership skills.)

Middle school and high school fundraising ideas include:

1. Quiz Night

Ask students to divide themselves into groups of four and have one student be the quiz master. You could even have them submit questions based on a chosen theme in the days leading up the quiz. This is a great fundraiser as it creates a lot of friendly competition. The school raises money via a small donation. The PTA can ask for prize donations from local restaurants or other businesses.

Bonus: Your school can host this fundraiser online if needed.

2. Dance-a-Thon

Can your students dance all night? The goal of a dance-a-thon is to see how long you can dance. The last one standing (or dancing, rather) gets a prize. You can raise money by having friends pledge on behalf of their friends via crowdfunding or sell tickets. This event is usually held over a period of hours or even days, so you can plan a continuous dance-a-thon or divide it into shifts.

If you need to, host a dance-a-thon virtually by having students create their own fundraising pages through your chosen platform. Friends and family can pledge their chosen amount depending on how long their student can dance on a livestream. You can get creative with challenges for funniest dance, best dancer, best costume, and more.

3. Themed Run

Whether you go for holiday-themed (with costumes) or do a color run, 5Ks are popular with groups of all ages. Students will have a blast dressing up as their favorite superhero or running while being showered in colorful chalk. Themed runs also lend themselves to memorable photos for social media.

4. Karaoke

Whether you choose to host this as an event or deem it Karaoke Week and let students sing over the PA system during morning announcements, this is a sure-fire winner. You could let students raise money through sponsorships or raffle tickets and drum up excitement ahead of time by hosting a contest where students can nominate themselves or one another.

5. Car Wash

This perennial favorite brings out lots of attendees in the form of family members and community members. After all, everyone’s car needs washing! One of the sports teams can wear school-branded T-shirts and set up shop near a busy intersection. That way, they’ll get seen (and attract customers). Just make sure they have enough room to accommodate traffic and access to running water.

6. Talent Show

Everyone has talent! Let your high schoolers or middle schoolers share theirs with their classmates. Charge an entry fee both for participants and attendees for fundraising. A portion of the fee could be used as prize money for the winner (who doesn’t want to hold a giant check?). You could even tap into local businesses and ask them for sponsorship for another addition to your fundraising campaign.

7. Silent Auction

Encourage families or local businesses to donate something for a silent auction. Gift certificates or quality yard sale items like board games could be desirable prizes. Many fundraising platforms make it easy to host these online.

3 College Fundraising Ideas

College campus in the fall

Individual college clubs and organizations can choose creative fundraising strategies that match their interests. It’s also a great opportunity to build friendships because everyone is focused on a good cause while having fun.

1. Game Night

From Mario Kart to Super Smash Brothers, there are tons of popular video games students love to play. Choose one for the theme of your event and invite participants eager to win prizes. You can charge an entrance fee and sell snacks. You could also stream it live and let people bet on their favorite players. Do your research before advertising the event, as different games have different multiplayer requirements.

2. Battle of the Bands

Let the musicians in your midst show off their stuff with this classic event. You can make money from entrance fees both from the bands and the audience, and hit your goal faster by selling snacks and merchandise.

3. Marathon Movie Night

Choose a theme or series to watch. Some groups might want to watch the entire Star Wars saga or the Harry Potter series. Charge an entry fee, make some popcorn, and vote on your favorite characters or movie scenes.

For All Ages: Say “Thank You” Without the Legwork

Hopefully, this list of top school fundraising ideas has sparked your creative juices. As you can see, there’s a range of ideas for raising money from selling gourmet products to inexpensive or free challenges that you can do throughout the school year. Students of all ages will enjoy participating and raising money.

Be sure to wrap up your successful fundraising campaign with a heartfelt “thank you.” Capture attention by using dynamic personalization to send unique videos to each donor in a few quick steps. Your recipients will feel the love when they receive a text or email with a video highlighting their impact.

Find out how ThankView can help your school fundraising efforts by trying out our easy demo. Just pick a time and day that works by clicking “Set Up a Demo” in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

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