15 School Fundraising Ideas

  1. Pancake Breakfast
  2. Spirit Week
  3. T-Shirt Design Contest
  4. Family Day
  5. Battle of the Bands
  6. Movie Night
  7. Penny Wars
  8. Book Drive
  9. Alumni Luncheon
  10. Silent Auction
  11. Karaoke Night
  12. Bingo
  13. Fun Run/Walk
  14. Dance-a-thon
  15. Fashion Show

Coming up with new ideas to raise money for your school or college can seem like an impossible task. Turns out, there are tons of ways to raise money for sports teams, clubs, and field trips. You just have to get creative with the resources you already have.

If you’re wondering what to sell at a fundraiser, how to host a fundraiser, or which event will raise the most for your school, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some easy fundraising ideas you can use for your school or college!

1. Pancake Breakfast

Pancakes are an easy meal to make right in your school’s cafeteria! Serve with orange juice and a piece of fruit for your students in the morning. Charge per-plate to raise funds for your school.

Why It’s a Good Idea: Students will appreciate a break in the morning and getting to have a special breakfast with their friends. A simple pancake breakfast can start at $5 per plate!

Tip: Increase your profits by hosting a pancake breakfast on a weekend and extending the invitation to student’s families! You can also offer premium options such as bacon, sausage, or an all-you-can-eat option for a higher price. Include sweet toppings like whipped cream, strawberries, or chocolate syrup for a fun twist.

2. Spirit Week

Spirit week is always fun, but it’s even better if you have a big sports game to center it around. Everyone can dress in your school colors at the game, and you can even hand out little gifts to the crowd like basketball stress balls or football keychains. Consider other events during the week as well like classroom door decorating, competitions between different grades, and bake sales.

Why It’s a Good Idea: Spirit week can help build relationships between your students, encourage teamwork, and encourages everyone to get involved in the fundraising efforts.

Tip: In addition to daily themes and games, have ongoing competitions throughout the week like a can drive or a coat drive. Adding another charitable aspect to your fundraiser gives students, parents, and alumni a variety of ways to get involved.

3. T-Shirt Design Contest

Encourage students to get creative by coming up with a t-shirt design for your school! The t-shirt can be for another event like homecoming or graduation. Once a design has been deemed the winner, sell the shirts to students.

Why It’s a Good Idea: Any student would love to see their design come to life on a t-shirt worn by their peers. Graphic design students can use the school’s resources to practice the skills they’ve learned by coming up with a design. You’d be surprised by how creative students can be to show their school spirit in a fun way!

Tip: This type of fundraising event can be done annually as a consistent source of profit for your school! You can make the contest school-wide or just by class year. If your school requires uniforms, use purchasing the shirt as an incentive to be able to dress down on certain days of the year.

4. Family Day

Showcase the latest project your students have been working on by inviting the family to school or campus! Parents, grandparents, and siblings can all come check out the school or campus and see what the student has been up to. Have concessions, spirit wear for sale, or organize activities!

Why It’s a Good Idea: Parents and guardians want to be involved in their student’s education. Show off your school’s latest additions to encourage donations for future improvements!

Tip: Pair this event with homecoming or a sporting event to encourage support for your school! Universities can take it a step further and host an after party at a local restaurant with a portion of proceeds going back to the school.

5. Battle of the Bands

Chances are your school already has the equipment and space to host a Battle of the Bands contest, which makes this fundraising idea easy to execute. Raise money for your school by selling tickets and by charging a registration fee for the bands that want to play!

Why It’s a Good Idea: This event gives student musicians a chance to gain exposure to new audiences! Live music is popular for any age group, so you won’t be limited by who can attend the event.

Tip: Increase the amount you raise by having a concession stand or by allowing bands to sell merchandise for a fee. You can also create a judging panel or voting system with a grand prize for the winning band to make the event more engaging for the audience.

6. Movie Night

Movies are a fun, relaxing way to spend time with your friends, and fundraise for your school. Show a movie relevant to current events, or a classic that anyone will enjoy. Sell tickets to the movie ahead of time to raise money and get students excited.

Why It’s a Good Idea: Showing a movie is a low-cost event. Ask teachers and faculty to volunteer their time to help the evening go smoothly. All your profits can go directly back to the school!

Tip: In addition to tickets, sell popcorn, soda, and candy to moviegoers to boost your sales. You can even make the evening into a “sleepover” for students and fill the night with other activities.

7. Penny Wars

Penny Wars is a fun game that not only raises money for your school, but it also allows students in different classes or grades to be competitive! Each class has their own money collection jug, and students are encouraged to fill it only with pennies and cash to earn points. Each penny is one point, which makes each dollar 100 points. The team with the most points at the end of the week wins!

Why It’s a Good Idea: A friendly competition is always fun, but it is also an easy way to raise money without asking for a large financial commitment from your students. Change they find in the couch cushions at home is all they’d need to participate!

Tip: In addition to students putting pennies in their own classroom’s jars, you can make the competition more interesting by adding silver coins to the mix. When a competitor adds any silver coins like nickels, dimes, or quarters to your jar, they subtract from your team’s points!

8. Book Drive

Books are an expensive yet necessary item to have in schools. An easy way to get new books into the hands of your students is to host a book drive. Encourage students to bring in gently used books to donate to the school. Then, organize a book sale for students to find new and interesting titles.

Why It’s a Good Idea: Buying brand new books can be expensive. Encourage students to read without worrying about a financial burden of paying full price!

Tip: Host a book drive that is specifically for textbooks. Encourage students to donate their old textbooks and give them a discount on new books for the next school year. Resell old textbooks to students who need them for a discounted price, all while raising money for your school.

9. Alumni Luncheon

Alumni are an invaluable resource for fundraising. Host a luncheon at your school or at another location to raise money for your school. Sell tickets, gather donations for gift baskets, and create a presentation about the current state of the school.

Why It’s a Good Idea: This event is a great way to showcase what your school has done with previous donations and what it plans to do with future donations!

Tip: It’ll be more challenging to involve alumni in fundraising if you have to track down their contact information first. Keeping an updated database is important to stay in touch with your alumni. If you don’t already have one in place, now is a good time to get one started!

10. Silent Auction

Ask your students, faculty, and alumni for donations towards silent auction baskets. Have your students work together to put the baskets together filled with donated items. Invite families and alumni for an evening to auction off your baskets.

Why It’s a Good Idea: In return for donating to your school, people are getting a chance to win fantastic baskets, tickets, or jewelry.

Tip: An easy way to get creative baskets that people will want is to give each basket a different theme. Some easy themes are movie night, spa day, or game day tickets!

11. Karaoke Night

Host a karaoke night at your school! Allow students to sign up to sing the song of their choice and charge per song. You can also sell tickets to increase profits for your school.

Why It’s a Good Idea: Karaoke is a fun opportunity for students to have a little fun. Students can show off their skills or sing like they’re alone at home. Either way, it’s bound to be a blast!

Tip: Use the equipment you already have at your school to host this event. Nearly every song you can think of has a karaoke version available online you can put on a projector.

12. Bingo

Bingo is a game anyone can have fun playing. Have guests pay for as many cards as they want and ask a teacher to volunteer to call the numbers. A gymnasium is the perfect location to host a bingo night.

Why It’s a Good Idea: You can host regular bingo nights at your school and give away different prizes every week like school swag or cash!

Tip: During bingo, you can offer split-the-pot or sell pull tabs as additional opportunities to gather donations for your school!

13. Fun Run/Walk

A 5k is a three-mile run that kids and adults can participate in! Runners can raise money for the school leading up to the fun run. Hand out gifts to the runners like water bottles or sweat towels to thank them for their participation.

Why It’s a Good Idea: An event like this can be done in your school neighborhood! There is very little cost associated with hosting a fun run, and the whole community can get involved.

Tip: Ask local businesses to sponsor your event! Make t-shirts and add their business name to the back to thank them for contributing to your school.

14. Dance-a-thon

Host one big dance party in your gymnasium that lasts for 24 straight hours! Ask your students to collect pledges based on how long they plan to stay on the dance floor. Play upbeat songs and sell food for your hungry dancers.

Why It’s a Good Idea: A dance-a-thon is a fun way to fundraise, and to encourage your students to get active. This is also an event that can be hosted yearly.

Tip: Since this event is 24-hours long, you’ll need volunteers. If you have students who need service hours, be sure to ask them if they want to participate!

15. Fashion Show

Give your students the chance to show off their runway skills by hosting a fashion show! Transform your gymnasium into a New York runway with lights, seating for guests, and an upbeat playlist. Sell tickets to students, family, and others in the community.

Why It’s a Good Idea: A fashion show can not only help your school raise money, but it can also help local boutiques advertise their merchandise.

Tip: Reach out to vendors and shops in your community to get involved and showcase their products! Have everyone involved do a practice walk or two to ensure your live event goes smoothly.

Why Is Fundraising Important for Schools?

Fundraising is important for schools because it provides the finances to expand extracurricular programs and make general school-wide improvements. Each year, 27.1% of schools earn more than $75,000 through fundraising! This money contributes to things like scholarship programs, sports teams, or educational field trips.

Are you feeling inspired to go out and fundraise? Involve your Student Council, sports teams, or other school organizations in the planning and execution of your next fundraising event. Now that you have an arsenal of school fundraising ideas, it’s time to schedule a brainstorming meeting!

Resources

Funds2Orgs. (2020). 45+ Fundraising Ideas. Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://funds2orgs.com/school-fundraising-ideas-guide/

Ibrisevic, Ilma. (2018, March 27). 53 Proven School Fundraising Ideas – Raise Money for Your School. Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://donorbox.org/nonprofit-blog/school-fundraising-ideas/

Sign Up Genius. (2020). 50 Successful School Fundraising Ideas. Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.signupgenius.com/school/school-fundraising-ideas.cfm

Nonprofit Source. (2018). The Ultimate List Of Charitable Giving Statistics For 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2020, from https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/

About the author

Gianna Petan

Meet Gianna - no stranger to all things promo products. Her background in research-based writing, linguistics, and advertising gives her an edge in blogging about the marketing industry.