We know that great fundraising ideas teeter the line between sublime and ridiculous. But, their purpose remains the same: they inspire people to give money, get involved and spread the message and importance of your cause to others.
We blogged about 25 Creative and Engaging Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits before, and we’re back with 26 school fundraising ideas for high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, to raise funds and have fun while doing so.
Here's our list of fundraising ideas for kids, schools, sports, and youth groups. Keep in mind that fundraising events with kids don’t have to be too complicated. Whether raising money for your classroom, after school club, or the PTA planning events throughout the school year, here is a list fun events and ideas to raise money your school needs!
1. Penny wars: a classic and straightforward fundraiser of friendly competition. Students bring in pennies and compete to collect the most. Small donations add up raising funds without spending much money at all. Pennies earn points for classes while silver coins deduct from the total. This easy school fundraiser just requires a few jars and change found around the house. To add to your donation, ask friends and relatives to make an online donation to match!
2. Rent-a-kid: raffle off your school's best and brightest. Kids can be rented for community member leaf raking, garage cleanouts, babysitting, and more! This is an easy high school fundraising idea for teens with time and willingness to help out. Set up an online page using Givebutter’s platform to make fundraising seamless for your school.
3. Pajama day: elementary schools and middle school students go wild for school spirit themes. Pajama day is no exception! For a small donation amount, students can come to school in their pajamas making this fundraising idea for schools a great way to cozy up to some cash!
4. Candy sales: “Would you like to buy a candy bar?” The time tested candy sale continues to be a great fundraiser. Time your candy sale on a holiday like Valentine’s Day or Halloween, and buyers will be happy to support your good cause while satisfying their sweet tooth.
5. T-shirt design contest: A friendly competition to select the best school spirit wear. Students submit designs for t-shirts. The entire school votes on the best t-shirt through social media, and the top t-shirt choice is sold to students, staff, and the community. This school fundraising idea is tried and true - everyone wants a new school spirit t-shirt.
6. PTA mimosa breakfast: a fun twist on the pancake breakfast, paired with adult beverages. PTAs work hard to come up with school fundraising ideas for their high school, middle school, and elementary schools. Give parents what they really want: an alcoholic drink at their next school event. Sell tickets, manage attendees, collect donations, and keep track of sales all in one place.
7. Scavenger hunt: Scavenger hunts can be a fun way to boost school spirit with friendly competition among teams. Charge an entry fee for participants to find the items and come up with a fun prize donated by a local business for the winners.
8. Field Day: Obstacle course! Water balloons! Pie in the face! Dunking booth! Raising money has never been more fun than pay-to-play field day. This fundraiser requires lots of volunteers to pull off, so rally community members to host stations by donating their time.
9. Haunted House: This school fundraising idea can raise funds if you’ve got the props, the costumes, and the will to scare! Promote your school fundraiser on social media and let Givebutter take care of ticket sales and registering volunteers.
10. Battle of the Bands: Smells like teen spirit. Get the band back together with a Battle of the Bands competition. Teens especially can showcase their music with this high school fundraising idea that rocks. \m/ Attendees buy a ticket and can vote on their favorite band performance. Set a fundraising goal and personalize a fundraising page for each band participant.
11. Car wash. High school students and younger students can both host a car wash as a fun way to support school fundraising efforts. A bucket, some soap, and sponges, and you’ll be hitting your fundraising goals while having fun.
12. Lemonade stand. The lemonade stand is easy fundraising because people love to support cute kids hustling the juice. To add customers, share on social media your hours of operation, so that community members know when to stop by! Pro tip: add a bake sale to your lemonade stand too! To make sales even more lucrative, integrate with Venmo for ease of sales.
13. Movie Night - pick a family favorite and open up the school parking lot for a makeshift drive-in. Ask for a donation amount per car for a great fundraiser that the whole family can enjoy.
14. Bake Sale: sell baked goods donated by parents and host an after school bake sale. Or host a booth during parent-teacher conference night!
15. Discount Cards - popular in many towns, discount card coupon books are full of deals to local restaurants and local businesses and are a great way to raise funds for an elementary school, middle school, and high school alike. Students sell discount cards to family members, community members, and the coupons are for things people are already going to buy.
16. Yard Sale: Community members can chip in with this fundraising idea for schools that will cost you nothing. Ask community members to host a yard sale and donate their proceeds to your fundraising campaign. People are happy to rid their homes of things they no longer need, and they’ll feel good donating the proceeds to a good cause.
17. Father-daughter dance: This elementary school fundraising idea is a shoo-in for raising money. Fathers of little girls can’t resist the opportunity to take their little one to their first dance during the school year. Sell tickets to the dance per couple or per family, and this fabulous school event is raising money in no time. Add a raffle to the dance and sell raffle tickets for an age-appropriate prize. (Think Magnatiles, tickets to a local major league sports team, mermaid or unicorn-themed items, crafts and STEM kits).
18. Mother-son dance: Just the same as the father-daughter dance, the parent-child dance is an elementary school fundraising idea or middle school fundraising idea that never fails. Add a raffle to this event too and sell raffle tickets for a prize like superheroes, a karaoke machine, or dinosaurs.
19. Jeans day / Out of uniform day: Sell passes for a day out of uniform, or a day in jeans. Allow parents to pre-pay ahead of time by setting up an online sales page or allow text to donate.
20. Talent show: Kids of all ages love to show off their skills. Charge an entry fee for each talent to perform, and raise money through this school event. Attendees can be charged a ticket price as well, or leave it open for attendees to make a donation of any amount of money during the event.
21. Cookie dough sale: just like a candy sale, but with cookie dough. Pro tip: stock up on cookie dough and then plan a bake sale, and you’ll be raising money twice from the same baked goods!
22. School Karaoke: if the idea of planning a full-fledged talent show as a high school fundraiser is too intimidating, consider school karaoke as a fundraiser. Students can buy a raffle ticket to sing karaoke over the high school P.A. system during morning announcements, in between bells as students are changing classes and afternoon announcements. This is sure to be a silly and fun way to raise funds. Pro tip: review to ensure they are radio-friendly and high school appropriate before approving the karaoke song!
23. Pumpkin Olympics: perfect for Halloween or to complement a Fall carnival, it’s just like Field Day, but with pumpkin-themed challenges. Pumpkin races using your nose, pumpkin stacking race, pumpkin decorating contest. Sell tickets to participate in a variety of pumpkin challenges to raise money for your elementary school or middle school. Allow parents to donate just because during the event accepting Venmo or text donations to support the school.
24. Silent Auction: a silent auction can be a bit stuffy as a school fundraising idea, so jazz it up and make the silent auction themed for your students specifically. Collect donations of items, gift certificates from local businesses and stores, and theme them specifically for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Set up in the school cafeteria and let the silent auction run throughout spirit week. Students can bid all week long with this school fundraiser raising money while also bidding on items they want.
25. Read-a-thon: This is one school fundraising idea that everyone can feel good about donating to- and crowdfunding success throughout the years. Select a week where students pledge to read a certain number of minutes each day. Have students set up a fundraising page to collect pledges of small donation amounts from family members and community members for each minute read or a flat rate. At the end of the week, these small donations add up to big dollars for your school's fundraising campaign.
26. Walk-a-thon: Just like the read-a-thon, but miles instead of minutes read. Pick a month where students pledge to walk a certain number of miles. Students then set up their fundraising page to collect pledges to raise money. A walk-a-thon gets kids moving and can be done at any time during the school year.
No matter your school fundraising idea, Givebutter is the fundraising platform to help you raise more money, sell tickets, and integrate into social media at the same time. Not sure where to start with online fundraising for your school? Givebutter makes that easy, too with our step-by-step guide to support all your fundraising efforts and set your on way to meeting your school’s fundraising goals.
Candice is a nonprofit professional with over a decade of experience in fundraising, civic engagement, staff and volunteer management, writing, and project coordination.