To get the most from their education, students need the right tools. Unfortunately, many school systems face severe underfunding.
The majority of K-12 schools — roughly two-thirds of the total — face a funding gap in the United States. This means that millions of school children lack the tools they need to be successful.
Fortunately, there's something parents can do about it.
Parent Teacher Associations, or the PTA, can raise funds for new library books, art supplies, musical instruments, or computers for a school. They have the power to make the classroom an enriching learning environment — but first, we need a quick whiteboarding session. Below, we offer several PTA fundraising ideas to raise money for your local school. Hopefully, this offers creative inspiration to plan a successful, annual fundraising campaign within your community.
12 PTA fundraising ideas to hit your goal
Your local PTA can rally together to contribute school supplies, technology upgrades, and additional resources to your elementary or high school. Below, we share some unique event ideas to hit your fundraising goal. From football field movie nights to a run-a-thon between rival schools, you’ll find some inspiration for your event.
1. Organize a parents vs. students basketball tournament 🏀
If you want a little friendly competition, organize a students vs. parents basketball tournament, and sell tickets for entry. Basketball not your sport? Organize a field day of different friendly competitions — soccer, flag football, lacrosse, or whatever sport packs the bleachers in your hometown.
2. Sell your old uniforms 🏆
Are your school closets filled with old sports team jerseys or school uniforms from the '90s, '80s, or even further back? Rather than allowing them to collect dust, hold a school-pride themed garage sale — giving students a retro-way to show their team spirit. To easily collect funds at the event, use the text-to-donate feature at the point of sale.
3. Collab with a rival school for a run-a-thon 🏃
Want to settle an age-old school rival with some school spirit? Here's a fun idea: Team up with the PTA board from a rival school, and host a run-slash-walkathon from their school to yours. Here's how it works: Teams will pass the baton as they race to the finish line, collecting online donations along the way. If you want to spice up the competition, utilize peer-to-peer fundraising, seeing which school can raise the most funds.
4. Host a 50-yard-line movie night 🎥
Want to enjoy a movie night under the stars? Hang a projector screen (even a large, white sheet will work!) from the goal posts at your high school football field. Invite school community members to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and snacks to enjoy an outdoor movie night. Pro tip: Use one-click social media sharing to help get the word out.
5. Throw a local restaurant week 🍝
Want to use your PTA fundraiser as a means to support local businesses? Organize a "restaurant week" in your school district, where local restaurants and cafes offer a prix fixe menu to patrons for a fixed price (e.g., $35 per person). Partner with restaurants that can donate $1-$2 from every dinner purchased to support your local PTA group. To easily make donations, allow supporters to purchase their meals through a scan-to-give QR code.
6. Organize a school auction for parents' night 💃
After all their fundraising efforts, the parents deserve a night out. Host a silent auction where parents can "bid" on childcare hours (to make things easy, have each parent Venmo their donation). Students can volunteer their time to watch the kiddos, with all proceeds going to support the local PTA. If you prefer, you can get all the parents together for a single community gathering, such as renting out a local bar for happy hour.
7. Host a 21+ bar crawl 🍻
Raise your glass and say "Cheers!" to your local school. To support your middle school or high school, organize a 21+ only bar crawl to the local pubs. If you want to bring out each parents' inner child, pick a theme and invite PTA members to dress up in onesies, ugly sweaters, or retro school uniforms. Be sure to embed Google Maps into your donation page so each supporter knows each pub stop upfront.
8. Create a cookie-decorating extravaganza 🍪
If you're so over the annual bake sale, try to give it a creative spin. Have parent groups bake different kinds of cookies, then donate them (unfrosted) to the school PTA. Host a community cookie decorating extravaganza, where family members enjoy frosting their cookies with different colors of icing and sprinkles. To encourage collaboration and garner excitement for the event, invite community members to share their cookie recipes on the supporter feed.
9. Bring a competitive edge to a talent show 🎭
Talent shows are one of the most popular fundraising events to grace your local high school or elementary school. Give your event a competitive flare by pinning the teachers, students, and parents against one another, seeing which group can 1) perform the best acts and 2) raise the most funds for your cause. Take advantage of trackable links so you know which team raised the most funds for your school.
10. Raffle off the student art projects 🎨
Each year, students of every grade level stretch their creative spirits through various art projects. For a school fundraising idea, sell raffle tickets to purchase the students' art projects. It's a great way to boost student confidence and put their creative projects to good use, all while raising funds for the school.
11. Celebrate Earth Day year-round 🌎
To give your school fundraiser a green spin, host an "Earth Day" fundraiser — but feel free to organize it outside of April 22. Reserve your high school gymnasium for a day, then charge an upfront fee for community members to come and arrange flower bouquets, plant veggie seedlings, or pot their own succulents. To take home their new green treasures, they can make an additional Venmo donation.
12. Host a shoe-decorating event 👟
T-shirt sales are one of the most commonly used fundraising strategies among school PTA groups. For something new, host a shoe decorating event instead. Invite supporters to bring a pair of sneakers to paint, or include an upsell ticket where a pair of shoes is provided (pro tip: Vans sells a pair of "U-Paint" shoes that work great!). For a successful fundraiser, supply plenty of brushes, pencils, and acrylic paint so supporters can create their own shoe designs.
Utilize Givebutter to help raise funds for your school
Your local Parent Teacher Association can help raise funds for school supplies and other necessities for your school. Hopefully, these PTA fundraising ideas gave you plenty of creative ideas to help reach your goal this school year.
As you plan your event, be sure to use Givebutter's fundraising software to organize your event. Givebutter's online fundraising platform offers 70+ free features to help rally supporters, including SMS and email invites, custom-branded pages, and supporter feeds. Plus, since Givebutter accepts every payment option, including Venmo, text-to-donate, ACH, credit cards, and even mailing a check, raising money has never been easier.
Ready to see how Givebutter can help your local school? Launch your free account to get started today.
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.