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25 High School Fundraising Ideas

Posted by on in School Fundraising

Fundraising is a way of life for every high school. Sometimes finding fundraising ideas for high schools and their community can be tough. Getting creative when it comes to fundraisers for high schools is key! We've gathered 25 school fundraising ideas for high schools in one place to get your idea machine revved up and ready to go to raise vital funds in keeping your standards for education high.

  1. Dress Down Days - Are you a school of which students are required to wear a uniform each and every day? Holding a Dress Down Day each quarter can go a long way. If a student wants to wear their favorite jeans or team jersey to school they need to pay $5 on a specific day, and you've just raised a great amount of money for your school.
  2. Fill the Bucket at Friday Night Lights - Friday night football games, and even Saturday afternoon games, are a great opportunity to raise school spirit and bring some game into the realm of school fundraising ideas. During breaks in play at football games, or really any games, pass a bucket around the stands and ask for donations of any size to support the school. Have some fun with it and play music or create a matching gift challenge. The more fun and interactive you make it, the more money you will raise.
  3. Car Wash - Car washes and high schoolers go hand in hand. Especially if your school is located in a warmer climate. Ask a local business to let your school use their parking lot and hose, get those signs on corners and reel in the passing cars.
  4. School Dance Entry Fee - If your high school is still hosting Friday night dances, charging an entry fee is a great way to raise funds for your high school. Students get to dance the night away and you raise vital funds in the process.
  5. Flower Grams - For Valentine's Day, have student leaders deliver flowers and 'love grams' to other students. Have a secret crush? Pay a small fee to have a note and flower delivered to your crush in their homeroom on the morning of Valentine's Day. It's a great way to raise funds and heart rates.
  6. Pizza Day - School fundraising ideas get delicious with Pizza for breakfast. Yup. You heard us right. Sell pizza for breakfast and have a blast doing the rebellious thing that Mom always told you not to do - eat pizza for breakfast.
  7. Parking Spot Auction - Getting a great parking spot at school is really important, but doesn't always coincide with sleeping in. Auction off a parking spot close to school in the student parking lot….and the teachers parking lot! Highest bidder gets the spot for the entire school year and a sign to let everyone know who's parking spot it is. The best way to track the bidding is through donation software that tracks the gift amounts, donors and items that they are bidding on. 
  8. Talent Show - Hold your school's version of “America's Got Talent. Put on a talent show that charges for guests to catch the action in the audience. It's a great way to highlight the talents of the students and raise money for the arts in your school.
  9. Yard Sale - Gather up all of your unwanted goods and have a school wide yard sale. Utilize the school parking lot or the gymnasium to turn someone's unwanted goods into treasure for someone else. All proceeds or a percentage of proceeds can go towards the school.
  10. Homecoming Float Fee - Turn the high school homecoming parade into a force for good. Charge a nominal fee for each float to participate in the homecoming parade. Even $5 per car can go a long way on your fundraising barometer.
  11. Teacher Dunk Tank - There's always that one teacher who you wish you could dunk for giving you that D. Now's your chance. Ask a local carnival vendor to donate a dunk tank for an afternoon and have students step up and pay for the chance to dunk a teacher into a dunk tank.
  12. Art Auction - Put the masterpieces created by students to work for good. Hold an event where selected pieces of art are auctioned off and the proceeds go towards your school fundraising campaign. Track the gifts and auction items that attract the highest bidders to ensure success year after year.
  13. Bottle and Can drive in states that have deposits - If your state has a deposit on cans and bottles, collect them over a weekend and return them to claim the money. All of those nickels and dimes add up fast.
  14. Plan a Carnival - Whether it's indoors or outdoors, a carnival is always a fun opportunity for school fundraising. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want, but have fun!
  15. Create Any Kind of 'a-thon' - Bike, walk, read, ride or relay a-thon. Crowdfunding linked to any sort of a-thon is always a great way to raise funds. Students ask their family and friends to pledge them for their participation in the 'a-thon'. With online crowdfunding software, participation and financial support can be tracked and monitored for success.
  16. Haunted House - let's get spooky! Turn the happy halls into hallowed halls. Create a haunted house within school and charge admission to gain a fright. Those admission fees add up devilishly fast.
  17. Pancake Breakfast - Get cooking to raise money. Put the students to work in the kitchen and serve Moms and Dads at a pancake breakfast.
  18. Proceeds from a Dining Out Night - Many restaurants will partner with a school and donate a percentage of one evening of sales to a school. Gather up your friends and family and head out to dinner all for a good cause.
  19. Online Crowdfunding - Got a heartfelt video? Have great stories to tell about the students at your school? Create an online campaign that focuses on the great high school and its students and make an appeal in the video to support the work of the school. The more people you can reach with the video, the more likely they will be to give. Track their donations and the participation utilizing software that is ready to accept mobile donations.
  20. Used instrument sale - Put those used trumpets to work. Sell used instruments to support the music and art program of the school.  School fundraising ideas get even more creative when you consider the instrument of voice with singing as a crowdfunding activity.
  21. Social Media Status for a Cause - Create a social media campaign that grabs attention. Create content that can be shared across any social media platform that support mobile donations.
  22. School Spirit Gear - Sell the latest gear that supports the school while increasing high school spirit. Ensure that a portion of each sale above the cost of the items can be donated to support the work of the team or the school itself.
  23. Teachers vs. Students Game - Can the teachers beat students at a game of pickup basketball?  Can the students beat the teachers at a game of volleyball? Host a teachers vs. students game with any and all sports and charge a small fee at the door for spectators to take in the action. May the best team win.
  24. Discount Cards - A really popular way to raise funds is to ask local businesses if  they would be willing to offer a discount to people who purchase and show a discount card when they come into their business. Maybe it's $5 off an oil change or dinner, or 10% of a purchase. The business gets increased business and your school fundraising campaign collects the proceeds from the sale of the cards. It's a win win for everyone.
  25. Tape a Teacher to the Wall - Many times popular teachers or principals are willing to be duct taped to a wall (feet off the ground and all) if a certain amount of money is raised. Collect donations for the campaign and watch your donation thermometer rise with this entertaining activity.

These are just 25 high school fundraising ideas to get you started on your path to financial success. The most important elements of success are to have fun, stay organized and offer a variety of options to raise money throughout the school year. It allows for teachers, students and your PTO to get in on the action and the school spirit.

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Heather Filipowicz, CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive), has over 15 years of nonprofit fundraising and management experience. She successfully raised millions of dollars for various nonprofits in the Buffalo, NY community. Now, she resides in Tampa, FL where she is a writer, blogger, yogi and Mom