Best Fundraisers for Schools
The best school fundraisers not only raise much needed funds, but have the capacity to provide students with leadership roles and learning opportunities. Valuable life skills are taught through hands-on learning experiences including marketing and advertising, team work and competition, managing a fundraising campaign and a fundraising website.
These 40 school fundraising ideas can be used by Parent Teacher Organizations, Student Councils, Service Groups, school clubs, sport teams, and more. So don’t just settle for the cookie dough fundraiser for your school this year, we’ve provided inspiration below for the best school fundraisers at all levels of education.
Our Favorite Fundraisers for Schools
School fundraising campaigns and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) can have great fundraising success with Color Run Fundraisers. Splashes of vivacious hues of color powders being thrown throughout a walkathon or Fun Run is just one of the magical ingredients that make a color run fundraiser successful. The paint is safe for all ages, and everyone will remember the day. Add an after party to bring the community together and offer event sponsors an opportunity to showcase their products and offer samples.
Fundraising for education through literacy can be accomplished through a School Literacy Festival. Create a fun afternoon and raise money for school programs by holding readings of classic literature, poetry, and short stories by students. Teachers can host story times and art projects for younger children. Create writing competitions and award prizes to your winners. Celebrate literacy with your students!
A Fun Run is a fabulous choice for a school fundraiser because competition is out of the race and fun is in. Fun Run websites create a gateway for planning and managing a fun run seamlessly and allow students and classrooms to easily raise money for your school via personal and team fundraising pages. Join in one of the biggest crazes in crowdfunding for schools that promotes teamwork and exercise. No cookie dough sales required!
Chocolate Theme Party
Everyone loves chocolate! Here’s your chance to highlight chocolate and provide some education around a fun subject. How about featuring a local chocolate company or one that gives to charity with a portion of their sales, or one who promotes environmentalism? Adding an element of the greater good to your school fundraising campaign teaches your children further levels of responsibility. Add a Marketplace or bake sale at the end to take home a chocolate candy bar or treat.
Farm to Table Events
Some schools have their own organic garden to teach their kids important lessons in environmental science and social responsibility, but most schools aren’t that fortunate. Farm-to-Table fundraisers can be a great opportunity to teach kids about organic farming. Farm-to-Table events can be held at a local farm or community center, with dinner served with all local and organic ingredients. Ask a local chef or restaurant to sponsor your event in support of your work.
Golf tournaments are tried and true fundraising events! With golf tournament software there is no guesswork in planning a golf event to raise money for your school. DoJiggy offers a complete set of golf tournament planning resources. Find a tournament planner and checklist, golf tournament budget, a set of five standard letter templates for fundraising golf tournaments and event flyers. These tools offer all that you’ll need to successfully kick off your school fundraising tournament.
Yoga classes are certain to spark an interest in many of your supporters and donors. Plan a day of varied yoga classes at all levels of fitness and practice (Yoga Basics, Yoga for Children, Iyengar, Hatha Flow, Vinyasa, Restorative). Teach your children and community that yoga is for everyone by including something for everyone. Sell tickets at the door and on your fundraising event website. Invite food vendors and sponsors that promote healthy eating to advocate the importance of eating well for ourselves and our planet.
Adults Only Night
Fundraisers for schools certainly don’t have to include students. Wine tasting events and charity poker tournaments can accomplish fundraising goals and give parents time to focus on networking and getting to know each other. Parents, teachers, and PTA members work together on every school fundraising event, and knowing each other creates cohesion and a more pleasurable experience for everyone.
Canine costumes may be the highlight of a Halloween party held after a Dog-walk walkathon. Award prizes to the top three individual and team fundraisers as well as the top three dog costumes. Who will your dog go to the party as? Hold dog-walk walkathons as fundraisers for schools any time of the year for a spectacular crowdfunding event to raise money. Work in partnership with a nonprofit who helps animals and share costs, advertising and volunteer resources.
School bike-a-thons are very popular and successful as fundraisers for schools. Not only do bike-a-thons work financially, but they also are a great way to bring the community together in crowdfunding. They encourage parents, students, faculty and local businesses to participate in a healthy way to raise money for your school by combining exercise with your cause.
Christmas booths or decorated tables can be added to street corners, parking lots and inside large businesses. Spread the merriment through your attitude and offer detailed information about your school projects. The great work of your school when delivered with holiday cheer will reach the hearts and minds of your donors and inspire them to give. Bring a holiday theme with costumes and decorations to any holiday fundraiser and a special atmosphere stands behind it.
A Zoo Walk allows your students to enjoy the zoo the entire day while they raise money for school projects. Everyone will like walking around the zoo with their family and friends, seeing lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Make it an opportunity to talk specifics about why you need to raise money to keep high educational standards. Have a table for each subject outlaying the progressive work you’re doing in math, linguistics, and science. Create a vibrant peer-to-peer fundraising website with a Zoo theme.
Dress Down Days
A day without uniforms or a strict dress code is something kids and teachers will pay for. Charge a fee once per month or every Friday for those who crave a dress down day. Use these funds to go on a field trip to a local museum or one in a neighboring city. Perhaps the museum will offer you a day of free or reduced rate admission for the kids.
Disney Movie Night
Bring a little Disney magic into your elementary school fundraising by having Disney Movie Nights. Choose four movies and plan a month long fundraising campaign to keep everyone excited about the next week’s show. Movie tickets, popcorn, fruit cups and healthy snacks can be sold. End your movie series with a Costume Party. Give a prize to the best dressed boy and girl. There may be more than on Moana at the party.
Family Fun Nights
Have good old-fashioned fun at a Family Fun Night. These nights give school communities a chance to have fun on a Friday or Saturday night and enjoy dinner, games and prizes for all ages. Each classroom sponsors a game or an activity booth, and the night is focused on community spirit and the pure enjoyment of each other. Tickets are sold on your fundraising event website where you may also take donations for each grade level or classroom.
Popular fundraisers for schools that offer kids a chance to roll around in the mud are obstacle courses. Obstacle courses can include hurdling obstacles like walls, teeter-totters, tunnels, balance beams, a cargo climb and a mud pit. Physical education teachers get involved in training kids ahead of the crowdfunding event as a fun way to get fit and prepare for the fundraiser. More difficult courses may be designed for adult and teen participants. Read more on how to organize an obstacle course fundraiser.
Becoming a firefighter is the dream of many elementary school children. Why not build on that dream? Hold a picnic in a beautiful city park and team up with your local fire department. Parks are the favorite playground for kids with all the best ways to swing and room to run. Yet this school fundraising event adds some education. Add a firetruck and fireman for them to experience and ask questions of and you pique their curiosity and educate them. Plant plenty of public education material about your school nearby and sell food of the old favorites of picnics.
A readathon fundraiser is a peer-to-peer fundraising event where students commit to reading as a means of raising money for your school or PTO/PTA. Reading Fundraisers promote literacy and a love of reading for children; they offer an academic challenge or competition which kids enjoy. It’s easy to get everyone excited about a readathon because of its contribution to society. Be bold in your social media promotion and you’ll be sure to exceed your fundraising goals.
Arts & Craft Fair
Arts & Crafts fairs are great holiday or Christmas fundraising events. If 20 arts & craft artists pay $50 each to put a booth at your craft fair, your school has already made $1,000. The fair gives artists the option to advertise that a portion of their sales go towards your school. There are craft artists among your students, teachers and PTA members who will want to participate and may donate a portion of their sales. Find popular local food vendors (who also donate a portion of funds raised) and a few guitarists for extra fundraising and mood.
School Carnival & Auction
A Carnival is an Elementary School PTO/PTA fundraising must! Many schools offer free admission to their carnivals so that everyone can attend, with game tickets being sold. Include all kinds of games for elementary kids and their families, including a bouncy house, win-a-fish, lucky duck and soda toss ring games to name just a few. Cotton-candy, pizza, popcorn and beverages bring in extra funds. Raffle donated goods at the event, and add a silent auction for extra allure.
Best Middle School Fundraisers
By middle school, some students are really into art. Watching local painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramicists and textile designers working on their craft will fascinate these students and community donors. An Art Show fund raiser could include participants having a hands-on art experience, if some of your artists can host a workshop. Sell tickets online and take donations on your event management website.
School crowdfunding via walk-a-thons has become a top fundraising strategy in many schools. Perhaps it is because students, PTA members, teachers, parents, the community and local businesses all join together that make these fundraisers so much fun and extremely lucrative. Don’t forget the prizes and incentives – perhaps a custom t-shirt to inspire your students. Get the kids walking and use a great Walk-a-thon website for the online fundraising component.
The Latin inspired fitness dance of Zumba can be used as a unique fundraising idea for your school. Help to improve the self-confidence of your middle school kids and donors of all ages and motivate them to exercise. Zumba is a fun way to accomplish this and no previous dance experience is needed. Include a raffle or silent auction and a donation table with refreshments to boost income. Read our article on how to organize a Zumba fundraiser to get going.
Dining Out in the Community
One of the more scrumptious fundraisers for schools is an evening of dining out at local restaurants. Everyone in the community is invited to have dinner, eat well and help raise funds for your school. The restaurant donates 10-20% of its pretax sales to the school. Advertise one or more restaurants with their menu for a week on your school website and social media channels and raise more money via the online fundraiser component.
School Spirit Sales
Sell clothing, sports gear, backpacks and cool school supplies on your school website as well as during School Spirit Day, at sports games and pep rallies. Who doesn’t love a school hoodie or stainless steel coffee mug for those cool fall evenings? School clothing and gear sales are a great ongoing fundraiser to fund field trips, equipment purchases and more.
Middle school spelling bee contestants are generally only two – three years apart in age, making this a perfect choice for middle school fundraising. Work with your nearby Apple or Android stores to be recognized as sponsors on your website and throughout the process of advertising your event. The chance of winning a computer, smart phone, IPad or IPod has the potential of making your students better spellers.
Lip Sync Competitions
A great twist on a talent show is a lip sync competition. Kids needn’t have a fabulous voice, so everyone can get involved. Use recorded music and allow kids to pick their songs and costumes. Imagine what fun this will be while giving students a chance to build their confidence on stage. Give fun prizes for best costume, best female performance, best male performance and best band. Have a real gas by adding a few teacher performances. An after party is a must.
Car Wash Lunch
The old classic car wash are great school fundraisers because they are successful at raising funds and kids can run them. Get your groove on in making this event a one stop shop for busy parents and community members. Task your middle school students with making and selling deli sandwiches as well as washing cars. Ask a local café to set up shop to sell cappuccinos, and create a convenient and delicious stop for busy adults to drive off in a clean car.
Many middle school kids are passionate about the environment, and love to learn about it and have a part in creating change. Perhaps there is an area in your community that needs a cleanup like an ignored park, land or watershed. Fundraisers for schools involving the environment and conservation are smart events that teach students the value of the environment while raising funds with teams of fundraisers including students, parents and teachers.
Middle school students love watching movies! Why not host a Film Festival at your school where each classroom collectively picks a movie to be included in the festival? The students can arrive early and help setup the auditorium and classrooms for the event. Multiple shows will be playing throughout the day or weekend and tickets can be sold per movie or for unlimited access. Be sure to choose age appropriate films for your students, as well as a group of movies for younger siblings and children. As with all movies, popcorn, sodas and snacks can be sold for a high profit.
Service to the community, while raising money for the school, makes this a special high school fundraiser. Each home room or grade level commits to a service area: nursing home care, park or beach clean-up, help for elderly home owners or feeding the hungry. For the weeks leading up to the serve-a-thon fundraiser, students solicit donations for their high school in support of their efforts. Top fundraisers and groups are recognized and rewarded with prizes.
Hold a Speech Contest in a community theater or your school auditorium. The first round of speeches is voted on by the audience in special categories. The second round are speeches by the top contestants, with a final vote. Sell tickets online to both, and an additional fee for the after party. The anticipation created while interesting topics are presented during speeches will be great material for discussion at the final celebration.
Be the hippest in fundraisers for schools by creating murals in chalk displayed in public places and at your high school. Let your crowdfunding website do the work in taking donations and pledges. As community members donate to mural teams and individual artists they’ll start getting excited about the upcoming chalk festival. Plan several blocks of chalk art and present maps on your school event flyers and website. Hold the event for an entire weekend ending in a celebration at your school.
One of the most fun high school fundraisers is a dance marathon. Dance your socks off for 8 hours on a Saturday. Sell lots of snacks, beverages and pizza slices and rake in the profits for your school. Create a crowdfunding website where donors (friends and family of dancers) find their dancer’s personal fundraising website to place a donation. It can be an hourly pledge based on how many hours they dance or a simple donation. The fun part is to dance the night away for your school!
Book fairs can be held in your local book store or online, making them perfect fundraisers for schools while promoting literacy. With the addition of online book sales on your fundraising website as part of your book fair, supporters can reach out to family and friends anywhere. Add a book swap during your book fair campaign and make it more interesting. Bring your book fair to your school as an option.
Encourage the art students of your high school by planning an art sale. It may be their first public showing which is a big deal for budding artists. Add a section on your event floor for paintings donated from the community and raise more money for your school. Invite the donated art of artists in your community. The art forms at this fundraiser can be quite varied with sculpture, paintings, photography and more. Charge an admission fee and seek artful, gourmet food vendors to increase profits.
Turn your spin-a-thon into a community party with a student spin doctor DJ, food and beverage vendors, and fun games and contests while people spin on stationary bikes to raise money for your high school. Ask your local spinning studio to either donate their studio for some advertisement or pay to rent it out for the day. This idea is an easy and low cost fundraiser for schools, yet loaded with energy and potential for high profit.
Bring the entire community together for a weekend lecture series on conservation and the environment. Invite guest speakers from local non-profit organizations and groups, and give your students experience in public speaking and event management. Include day care or fun environmental activities for the younger kids, so mom and dad can attend the lectures with high school students.
Play into the hands of high school students with a golf crowdfunding event or Golf Marathon. They love technology, checking email, downloading iTunes, or updating their Facebook page. Use this attentive practice as the basis of a fundraising idea for your school. Golf marathon fundraising software tools allow students to personalize their own page, upload photos or videos, set goals, and track their success against other students, making it a fun, interactive and competitive environment.
With our final high school fundraising idea, give the music department an opportunity to show off its talent. Hold a concert each week for a month of solo performers, trios and duets. Add a night of choral music. Engage your community in your work and charge for each concert. Once the audience attends the first one, they’ll want more. Allow donors an opportunity to speak to the performers afterwards by hosting a VIP party. Create a beautiful event website with our Event Management Software and include videos of student performances.
Why do these events make the best school fundraisers?
How did we pick these events above others and why are they the best fundraisers for schools? The best school fundraisers have certain criteria in common.
- First, these events are fun! Fundraisers should be enjoyable for kids and families alike. Why not?
- School fundraising campaigns should enforce ideals and lessons that we want our children to learn. Parents and teachers know that children are like sponges, and every opportunity to tech them counts.
- Building on that, fundraising events can be educational and culturally enriching. The spelling bee, film festival, and concert series are examples here.
- School fundraisers should be healthy. Notice that there are no candy or cookie dough sales here. Why promote these types of unhealthy activities when so many of our children are already overweight and out of shape? Instead, many of our picks for best school fundraisers (such as walk-a-thons and spin-a-thons) are active events that promote exercise and healthy competition.
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