30+ Best College and University Fundraising Ideas

University Fundraising

College and university fundraising campaigns are common institutional advancement strategies that can be quite effective. University faculty and students participate in fundraising initiatives to earn money for school developmental projects, new technology and materials, and extracurricular activities. University fundraising projects benefit from a significant resource: people. Whether the university or a student organization sponsors the fundraiser, the wealth of interested people —students, faculty, social organizations, sports teams, and alumni — is a huge advantage when fundraising for universities.

Here, we review how to select the best fundraising activity for your organization and some of the best university fundraising ideas.

Selecting a College or University Fundraising Campaign

Deciding on your college or university’s fundraising campaign is an important first step. There are many different types of fundraising initiatives available to universities and institutions of higher education, including:


Identify Your Audience

Fundraising in Times of the CoronavirusOne important question to ask when planning any fundraiser is identifying your target audience. This is usually one of the easier questions to answer for university and college fundraisers, as the audience is typically the college’s students and faculty. And whether they are current students or alumni, they have one thing in common: dedication to the university. If you plan to sell merchandise, consider custom-branded offerings—such as annual calendars with highlights from the school year. Selling university-related objects like logo-emblazoned hats and shirts is easy to produce and popular with alumni and students. Planning fun networking events where university students, faculty, and alumni can mingle while supporting a great cause can also be highly successful.

Review Your Budget and Available Resources

Let’s face it: to raise money, you need resources. Reviewing financial goals and preparing a fundraising event budget are essential to planning a successful university fundraising project. Again, colleges typically have an advantage in that their campus can provide indoor and outdoor spaces for fundraising events at no cost.

Successful fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally, your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents who share a common interest in institutional advancement. In addition, working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation.

Time Is of the Essence for College Fundraising

University FundraisingCollege students are busy with homework, sports, college clubs, and various social engagements. Making your college fundraiser easy for students to participate in without consuming too much time will make it much more appealing. This is one reason online fundraising has become so popular for colleges. When students aren’t in class, at practice, or running around with friends, they are checking email, downloading iTunes, or updating their Facebook or other social media pages. This is when they are most attentive. Our crowdfunding software platform allows students to personalize their website page, upload photos and videos, set fundraising goals, and track their success against other students, making fundraising a fun, interactive, and competitive environment.

There Are Valuable Skills and Lessons to Be Learned

The individuals organizing college fundraisers are young adults who are discovering their capabilities. They have ideas, are creative and motivated, and can lead and inspire their peers. A fundraising campaign is a great way for students to work together as a team while learning about philanthropy, organizational and management skills (planning budgets and logistics), and establishing goals and plans to accomplish them. These are all valuable lessons they can take with them in their professional lives, and a few may even be interested in becoming fundraising professionals.

There are Valuable Skills and Lessons to be Learned for College Students

Our Favorite University Fundraising Idea: Active Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

The best campaigns for Universities and colleges can be nonprofit crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaigns (P2P). These campaigns allow students to fundraise via their social network of friends and family and don’t require a lot of upfront costs. Active P2P events can draw the community together in a fun day of walking, bike riding, or bowling and creating community. It’s easy to get student groups excited about that.

Some examples of P2P campaigns that make great university fundraising ideas are below.

Types of Peer-to-Peer and Crowdfunding Events for University Fundraising

Car Wash-a-thons work for college fundraising

Car Wash-a-thons

University Fundraising Ideas: Surfing Events

Surfing Events

Best University Fundraising Ideas: Meditation Sit-a-thons

Meditation Sit-a-thons

Paddle-a-thons for University Fundraising Ideas




Hit-a-thons for college fundraising


Board of Directors Events

Unique P2P Events

DoJiggy Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software Makes University Fundraising Campaigns Easy

university fundraising websites

Utilizing P2P crowdfunding software is a must for peer-to-peer events. Here’s how it works. Each event participant creates and manages their personal fundraising page and invites friends and family to support your college or student organization through secure, online donations.

  • Provide fundraisers with personal fundraising pages to customize and promote your fundraiser
  • Fundraising thermometers and leaderboards display top team and student fundraisers and promote competition so you raise more
  • Embedded Social Media share links encourage supporters to share the event with friends and family
  • Administrators can easily enter checks and off-line donations at no cost

We can help your university or college organization more effectively run fundraising campaigns – for free.

Let’s Get Started

Planning a Peer to Peer College or University Fundraising Campaign

Step 1: Assemble a Leadership Team

Successful fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally, your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in the organization’s success. In addition, working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation.

Step 2: Determine Logistics and Financial Goals

identify fundraising goalsThis one is pretty straightforward. Your leadership team will need to determine the date and location of your fundraising event as soon as possible in the planning process. To ensure the success of your fundraising event, give yourselves enough time to manage all the logistics. You generally want at least six months to plan a walkathon or charity gala, and many successful events start planning a year in advance.

Don’t forget to determine financial goals and create a fundraising budget to help you get there.

Step 3: Implement Peer to Peer Software

Peer-to-peer Crowdfunding software is a must for P2P fundraisers. Our crowdfunding software platform is designed specifically for walk-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, golf marathons, and any other type of event where individual and team participants solicit and track donations and pledges. Each event participant creates and manages their fundraising page and invites friends and family to support your organization through secure online donations. Administrators configure a minimum donation goal for participants, as well as the types of donations and pledges accepted.

Step 4: Recruit Participants and Sponsors

Start with your network. When recruiting participants and volunteers, nothing will be more important than your network and leadership branch. These people are often well-established in the University community and will not only participate but will ask associates, friends, and family members to join them. Encourage this!

Don’t forget event sponsors. Often, companies value opportunities to engage their workforce in community activities. Ask companies for sponsorship to help offset the event costs, but also ask for their participation in the fundraiser. Team registrations offer a fun and easy way for companies to participate.spread the word for College Fundraising Ideas

Understanding and articulating how prospective sponsors benefit from working with your organization is crucial. Everyone likes to help out a great cause; however, companies are looking for a win-win relationship. Articulate what your event will do for the company you seek sponsorship from before you speak with them. When speaking with potential sponsors, stay open to possible benefits you may have missed and look for opportunities to create more value.

Step 5: Promote Your Fundraiser Widely

Marketing and promotion are essential in raising awareness, drawing participants and donors, and cultivating action. Most organizations utilize various media to get the word out, including print and promotional materials (i.e., peer-to-peer event flyers, signage, brochures, and stickers). You’ll also want to develop a Social Media and public relations campaign to create a buzz within the college and community.

Step 6: Manage Donations Online

One of the most important considerations when planning a P2P campaign for your University is how to successfully manage donations and pledges. After all, isn’t raising money your primary task in these student activities? Organizers need a secure and easy way to track and manage the numerous donations collected from your event participants.

15+ More Great University and College Fundraising Ideas

Here are some other great ideas for college fundraising.

15+ More Great University and College Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising for University Groups and College Clubs

show some loveWhether the university or a student organization sponsors a university fundraiser, there is often a need to raise dollars for institutional development projects, new technology and materials, as well as to fund extracurricular activities and social organizations. DoJiggy is dedicated to helping university students, faculty, teams, and social organizations better plan, manage and execute university fundraising strategies. With our group fundraising pages, we strive to provide the best collection of resources to make your sorority, fraternity, and other group fundraising efforts more successful.

There are many different university fundraising initiatives, such as collecting online donations, organizing a sales drive, or planning an exciting fundraising event. The following resources are dedicated to helping you choose which type of fundraiser is right for your student group, as well as providing guidelines to help you create a successful university fundraising campaign. We’ve also provided an excellent overview of popular college fundraising themes to help get the creative juices flowing and outlined some fundraising tips to help you establish goals, identify potential donors, create timelines, and promote and manage your college fundraising initiative.

Sorority Fundraising Ideas

Sorority Fundraising

Sorority fundraising is not only a great way to raise funds for your sorority but also a great way to help young women learn organizational skills, make long-lasting friendships and gain experience serving their community. Find ways to bring the strong qualities of your members to the forefront of your fundraising efforts. We’ve listed some interesting ideas for sorority fundraisers in this article.

Fraternity Fundraising Ideas

Fraternity Fundraising

Charity work is part of being in a fraternity, and most frats host at least one major fundraising event per school year. To help you determine what fundraising event is right for your fraternity, we’ve outlined fundraising strategies and popular events hosted by fraternities on college campuses across the country.

Alumni Fundraising

University Alumni Fundraising

Targeting alumni for fundraising efforts is an integral part of alumni engagement. The pride one carries from graduating from a higher education institution is considerable, and often alumni have a deep desire to give back to their alma mater. After all, the university provided them with learning experiences, an education, and a solid skill set to earn a living, so alumni are at the top of the list of potential university donors. For this reason, many alumni associations focus much of their efforts on fundraising activities.

We’ve included the best alumni fundraising ideas here. Alumni fundraising initiatives are designed to bring in funds to support the development of school scholarship funds and university advancement. Alumni donors also help fund programs for groups they were involved in, such as fraternities, sororities, service or poetry clubs, political groups, sports teams, and more. Alumni are diverse, so it’s important to segment asks and target alumni based on their giving potential.

More School and University Fundraising Resources

Still looking for great college fundraising ideas?