Fundraising Ideas for Schools
Is your school looking to invest in some new supplies or textbooks? Or are you trying to help out in the local community? There are plenty of reasons why you may want to do some fundraising. However, one of the biggest tasks to overcome isn’t necessarily how you’re going to spend the money, it’s how you’re going to raise it in the first place. Here you’ll find everything you need to raise the funds, no matter if you’re an Elementary School, High School, or College, there’s something for everyone.
Get moving with dance-a-thons
If you have a high energetic school then dance-a-thons are the perfect fundraiser. It can be great for students of all ages, even those in pre-school. The idea is to work together and dance for as long as possible. It might be 24 hours for college students, or 12 hours and less for High Schoolers.
It’s great because there aren’t any set-up costs, you only need a space to dance. It could be in the school gym or auditorium, even in the car park by closing it off to vehicles. Ask students to bring headphones and have a silent dance-a-thon (if you can’t get any speakers). Create a fancy dress theme or play music from one particular era. There are plenty of ways to create a unique event. Just have each student raise as much money as possible through sponsorship or donations, with people guessing how long they’ll be able to dance for. The closest guess wins!
Ready, steady, bake sale!
Some may argue that a bake sale is one of the great American past-times. We’d tend to agree with them. For decades, parents, students and faculty have put their baking skills to the test to see who can outsell who at these events. There are of course plenty of creative ways to put on a bake sale, a few of our favorites include:
- Flavor themes
- State themes
- Red white and blue color theme
- School mascot theme
Bake sales are great fun options for a fundraising idea for Elementary Schools and Middle School students, it introduces them into the kitchen using recipes such as cupcakes or cookies and allows them to get involved with decorating as well as baking.
Raffles helping the community
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We love this fundraiser idea for post-Christmas clear-outs. All those unwanted gifts that are sitting unopened, the extra bottles of liquor, even some tasty treats. There are so many items suitable to donate to a raffle and they often sit around the home in January.
We suggest a back-to-school fundraiser after Christmas to help with any Spring semester activities. Send a mailout to parents and guardians during January and collect them at the school. It’s a great way to reduce waste and clutter in the community and also have some fun. Have students, teachers, parents and guardians buy tickets for the raffle and then mail the winner when the draw takes place.
All the fun with volunteer bidding auctions
This type of fundraising event is usually perfect for College students and can even work in some High Schools. It’s a case of finding enough people who are willing to offer their services. It could be for a pool clean, garage tidy, even mowing a lawn. It’s great for older students as there are plenty of tasks around most homes that require little skill and a fair amount of time – like that fence that still needs painting.
The best part is that these types of auctions are 100% profit. You only need 10 or so students to offer their time. It might be time-based or skill-based, it’s important to let the volunteers offer the services that they want to give. Then, simply host the event and watch the bids roll in. The best part? You can do this auction online too so if getting together is an issue, the event doesn’t need to be held in a physical location.
Test your knowledge with a quiz or feel lucky at bingo night
Good old-fashioned fun is exactly how we view quiz and bingo nights. Sell tickets and raise money for this popular and inclusive event. It’s a great opportunity for students’ families to meet also, so we often suggest this type of fundraiser for Elementary and Middle Schoolers. You can offer to sell drinks and snack foods, or request families bring their own. Sit them on large tables so there’s plenty of mingling going on and great conversation to be had.
This being said, for those with broken families or absent parents, this might be a challenging event. We’ve seen this overcome plenty of times however by students directly inviting their friends. The school invites all families, but then students create invites for their friends in class. This means that parents can organize taking another person’s child if needed without it feeling like an afterthought.
Fun runs where everyone’s a winner!
This idea is perfect for any active student body. If your school is big on spirit, then this is the perfect fundraiser. What’s more, it’s super easy to create a course. Use the bleachers for some extra elevation, the track for some speedy sprints and some laps around the quad for the distance.
You can really tailor this event to whatever age possible. A competitive wave for all the athletes, a three-legged race for those who want to compete and a fancy dress lap for anyone who’s feeling extra spirited. With themed events and multiple opportunities to enter, all you need are a few volunteers to stand on the course and you have a hugely successful event! Just try to make sure the weather is good!
Car washes are still cool
You might think that this fundraising idea is a little old. After all, it’s been in most teenage sitcoms since the late 1990s. But the truth is they’re still relevant, they’re still fun and most importantly they’re still raking in the big bucks. Which is why we don’t think you should steer away from them any time soon.
Set up in the parking lot, have each student bring a bucket and bottle of soap and the rest is simple. Wash the cars clean. If you struggle to get many volunteers for this one, why not have a small event beforehand with silly string. Put people into two teams, offer up two cars to get dirty and then see who can ‘mess the car the most’. The winners? Well, they’re the ones who clean the cars up the best too! All the fun, getting the cars cleaned and you raising money from those who own the cars and students who clean them. Car washes don’t need to be boring!
Shine the spotlight with a talent show
As far as fundraisers go, we think this one is the most wholesome, especially at a Middle and High School age. It’s the time when young people are finding themselves and slowly discovering what they’re passionate about. Plus, they will have had a good amount of time to practice to be performance ready.
Host it in a large enough venue on a school night and sell tickets. It’s a really simple event to set up, all you need to do is encourage enough children to take part. Search music rooms, sports fields, even during recess kids will often be performing talents that they didn’t even know they had. It’s time to start recruiting!
For college students, there isn’t a better opportunity than a silent auction event. Simply because it tends to be an event where you can dress up fancy and take incredible pictures for social platforms. But it also promotes an aura of sophistication for older students.
Silent auctions are where all the prizes are announced beforehand, normally online via a mobile bidding platform, and instead of live auctioning, attendees have time to submit their bids online both before the event and on the night, staying anonymous if they wish. The highest bid wins. The beauty of a silent auction is that you never feel like you’re spending too much money because you only bid what you want – perfect for college students who may be on a budget.
Get sponsored with a read-a-thon
Perfect for all ages but super beneficial to Elementary kids because it can really help with their reading. Set a length of time for the event – usually a month – and challenge students to read as many books as possible. So that it’s fair, the winner of the competition will be awarded to the person that reads the most pages, not books. So it’s important to keep count.
We know what you’re thinking. How do you raise money from this? There are a couple of ways actually. Students can have friends and family sponsor them to read a minimum of 5 books. Students can all give a small donation of $5 to participate. Alternatively, a prize can be put forward for the winner from a share of the entry fee. If 20 students participate at $5 each, you could remove $20 for the prize and still raise $80 profit. Now imagine that for every class in every grade across the school. A huge success!
Costume day competition
Elementary School, Middle School, even High Schoolers love a costume day. Have students participate in a day of costume and donate to a good cause for the privilege. You can set themes based on the school’s mascot, any national holidays or even just set a theme for the fun of it. Students can dress up as their favorite cartoon character or alter-ego. The point is to make it fun and completely customizable to each individual so that the event is a success.
How about world book day? This has been a big hit across the globe recently, where pupils dress as their favorite book characters in return for a small donation to the school fund.
After hours movie night at the school theater
This one is always popular and only requires a couple of chaperones to pull it off. Transform your school into a theater and have a movie night sleepover. Depending on what grade you have at the movie night will of course dictate what is shown. We recommend sending the options out to the parents and guardians and letting them choose a couple of films. The rest is simple.
Charge a small fee for the event, then have the children bring along their own snacks and drinks. Alternatively set up a small store on campus with wholesale products and then sell them at a profit at the event to make money. You can do this over and over again with varying ages, but we think this idea works best with High Schoolers.
Last point, make sure you have fundraising pages and social media accounts to help you promote any ideas you have to your local community. Ask all parents and teachers to like and share to spread the word about your event. Local businesses also might want to get involved or sponsor your fundraising event.
There you have it! Plenty of fundraising ideas for school children and young adults of all ages. Using options like Givergy to support allows you to be incredibly flexible with your fundraising ideas. Then it’s simply a case of choosing an event and what to do with the money!
Vice President, Givergy US
Dan has spent over seven years working in the digital and non-profit fundraising world, stationed in New York for the past three years. During that time he has helped hundreds of north American non-profits raise more for their fundraising initiatives, both online and at physical events.